A journey full of experiences and rewards: Luisa's Undergraduate of the Year story

The final event was in the East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf, filled with 120 of the brightest and most high-achieving undergraduates, and every single one was reminded of their excellence by each speaker on stage. I was sitting among those 120 undergraduates, having been shortlisted to win the female undergraduate award. Every now and again I would experience a wave of insecurity because I could not understand how I managed to get through to this last stage. I do not think I realised the significance of these awards until I was there, surrounded by so many incredible students and company sponsors.

The entire journey, from sending in my CV and completing the first online psychometric tests to the final event, was the most challenging but also most rewarding journey I have embarked on and looking back at it I would recommend anyone with the least bit of ambition to apply for one of the awards.

I experienced a two-day assessment centre (which is not very common), but it raised my confidence and helped me prepare in the best way possible for any future assessments I will face. We had to do group assessments, presentations, interviews and write individual reports, but we were also taken around the incredible sites of Rolls-Royce in Derby, whereby we learned more about the company. I was offered a summer internship with Rolls-Royce despite not having won the award itself, but that was because they spotted potential in me during the application process. I got to spend a day in Canary Wharf and take a selfie with Fiona Bruce. But most importantly, I made more than 119 new valuable contacts from several industry fields, who will certainly in future become some of the most influential leaders of our time. I also got to speak to high-level managers and executives from Rolls-Royce, who all shared about their own career paths and gave me valuable tips.

About midway through this journey I started to see it less as a competition and more as a networking opportunity. I experienced the beauty of encouragement and the importance of supporting one another in our successes because there is much more value in celebrating each other than putting each other down.

As you can see, it was all in all a hard process, but I got much more out of it than I had asked for.

You never know what might happen or how far you might come. If you never try you will never succeed.

Where are they now?

Billing operations analyst at Plusnet.