University is an amazing opportunity to heighten knowledge, develop the skills needed for independent learning and meet people from a whole range of backgrounds. Working alongside academics and professionals, it is an insight to the working world as well as an investment in your future.

However, it has become increasingly essential for graduates to demonstrate active engagement to future employers. With so much talent in our generation of ‘thinkers’, the Undergraduate of the Year Awards are a celebration and recognition of the potential that we all possess.

I first heard of the awards whilst I was looking through my emails. The subject heading caught my eye and I opened it to find a link directing me to TARGETjobs’ application page. Needing a change from revision, I made the decision to apply as a form of guilt-free, productive procrastination. The application initially involved written answers to questions surrounding innovation in finance, as well as numerical reasoning and situational judgement tests. The final stage was a telephone interview constructed around a conversation about current innovative movements within the financial industry and my own work experience – how I have evolved both through necessity and decisively established change.

The awards were held at the stunning East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf, where a gorgeous sit-down lunch followed a champagne reception. Here, I met representatives from the various sponsors and many of the other candidates that I am still in contact with today. I am proud to hold the Undergraduate of the Year Award for Innovation and, looking back on my experiences, I am ever more grateful that I took the time to be part of such a positive appreciation of talent. All of the candidates were exceptional and hearing of their achievements and future endeavours really inspired enthusiasm.

I could not recommend getting involved more. Not only does the process familiarise you with the style of assessment found in many of the jobs you will inevitably be applying for, but the presence of sponsors at the awards ceremony was a brilliant chance to network and gain advice. TARGETjobs frequently remind me of their ongoing support and the confidence that I have gained is unparalleled. The process has also encouraged me to consider businesses more broadly, through understanding that it is the collaboration of people that drives change. I am currently looking forward to my summer internship with Deutsche Bank next year, but to you I wish the best of luck in applying for the 2020 awards!