2023 Insights participants, Laura and Tom

Start exploring careers and travel with the Insights Programme

We have invited selected students to take part in the National and Global strands of the Insights Programme in June 2024!

Have you received an email on Thursday, 9th November from the University’s Insights Programme inviting you to take part Monday, 3rd June – Friday, 7th June 2024? If you’re not sure what you want to do after University, this is a perfect opportunity to start discovering what’s out there in the world of work and exploring your career options, as well as having the opportunity to travel outside of Scotland.

As part of a group, grab this opportunity to meet former Edinburgh students [alumni] in person, who are working in an exciting range of jobs in London or the United States. Build new connections as well as your personal confidence, all with the full support of the Careers Service to get you prepped and ready to connect.

To find out more about what the Insights Programme is like, let’s hear from Laura and Tom who took part in the Programme this summer!

Laura, second year Biomedical Sciences – one week in New York visiting former Edinburgh students

Laura, 2023 Insights participant
Laura, 2023 Insights participant

Why did you sign up for the Insights Programme?

I applied for the Insights Programme because I thought it was an amazing opportunity to meet new people, explore career options and gain confidence which I know will help me in the future.

Tell us about your Insights experience

The first place we went to was at the Rockefeller Center where we met an alumni who worked as a senior manager. We spoke about how she got into her career. It was good getting to understand what attracted her to a big finance company and how working there really helped her progress in her career and let her do something she enjoyed.

One place I was looking forward to going to was Columbia University to meet a researcher. We got a tour of the labs and the alumni spoke through some of the projects he was working on which was very interesting. This particular visit helped me get a clearer picture of something I could possibly be doing in the future.

We had an alumni networking event at a cafe where I met many different alumni with different careers and experiences, from someone who works in fashion with their architecture degree to someone at a finance firm. It was interesting to talk to all the different people about their experiences at work and during university, and the different paths they took to get to where they are now.

How have you benefited from this experience and what did you learn?

I learnt that once you leave university many people go into jobs that they don’t expect. This can be in jobs similar to what they studied during their degree or jobs in completely different fields. This has helped me widen my career search. I also have more confidence that I will find a job that I enjoy, as there seems to be so many more choices than I had previously thought.

Not only has the Programme made me think about my career in a different way and made me more curious about what I could do, it has also helped me in my day-to-day life. It gave me the confidence to speak to new people and get a summer job. It’s also shown me that I can cope with stress and has really helped my networking skills which I do a lot more than I thought I would.

How has this experience influenced you/your choices in the future?

I’ll have more confidence to go for things I want. It has also made me look at more careers and opportunities that are on offer to me and it’ll probably make me more likely to apply for them.

Tom, first year Religious Studies and English Literature – one week in London visiting former Edinburgh students

Tom, 2023 Insights participant
Tom, 2023 Insights participant

Why did you sign up for the Insights Programme?

I applied for the Insights Programme because I wanted to learn about what options I have after university, and what interests me in the world of work. I was also drawn to the valuable opportunities Insights advertised, including networking and access to a wide range of industries and people in London.

Tell us about your Insights visits with former Edinburgh students 

My Insights visits covered a variety of roles which I’ve summarised:

  • Local government – discussion with the alumni and colleagues highlighting the range of roles in local government, with a focus on graduate scheme opportunities.
  • Private Equity – explained the purpose of private equity, and its role in different sectors across trading and private companies, for example in healthcare.
  • Comms and Public Affairs – talked through the need for Comms firms in today’s political climate, and how firms effectively carry out this role.
  • Government – focus on UK Government graduate schemes, the alumni hosted a collaborative meeting with some colleagues and spoke about their personal and professional development since graduating.
  • Finance – hosted an informal lunch/networking event with several Edinburgh alumni in different roles and stages of their careers. Our group networked and learnt about the range of careers available within banking.
  • Aviation – hosted a presentation covering the role of aviation today, and how airlines are adapting to modern changes, such as Covid and accessibility. The alumni also talked through the many graduate schemes offered and brought in colleagues at different stages of some of these schemes.

How have you benefited from this experience and what did you learn?

One piece of knowledge that alumni consistently mentioned is nothing is set in stone, and you should not be afraid to move around different roles and industries. Similarly, I learnt that your degree and the industry you go into are in many cases wildly different. Employers often look for someone who has successfully completed a degree and has gained the skills and adaptability that go with this, as opposed to only knowledge in a niche subject area.

I have benefited hugely from Insights. I now know how I would like to progress in the future and how to get there. Importantly, I feel confident in doing this after the knowledge Insights has given me. Further, I have made great friends from my group, and now have a wide professional network in London. Overall, I understand myself, my skills, and my ambitions to a much greater and more confident extent.

How has this experience influenced you/your choices in the future?

Because of the skills and knowledge I have gained from Insights, my future career (and personal) choices will be well-informed, and made with confidence and passion. I now know where my interests lie professionally and how I can use my skills effectively to get where I want to be. For example, I learnt that I am interested in joining a graduate scheme, in industries I had not considered before such as finance and aviation. Conversely, I also know what I would not be as interested in, and what would perhaps not be as good a fit for me. This is extremely valuable and will influence me and my choices effectively in the future.

Thanks Laura and Tom!

The Insights Programme will be running again Monday, 3rd June – Friday, 7th June 2024.

If you’d like to take part in the National or Global strands of the Programme (i.e. opportunities in London or USA), sign up by 12pm, Monday 27th November. You can find how to do so in your email invitation sent from the University’s Insights Programme on Thursday, 9th November.

We will be accepting sign-ups for Insights visits in Scotland in January 2024 and all eligible students will be emailed about this then.

Please also visit our website for more information or email the Insights team (insights.programme@ed.ac.uk) with any questions about taking part.


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