The Undergraduate of the Year Awards was an excellent experience; it is a great way to stand out with employers and also meet very talented students from all over the industry.

The application process was challenging but, being in my final year, I was very aware that this would be my last chance to apply for this competition and so I was eager to get through. The initial stages consisted of highlighting relevant experiences to show my innovation skills.

Having founded and run a technology resourcing and entrepreneurship society at university centred around innovation, and also recently been selected as a finalist in the King’s Idea Factory competition at the House Of Lords, I was able to successfully point out some relevant skills which helped me progress to the qualifying rounds. The next rounds consisted of a series of logic questions, which were difficult but proved to be excellent practice for my graduate applications tests.

I was interested in this category because having successfully completed an internship with Credit Suisse last summer, I was keen to explore other organisations in the financial sector and this category was being sponsored by Barclays.

Also, I have always been passionate about coming up with innovative technical solutions for complex business problems and so applying for the innovation category was an obvious choice for me. Throughout the whole process, I was so helpfully guided by the wonderful team at TARGETjobs, which led to me being shortlisted for the assessment centre. Although I was really looking forward to it, unfortunately I was unable to attend the assessment centre date at the Barclay offices but they very kindly agreed to interview me over Skype where I was given the opportunity to pitch my business presentation to a panel of around eight judges comprising senior employees and some representatives from HR. Although conveying my idea and expressing myself over video conference was a challenge, the judges were very encouraging and I was pleasantly surprised to have been selected as a finalist, one of the top ten innovative undergraduate students.

Through this opportunity to interact with everyone from Barclays, I grew a lot in confidence and presentation skills as well as being able to identify the key characteristics they considered essential to contributing to the Barclays culture, which it was great to be a part of.

The awards final was held at East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf where I finally got the opportunity to meet the other finalists. It was truly a memorable evening being surrounded by so many high achievers in their field. It was also a very humbling experience, being with so many talented people I would not have had a chance to meet otherwise. The experience was further topped by the opportunity to meet and be announced as finalists by the TV personality Rachel Riley, who also gave away the awards.

Currently I am looking forward to graduating this year and moving on to work in my graduate role, and although I am disappointed I would not be able to apply for this competition again I am going to cherish this experience and the excellent network of friends I have had the opportunity to meet here.