I came across TARGETjobs during my fresher’s career fair at university and it was there that I subscribed to their career emails, eventually discovering the Undergraduate of the Year Awards. My interest in the event immediately peaked and I read about all the awards available. The Future Business Leader award seemed like a fantastic opportunity that really aligned with my strengths, skills, and experiences and so in my second year I decided to take the plunge and apply. I was always interested in the world of business and since client-facing roles appealed to me the most, the possibility of undertaking a sales internship with P&G stood out to me.

The application process was very streamlined and thoroughly enjoyable. The first stage involved sending an application through TARGETjobs and then undertaking online tests through P&G’s portal. It was an interesting experience because of how interactive it was since it was designed to be a fun way to navigate your numerical and logical skills. Following that, I had 2 virtual interviews which were around 3 hours in total and centred on evaluating core competencies. Despite being initially nervous, the nerves melted away as I was able to craft a conversation with my friendly, approachable interviewers who highlighted the great team-oriented culture P&G have.

Qualifying to the virtual assessment centre was a huge confidence booster. I was able to interact with and meet other talented students as we all conducted a presentation pitch whilst learning in-depth about the various divisions in P&G, career progression stories and all the sustainability-focused innovative projects that are occurring behind the scenes. Taking away industrial insight, business acumen and knowledge about the FMCG industry was one of my highlights.

I was ecstatic to hear that I was one of the 10 finalists. It was such a happy phone call and one that I will not forget. The run-up to the finals was filled with anticipation and delight about being able to get so far and learn so much from a tremendous opportunity. The finals were held online this year, but it meant that we could bring all our family and friends to the event to root for us and celebrate our accomplishments. It was engaging throughout and was kickstarted with networking with our prize sponsor and all the other finalists. The Undergraduate of the Year Award team truly did a wonderful job with organising an event that highlighted student potential, heightened by Rachel Riley infusing the event with her characteristic energy.

The sheer amount of learning that I did throughout the award journey, both professional and personal really helped me enhance my transferable skills so that they are practical to any career path I choose in the future. Applying for an Undergraduate of the Year award is an investment in boosting your employability even if you do not win because it is a process similar to actual job applications and one which will help you discover your best strengths. So I would say- take the risk and apply because you will not lose anything but instead have so much to gain, whether it be learning how to successfully navigate applications or researching and learning more about a specific industry. You also learn from other student experiences and professionals, making you better prepared for the world of work.

The key tip I would give would be: make a list of all your experiences (it can be anything from leading university projects to starting a society or helping fundraise for a charity) and then work on building them up. Consider what you learnt from them, the skills you developed and how you might translate that into a work environment. Lastly, be confident in your abilities and accomplishments and take the chance!