What the Undergraduate of the Year Awards did for me

Ana Groom is a third year Engineer at St John’s, specialising in Aerospace and Aerothermal Engineering. Here she discusses being a Finalist for Female Undergraduate of the Year 2018, and reveals her career aspirations

I initially applied for the Undergraduate of the Year Awards back in December 2017, as I wanted to test the water with my applications ahead of the graduate job search next year. I never expected to make it through to the final ten! The first step, as well as submitting my CV, was answering three questions set by the award sponsor, Rolls-Royce, and completing online psychometric tests. After finding out I had passed the tests, my application was shortlisted through various stages until I made it to the final twenty and invited to an assessment centre with Rolls-Royce in Derby.

The assessment centre was intense, but such a worthwhile experience. It involved individual interviews and presentations; a group task; written activity; and offered the opportunity to chat to a lot of senior managers – finding out where I may be able to fit into the business – as well as graduates and their experiences of Rolls-Royce. A few days later, I received a call giving feedback on the assessment centre, letting me know that I had made it to the final ten and was invited to attend the ceremony at Canary Wharf, where the awards for each Undergraduate of the Year would be presented. To top it off, Rolls-Royce offered me a summer internship regardless of the final outcome of the awards.

The final awards ceremony was such a brilliant day. Rolls-Royce brought along as many seniors as there were finalists, so it gave us the opportunity to speak with some very experienced and interesting individuals. British television presenter Rachel Riley gave a very humbling keynote speech, and presented the awards to the well-deserving winners. Whilst I didn’t win overall, making it to the final ten was an achievement in itself and, gaining experience of the application and interview processes, as well as the contacts I made, was so worth it. If anyone is considering applying for the 2019 awards, I cannot recommend it enough!

I used the Careers Service’s subscription to Job Test Prep to practice a range of tests and ensure I was well prepared going into the application

The psychometric testing that many large recruiters use is something I have always struggled with. Despite performing well in my previous internships, passing this first stage had previously tripped me up. So, to make sure I had the best shot with my application this time, I used the Careers Service’s subscription to Job Test Prep to practice a range of tests and ensure I was well prepared going into the application. To my delight, this preparation paid off, as I managed to pass the tests successfully.

I’m very keen to work in industry after graduating in 2019, with the automotive or aerospace industries appealing most. So far I have been aiming to gain breadth in my experience, having previously completed manufacturing and R&D internships in these industries. I’d like to work in a fast-paced business where I can put my aero specialism to good use, and I’m looking forward to exploring the opportunities available to me next year.

Rolls-Royce offered summer internships to all ten finalists this year, who came from a range of backgrounds from Engineering, to Languages and Politics. With these offers, they went to great lengths to find and even create roles for each of us in line with our interests and career development plans. As a result, this summer I have been working in the Future Aircraft Concepts division looking at propeller aerodynamics on a Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft. I have been investigating geometries to analyse and characterise drag, as well as researching and assessing novel technologies in a wide range of fields. This is hugely useful, as my final-year project is in aerodynamics.

Discover more about Job Test Prep on our website. For info on the Undergraduate of the Year Awards, see undergraduateoftheyear.com

Interested in a career in Engineering like Ana? Head to our Engineering sector pages for advice on using your time at Cambridge wisely, finding graduate jobs, and more

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