“Both King’s Careers & Employability and my department have been very supportive in helping me and others to obtain scholarships in investment banks and Kings’ reputation is a great asset to my CV.” – Mark, Computer Science BSc
In 2015, Times Higher Education (THE) asked graduate hiring Managers from 21 different countries to select the universities producing the most employable graduates within their main recruiting areas. According to the results, King’s College London – one of the most cutting-edge and globally-connected universities in the UK capital – ranks 43rd in the world in terms of producing top graduates for hire, also coming in 7th out of all UK universities.
Students come from every continent to make the most of London’s employment opportunities. Being one of the world’s most influential financial centres means the City of London Corporation must work incredibly hard to maintain and enhance this status, running alongside business and policy-makers to support the competitiveness and growth of City business. Such strong efforts to preserve London’s reputation as an international business leader means graduates of King’s College London have access to the most sought-after positions right after graduation.
“Here at King’s, we’ve found that graduate recruiters are still very keen to come onto campus and meet with students, so we’ve certainly not had any trouble attracting recruiters” said Laura Mackenzie, Head of Careers & Employability at King’s College London from 2011-2016.
“We have very good graduate employment outcomes here at King’s, and students at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level move into a range of career areas and are very successful in those,” she added.
“We also find that King’s is a target institution for many of the largest employers in the UK and worldwide, so many employers are actually wanting to come onto campus to meet with students, and again that’s across all sectors, from healthcare to the creative industries.”
All King’s careers fairs are organised by the dedicated staff who form the university’s Careers & Employability service, a collection of qualified professionals who are passionate about helping each student fulfil their potential, no matter what field they hope to specialise in. The Careers & Employability service is the student’s first port of call for information, advice and events to help navigate all possible career options; from gaining work experience to developing your CV, to application and interview coaching to networking with real-world professionals and employers.
“The Careers & Employability service aims to do three main things for students: to help them explore, connect and reflect,” said Laura. “So [we want them] to explore the range of career options that are open to them by putting them in touch with employers, arranging events where they can find out about the different things that they might want to go on and do as a graduate.
“To connect with employers, we do so through some of our careers fairs, through our skill sessions that are co-delivered with employers, and through helping students find work experience and internships.”
Last year, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) asked groups of students and employers to answer a series of questions about career preparation. In line with results from similar surveys, the sample confirmed that employers are most concerned about hiring new graduates with a vibrant palette of skills in areas like communication and teamwork – characteristics that are efficiently developed through social, sporting and other activities traditionally provided by universities. At the King’s College London Student Society (KCLSU), there are no less than 260 societies and activity groups available to students, giving each the chance to grow into a wholesome employment candidate long before they graduate.
“Having that extra skillset, having that extra proof of something that you’ve done, really adds to the graduate employability market,” said Charlotte Pywell, a joint-honours King’s undergraduate student of European Studies with French. “It’s so competitive at the minute that having that extra piece of paper that proves the skills you’ve got is really invaluable.”
The King’s Careers team take pride in their ability to develop new and innovative ways to enhance the student experience and graduate employability, both in the UK and overseas. The key focus of the King’s Internship Programme is to embed employability directly into a rigorous curriculum, working with an extensive global network of internship host organisations to promote, manage, monitor and evaluate quality-assured student placements.
“[It] is made up of what we call ‘Accredited Internship Modules,” said Adam Dimitroff, the Internships Manager at the University. “We also handle support for anyone, basically, [who’s] seeking an internship, so we run a series of student support consultations, really anything designed to help the student in their sourcing and placement of internships.”
On top of this, King’s has also recently launched their new flagship Global Internships Programme, providing students with international summer internships in China, India and the USA. Placements are arranged in a variety of challenging and demanding industries, tailored to the student’s specific area of study. The programme, exclusive to King’s College London, provides students with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain relevant industry experience within a global context.
Kings’ utmost dedication to assuring every student is equipped with the skills to thrive in the professional sphere long after graduation is one that certainly pays off. Previous research has shown that some 36 percent of students who have completed a work experience placement as part of their degree receive at least one definite job offer by the Easter of their final year, compared with just 11 percent of all other undergraduate students.
“In my final year, I actually applied for the Tesco Technology Leadership programme,” said Alex Kantor, a 2010 King’s Computer Science graduate, an undeniable testament to the success of the University’s Careers & Employability Service. “It’s training you to be a leader, really… I had a lot of experience of leadership from the King’s societies that I’d been involved in, either through project management or through being on the student council.”
Alex firmly believes that the overall student experience and support he received throughout his time at King’s inspired him to seize this amazing opportunity. “For me, King’s had the perfect balance between academic and… social development at the same time,” he said. “The amount of societies there were was incredible, and I knew a) it was going to be good fun to join, but b) I’d get a lot out of it as well.”
The skills Alex gained from virtually every aspect of student life at King’s have carried him forward to professional success, and that’s something he’ll remain thankful for his entire business career.
“These [are the] kind of experiences I’ve taken forward into business life,” he said. “I use them every day. So far, it’s been fantastic and the future could go anywhere, really.”