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I first heard about the Undergraduate of the Year Awards when my university emailed me. It sounded very interesting and prestigious and so I was intrigued. Upon seeing it was hosted by TARGETjobs, I was even more convinced that it was a great opportunity. However, I thought I had no chance at all of winning – or even of being a finalist. This was my final year of university and I had done nothing of particular consequence – just completed my degree to the best standard I could but hadn’t really gone above and beyond. But as I read the email, I was just beginning a three-hour train journey home and had nothing better to do. I thought, why not give it a try – if nothing else it would be good experience for advertising my abilities for job vacancies.
The first round asked me questions about the Skyscanner app, and I played around trying to think outside of the box to give my answers. Somehow, I was accepted onto the second round. Here I was given a coding challenge that I did in Python. I failed to finish the challenge on time and was informed I would not progress further, but I had been about five minutes from the correct answer! To my delight I got an email saying that on further review of the coding challenge I had been accepted – the next step would be a Zoom interview. Here I met a lovely member of staff from Skyscanner and, despite being extremely nervous, I had a great conversation. This led to the final stage – the assessment day. 

For the assessment day I had to travel down to London – this was just weeks before lockdown was instated and travel became impossible. A very interesting topic when it was a travel company I was visiting! On the day, I met nine other applicants and had a very busy day. The first challenge: how on Earth do you use the coffee machine? We put our minds together and eventually we were shown by a member of staff – not all the of the day was a success then! Once the day actually began, we had a group assessment and presentation, a cultural interview and a technical interview. From these the staff at Sky scanner chose a winner. 

Many months later, we were told the result, and against all odds I had won! Undergraduate of the Year for Computer Science, IT and Physics 2020. So really, even if you don’t think you have any chance of winning, and even if you can’t work a coffee machine, you may as well give it a shot and try. What’s the worst that could happen?