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Name: Lauren East
Degree: BSc Hons Mathematics
Employer: BAE Systems
Job title: Project Management


About my time in Dundee

I thoroughly enjoyed my four years at the University of Dundee. Academically, I enjoyed all of the maths modules, the opportunity to undertake modules in other subjects, and the projects I did in the maths department both as part of my degree and over the summer. Away from academic work I really enjoyed building relationships with people over the four years, the society and volunteering opportunities and, last but by no means least, the Maths Balls, Nights out and Graduation! Dundee is a fantastic university so make the most of your years there.

What I do now

I am currently working for BAE Systems and located in Portsmouth. I joined the company on their Gradate Scheme as a Project Management Graduate. For the first two years we move around placements every six months and therefore get the opportunity to work with many people in a variety of areas within the business. This range of placements means that I am constantly learning and developing my skills and knowledge, taking on new roles and presented with new challenges. I am also currently working towards achieving my professional (APMP) qualifications.

Tips for gaining employment

There are really so many options with a Mathematics degree. The hard part is thinking thoroughly about what YOU want to do after University.

Extra-curricular activities ...

If at any point during your degree you identify extra-curricular, volunteering, internship or relevant work opportunities that will enable you to gain additional skillsor experience, take them. During interviews and in the application process, I regularly referred to my involvement in one of the university's societies when discussing challenges, skills I had gained and responsibilities I previously had.

Be proactive ...

Start looking and applying early as applications deadlines for some jobs are only open at certain times during the year. SO if you miss the deadline, it can set you back one year if you want that particular career.

My advice for current students is to become aware of the job market as soon as you begin your final year, if not before. You can start by getting online and finding out when applications open for different jobs and graduate schemes. Attending University Careers Fares in the autumn is also a good idea as it enables you to ask companies about their opportunities and application processes. I also attended graduate careers fairs, visited the University careers office, picked up graduate job catalogues (eg. Prospects, Times Top 100 Graduate Employers) and tried to speak to people in a particular field of interest.

The interview ...

In terms of the interview process, it is essential to know about the company you are applying for, ensure you fully understand the position you are applying for and that it is what you want/are interested in.

Although there were a range of experiences that I drew upon during interviews, two main ones that come to mind are the projects (summer and final year) and extracurricular activities that I undertook at the university. Both gave me the opportunity to discuss challenges I had met, skills gained and lessons learned and this was particularly useful.

Forms and online tests ...

On a practical note, save each application you work on as they are often repitiive and the old ones can be useful later. When filling out application forms, draw on your experiences from university/ part time work/ volunteering/ sport clubs/ societies that display your skills and competencies. The more experiences you have to talk about the better.

Finally, there are loads of numerical, verbal and logical reasoning practice assessments available online.

Advice for current students

One piece of advice that I cannot emphasise enough is to take every opportunity, both academically and socially, that comes your way whilst you are at University. Whilst it is important to do well academically, it is also just as important to have the work/life balance.

It is my experience that if it is a non-maths specific job you are applying for or are interested in (eg Project Management), you are not at a disadvantage. The skills you have gained as a mathematician, such as your logical way of thinking and problem solving skills, are important and the opportunities are endless.

Make the most of presentation opportunities at University (eg in your final year project) take them seriously and learn from them. You never know when you may be asked to present again. For me it was a lot sooner than I had thought!

And finally, if you are lucky enough to get employment lined up before leaving Uni, enjoy your long summer after graduation before you join the "real world"!

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