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Name: J Weightman
Degree: BSc Hons Mathematics
Graduation: 2013
Employer: GL Noble Denton
Job title: Graduate engineer in Safety and Risk


About my time in Dundee

My degree at the University of Dundee was in mathematics, which I started in September 2009. The whole experience was fantastic, from living in campus accommodation, attending great (and occasionally messy) nights at the union to working together on assignments and workshops for the course, ending with the graduation ceremony, garden party and the ball! A couple of highlights would be doing an internship at a diving centre in Tenerife for 8 weeks over summer which came through the university sports club and working as part of a multi-disciplinary team of students in the iGEM (international Genetically Engineered Machines) competition. I was part of the modelling team, giving me a chance to use the skills and techniques learnt as part of my degree, and presenting the work together at a conference in Amsterdam, attended by students, staff and judges from 191 universities worldwide.

What I do now

I work for the oil and gas sector of GL Noble Denton, as a graduate engineer in safety and risk. I work on different projects as part of a team, modelling fires and explosions, assessing risks to personnel, the environment and assets of offshore and onshore facilities and attending meetings with other companies and clients about the safety aspects of future projects. It is very rewarding working for a company currently in a fast and expanding industry, although there it is a challenge to learn a lot of information very quickly. It already has been interesting working with people from different backgrounds and different abilities to achieve a common goal. Although the projects I am currently working on haven't required specific techniques learnt from my degree, there are elements that require some mathematical understanding, such as the relationship between variables in certain models, as well as the use of numerical software and analysing data and graphs.

How I got the job

Getting employed: The graduate programme was advertised on the company's website along with a bit about different roles and current graduate employee profiles. After applying to the job online, I had a phone interview (not scheduled!), a series of online tests and an assessment day, comprising of a behavioural interview (and presentation), technical interview, group exercise and written exercise. My summer spent as part of the iGEM team (international Genetically Engineered Machine) was very valuable, as the first question in the application was concerning any internships you had undertaken that were relevant to your degree. The modelling, team work and presentation aspects of the summer project were very relevant to the role I applied for and am currently working in. Job hunting can be very stressful, but particularly graduate specific roles, as large companies may have well over a thousand applicants; I applied for four graduate programmes for different positions, each time tailoring my CV to the job. I also sent out my CV to jobs advertised on recruitment websites. It is important not to dwell on getting turned down for positions, there will likely be many applicants for just one position, so if you can get some feedback then you can adapt your CV or future applications and carry on trying, as it only takes one company to notice your personality or experience and take you through to the next stage.

Advice for current students

Advice: My advice to all students would be to get as much experience in the field you are interested in as possible, whether it is a part time job, volunteering or a summer internship. There are often well over a thousand applicants for a handful of roles in a graduate programme, so your CV needs to stand out and you need to have relevant experience that will distinguish your CV from others. As previously mentioned, my involvement with iGEM gave me skills very important to the role that I am currently working in. I would advise to look into careers and the job market early, as I applied to a graduate role that had a closing date before October the job was due to begin. Other tips I would give would be to use the university facilities as much as possible. For example, a meeting with a careers advisor can get you on the right track for looking in to careers, they will help you develop your CV and can offer practice interviews.

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