Hi, I’m Benedek and until two weeks before the submission deadline I had not even heard of the TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards or the opportunities available to me through it – which probably says something about my general approach to life.

Welcome. I study mechanical engineering at university and was looking for placement roles to do my year in industry – all I knew was that I wanted to work in renewable energy and contribute something to this environmental train wreck we find ourselves in, being an eco-warrior and the goto green kid in my friendship group. As such, my friend was the one to pass this opportunity to me after seeing it in a TARGETjobs newsletter, for the aptly named new energy solutions award.

I actually quite enjoyed the application process: the task to write a 500-word response to each of the three questions set by E.ON was a chance to engage more with the energy industry and market beyond just the technology involved, whilst not being such an effort as to distract from my uni work. The whole thing went very quickly from there.Two to three weeks later I received news I’d got through to the next level – an app-based assessment which was essentially a series of games – along with a standard logical aptitude test. I could practice similar tests online beforehand. Another week, and I’d got the offer of an assessment centre! My university employability suite was able to prepare me for group tasks and interview prep.

One thing I will absolutely take forward from this prep and the assessment day is that being focused, genuine and keeping relaxed to allow a bit of creative thinking is my best approach and I suspect this will be true for most people. It’s not exactly an award-winning statement but being my best self (in the holistic sense not just a business wow candidate) opens up doors in myself and the world around me. I found that E.ON’s process responded really well to this approach, looking to the people themselves in a more relaxed environment instead of a corporate shakedown seeing who falls last. Furthermore, I’d highly recommend having some market awareness by following relevant news services on Facebook/LinkedIn etc. This helped me land on my feet when answering questions or preparing a presentation at the end of the day.

I found the whole experience incredibly valuable, and being invited to the awards ceremony in Canary Wharf was incredibly exciting – they put on a great show and the day felt high powered with loads of people to talk to and connect with (LinkedIn was essential), even having a string quartet in the corner. I was impressed by Rachel Riley’s speech, having achieved an impressive amount and emphasising that she had been just another graduate looking for an opportunity like everybody else, keeping her horizons open and taking advantage of the opportunities available. Now she's using her position to represent and put in motion changes in the world that she wants to see, like helping women in engineering. She’s human, and making waves, and from the display of candidates I met and saw on the day there is so much potential being fostered by the UGOTY framework toward being leaders in the future. It was an honour to be named one of the winners, and I am excited to take the accolade forward and forge my own path to whatever end.