I had just finished my winter exams and, to be honest, all I could think about was relaxing with my friends and leaving my brain to rest for a couple of days. The deadline for the Undergraduate of the Year Awards was imminent and after debating with myself whether I should bother entering the competition – should I? Should I not? – I took the plunge and started applying. At the end of the day, the worst thing that could happen was to be immediately rejected and, even then, it would be good practice.
So I started the application, mentally exhausted from exams and not knowing what to expect. The thought of becoming an Undergraduate of the Year sounded so unattainable and prestigious, I merely saw this as a practice run. The application process involved answering three questions about my thoughts on energy and a number of online tests. I have to say that the online test section was long but also quite entertaining, so don’t give up!
After submitting my application, I was informed I had passed the first stage of the process and would be attending an assessment centre at E.ON's Engineering Academy close to Nottingham soon after that. Both excitement and nervousness took over me: on one hand I was jumping up and down for reaching this far and having the chance to have a 'real-life' interview at one of the leading energy companies in the world, but also the thought of attending the assessment centre with all the other candidates was nerve-racking. I kept reminding myself that this was an INCREDIBLE opportunity, a real life-interview, so the more practice the better.
The assessment consisted of three tasks including a self-presentation, a role play and an evaluation task. I was nervous for my presentation but my interviewers made it as relaxed as possible. The day was tough but I was really lucky to spend it with the other candidates who weren't as scary as I'd imagined. There was no competitive tension whatsoever; instead there were lots of good vibes and lots of cooling tower selfies.
After that, everything was a win-win. I'd gained experience from a seven-hour assessment centre with some of the brightest students in the country and I would be receiving feedback from my interviewers. So, even if I didn't continue to the final, that alone was already a great achievement.
My surprise exploded when I got the very much awaited telephone call informing me that I had made it to the final ten candidates and received my invitation to a lunch event at Canary Wharf with Sir Trevor McDonald! The day was incredible: the location, the atmosphere, the food. It was a moment to remember in every way. I met some of the other E.ON managers and shared a great lunch with them (as well as many pictures!) After our three-course meal, the winner was announced. Unfortunately, I didn’t win the competition, but what was to come made up for any disappointment.
I left that day with a big smile on my face and a huge sense of accomplishment. All of this was happening because I took a couple of hours back in January to complete the application. It would have been so easy to ignore, but I didn’t and there I was in the middle of Canary Wharf with an amazing experience behind my back.
The most important thing I'll take with me from this event is to believe in myself: you are the only one standing in the way of your dreams so just take a couple of minutes and apply because this competition can give you a lot of great surprises.
Through this competition, I am now going to start an internship with E.ON in the performance team, which is exactly what I wanted to do! This competition has brought me a step closer to my professional dreams in the energy industry, something I couldn't have even imagined when I shyly applied thinking I wouldn't even pass the first stage.
Where are they now?
Master thesis project at Tieto.