Since winning the Undergraduate of the Year Award for Commercial Excellence 2014, Miklos tell us what he's been up to...

Since winning Undergraduate of The Year Award for Commercial Excellence, I have mostly worked on finishing my placement at Morgan Stanley and my third year at university, while staying in touch with Nestle and Raleigh to finalise the details of my trip to Borneo and the start date of my summer internship. I’ll be going to Borneo during the summer of 2015, while my internship commenced on 23 June 2014. I took a week’s holiday after my placement, while I became more and more excited as the date approached …

… Finally, on the 23 June, I began my internship at Nestle in York. I moved down from Edinburgh the weekend before into a local university’s accommodation, to ensure I had some time to explore the area, find local shops and a gym to go to. All the marketing, sales, supply chain, manufacturing, finance and HR interns were up in York for the first two days, as we had our initial training on Monday/Tuesday. I was assigned to marketing within the confectioneries area, which is headquartered in York – there are two of us here and another four down in Gatwick.

The first day was mostly about getting to know each other as well as the company, including icebreakers and a friendly competition among pre-organised teams. It was also the time I found out what exact project I’d be working on: I was assigned to work within the seasonal team to find new ways to personalise and premiumise Quality Street. I’m really happy with my project as I not only love the product, but it’s also a complex and interesting one to sink my teeth into.

On the second day, everyone had training specific to their area. For example, all the marketing interns had a long session with senior marketers in the firm, after which we were given the results to the insights personality test that we had to complete before our first day. We had a two-page description of our personality, which was incredibly accurate considering it was based on 25 multiple choice questions we completed. We also did some activities in our groups, the takeaway from which was that every team needs a personality from each type in order to operate most efficiently, and that we should always strive to be aware other people’s preferences as they might be very different from ours.

On the Wednesday of week one, I met the people I’d be working with, who were just in the middle of their Easter 2015 product presentation, so I already got to witness the seasonal team in action. On Thursday I had the opportunity to visit the After Eight and Quality Street factory in Halifax, which was amazing as I finally got to see in person how chocolate is produced after having watched numerous episodes of ‘How It’s Made’! I spent Friday gaining some ground on my project, which will, over the ten weeks, include doing market research to evaluate competition, coming up with ideas to personalise and premiumise seasonal sales of Quality Street, as well as working together with creative agencies, suppliers, finance and sales to assess the costs of delivering the project and finding the correct price for the personalised product.

The next Monday I was asked if I wanted to go to our packaging supplier in Newcastle, to which of course I said yes! It was a very informative day, where I managed to get some insight on premium packaging that’s relevant to my project!

The rest of the week I’ll be working on finishing up the initial market research of my project and meeting with different people from various areas of the company to get a wide range of ideas for options to deliver my project.

So far my placement has been great: I was lucky to be able to visit two factories within two weeks. The atmosphere and culture is great at Nestle, so I’m up for a busy but great summer!

We caught up with Miklos ahead of his trip to Borneo!

Recently, the amount of ‘What are we going to do after we graduate?’ and ‘I really want to travel before I jump into the real world’ conversations I’ve had with my friends has increased exponentially. Luckily, I have it all covered, and I believe that winning the Undergraduate of the Year Award for Commercial Excellence was the catalyst to my recent successes – I’ll tell you all about it!

Since my last blog entry, I finished up my internship with Nestlé in marketing, which was an amazing experience as through my project I was able to deliver a new product prototype for one of the UK’s largest confectionery brands. I found the complexity of my project amazing, especially as marketing was a new area for me, while the support and the culture of Nestlé helped me develop new skills and new ways to think. Part of my award is also a sponsored trip to Borneo with Raleigh International, for which I just had my tickets booked. I’ll be undertaking a community project and an environmental project during my seven-week stay at the island. While there is a lot I have to prepare, I have never been this excited about traveling before; it will truly be a life-changing experience.

Towards the end of the year, I also secured a graduate job in management consulting with a great company – I will be joining the September 2015 class of Capgemini Consulting, within their consulting development community (CDC) programme in London. The Undergraduate of the Year assessment centre, and the additional experience I gained through my internships, gave me invaluable insight into how to tackle the obstacles.

It feels amazing to have the next year of my life already set, where many students are just beginning to think about their career after graduation so, again, I would like to take the opportunity to recommend both the Undergraduate of the Year Awards and TARGETjobs, as they have been essential to my achievements.

I also have five TIPS for anyone thinking about entering below, which will hopefully help you tackle this great award.

First and foremost, do the background work – on the award sponsor, the award’s stages, on how to answer the online questions and on any possible technical queries you might get.

Know yourself – someone once told me that going to an interview should be the easiest thing in the world: you only have to talk about yourself. Combined with my previous point, this should prepare you for any question.

Be confident – again, my tips are building on each other. If you have done the work and know your achievements this should be easy.

Practise online tests – having talked to recruiters from various companies, they all said that one of the stages where they lose the most applicants is the online tests, as people don’t take them seriously enough.

Take that first step – what is there to lose by entering? It might be the start to your dream career, and it’s great experience either way.