Students from the School of Biosciences experienced a careers day tailored to their requirements on the 8th of March 2017. This year’s Biosciences Career Day marks the sixth edition of the event since its commencement in 2012. Starting out at 9 AM and ending at 5:30 PM, activities took place in the lobby of the f1 building with talks and questions fielded in the lecture halls F1A11, F1A02 and F1A03. After the efficient registration at 9 am, the careers day started off with the opening ceremony given by Prof. Festo and Prof. Andrew Morris who is the Dean of the Faculty of Science. The opening ceremony speech was then followed by a general seminar which featured a speech from the Career Advisory Service by a CAS Office Representative on CV writing. Later on, Professor Graham Kendall delivered an inspiring Leadership Speech.
Anna See, the President and organiser of the BSN Career Day also gave her opinion on the day “My personal highlight from the entire Career Day would be the seminar on Leadership skills presented by our provost, Professor Graham Kendall and the Panel Discussion. Professor Graham has shared his experiences on leading different teams throughout his entire term at the University of Nottingham in the UK campus and the Malaysia campus and what he has done to ensure that all the teams performed well under his supervision. I find myself captivated by the experiences he has shared and will use it to improve my committee performance.”
The seminar covered to a serious degree a CV writing workshop, utilization of social media for improving job searches and leadership skills. Students from the biosciences field benefited from a structured understanding of the job hunting process, as well as highlights of what mistakes to avoid when it comes to internships and job opportunities. The CV writing workshop was structured around detailed advice from making a CV all the way to presenting it during an interview. It was a definite success for students since it involved both drafting tips as well as presentation skills during interviews. It ensured that students who would maximize and apply these skills would stand out compared to other applicants for job interviews.
Reeman Adil Mohamed Ahmed Gibreel, a Year 2 Nutrition studentshared that:”My favorite part of the career day was the CV writing workshop because it was very applicable and interesting, and I found the approach to be very relatable.”
Lunch was well-catered with networking opportunities for the students and ended on a hearty note. After the afternoon registration was completed, the Panel Discussion chaired by Dr. Soma Mitra (Associate Professor at the Faculty of Science), Miss Yasmin Rasyid (Malaysian Environmental NGOs Representative), Dr. Carmen Goh Kar Mun, PhD (Project Manager for Eureka Synergy Sdn. Bhd.) and Mr. Chin Ren Sun (University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus Alumni). The Panel Discussion was especially riveting for the biosciences students who were at the ready with their pens out and questions tripping off the stage. The panel discussion provided a discursive view of the vast range of career pathways available to Biosciences students both in Malaysia and abroad.
The grouping of Malaysian Environmental NGOs (collectively known as MENGO) was formed under the DANIDA-supported (Danish International Development Assistance) programme for environmental assistance to Malaysia. The MENGOs play a critical role in Malaysia’s path towards sustainable development, especially given that palm oil production is one of the prime hot topics of economic development vs. sustainable growth. Not to mention, the country’s teeming rainforests and island ecosystems that are fast being sacrificed for economic growth. The MENGOs collaborate and provide services to the government and this was introduced as an excellent NGO option for BSN students.
Anna See the current President of Biosciences Students in Nottingham (BSN) had a number of statements regarding the fair and her involvement in it. She gave a detailed interview response regarding the applicability of the Biosciences Career Day and its importance for students. She especially felt that since current employer techniques seem to be shifting away from the traditional and “old-fashioned” interview routine, it is fast becoming a trend to validate potential employees through a social media profile and therefore students need to be more aware and conscientious about their online presence. The special social media management segment during the career day provided advice on building and customizing a strong personal brand through social media for a positive impact on peers and employers. With regards to students from other courses attending the BSN Career Day, Anna quoted “Attendance from other students is subjective because certain aspects of the fair are quite specific to Biosciences student like the panel discussion so I would recommend students from other faculties and schools to the CV writing workshop, the leadership skills lecture and social media management course. Of course, if they wish to, they are welcome to join us for the Panel Discussion and actively engage with the invited speakers and panels.”
The BSN students are expected to take this Biosciences career day as an opportunity to interact with professionals from diverse backgrounds and expertise areas in order to get instant feedback and information regarding current openings for internships and jobs as well as answers to queries on future prospects in their respective fields. Since the School of Biosciences at UNMC is a diverse and burgeoning one with courses in biotechnology, nutrition and bioscience research programs, the speakers were chosen to accommodate students from different levels of education with different interests and prospects. The panel discussion was followed by a speed networking session where the students took every opportunity to interact with the professionals and represented UNMC admirably. The event ended with the closing ceremony enjoyed by all. The Biosciences Career Day has become an established part of BSN events and strives to outdo itself every consecutive year.
By Ayesha Mohidin
Photographs by Arun Suria