What's next? Advice for preparing to leave university

Owen shares his advice for those who are preparing to leave university.

The Management School on a sunny day.

As my time at the University of Sheffield studying International Business comes to an end, the joy of graduation is mixed with the anticipation of what comes next in my life. With my final assignments completed and my name about to be carved on my well-deserved degree, I'm preparing to leave the comfortable university setting and begin a new chapter in life. Everyone's journey will be unique, but let me share some thoughts and pointers for you.

In today's world, being digitally connected is more important than ever. LinkedIn isn't just an online resume; it's a platform for networking and showcasing your skills and experiences. I've only recently understood the importance of building up my LinkedIn profile and have found it useful not only for connecting with potential employers but also for staying in touch with classmates and professors. These connections can become invaluable for insights into different industries, mentorship, and job opportunities. Previous professors and employers who know my skills and work ethic could become important references in the future.

On a more personal level, the friendships I've made during my time at Sheffield University and while studying abroad are some of the most valuable things I'm taking with me as I leave university. Despite where our individual paths may lead, I plan to make an effort to stay in touch. You never know where life might take you, and a friend from university could also become a valuable professional contact down the line.

Dealing with uncertainty is a huge part of moving on from university. In my case, I was unsure about the industry I wanted to work in following university.  Rather than viewing this as an obstacle, I chose to see it as an opportunity to explore and learn. Whether you intend to continue your studies, begin a professional career, or take a gap year, keeping an open mind about your future can lead to unexpected chances.

A key highlight of my final year at university was participating in an Assessment Centre in Germany. I was one of the chosen candidates flown out for a series of activities at the company headquarters. I didn't land the job, but it was still an amazing experience. This event brought together people from around the world, all studying or working in diverse fields. It was inspiring and broadened my understanding of the opportunities that a degree in International Business can offer. After the event, I added the other participants on LinkedIn, tying back into the importance of my first point. On top of it all, I had some time to explore the city. Walking around felt like a mini business trip in itself, adding already to this valuable experience.

Image of Augsburg taken by Owen Havercroft

As I transition from university, I'm prepared to put the knowledge I've gained and the connections I've made to good use. With these experiences and the friends I've made along the way, I'm looking forward to exploring the opportunities in the professional world.

Written by Owen Havercroft, June 2023.

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