What do you think people from your degree course are doing 10, 20 even 30 years after they graduated? What questions would you ask former students that graduated from the same course as you? This is an opportunity that students from the Biomedical Sciences Faculty got when they helped set-up the first Biomedical Sciences Alumni Evening.
Last November, alumni from the 1980s to the present day came back to the University to talk to current Biomedical students. They came from a huge range of specialisms: including, postdoctoral researchers, medical consultants, clinical scientists, laboratory managers, accountants, medical demonstrators, academics, medics, and strategy consultants.
Students across the year groups found that talking to alumni was a very useful exercise. As well as being inspired to think about careers they hadn’t yet considered and encouraged to explore a range of opportunities, students also had the chance to pose questions to alumni who have gone on to pursue a range of influential careers. For example, they could ask them about what employers valued most from their degree course; what different industries were like; or what advice they would give their former selves when they were back studying at Bristol. Some of the feedback from students included:
‘[The evening] allowed me to discuss the pros and cons of different job opportunities, mainly academia vs industry. It really helped give me a realistic picture of each. I also learnt a lot about pursuing a PhD, travel and MRes courses, which I hadn’t previously heard about’
‘Very good! Helpful advice for PhD applications and opened my mind to other career options too’
‘I was able to ask questions about careers I was interested in and get answers from someone who knows the job well’
Speaking to Alumni is an excellent way to explore career ideas, to get the inside information on different sectors and to ask advice from people who have actually been there!
The alumni who attended the event were
equally enthusiastic. Bronwen Burton (BSc 2007), Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Immunology, said: ‘The event was a great success. The students seemed enthusiastic and engaged, asking lots of questions during the discussion sessions. Several also approached me during the networking session with further questions. The array of different careers which we, as alumni, represented provided an inspiring illustration of what can be achieved after completing a degree in Biomedical Sciences.’
The evening was requested by students and came from feedback during the Faculty Student Staff Liaison Committee that students wanted more contact with alumni. If this sounds like something you could benefit from it’s worth finding out if you have any alumni events that take place in your school or that are run by your course society.
How can you get in touch with Alumni?
You don’t need large events like this to be able to speak to Bristol Alumni. The Careers Service host the Careers Network – an inspirational community of Alumni who are happy to answer questions over email from current students about their careers, professions or entrepreneurial activities. Search the Careers Network to look for Alumni in specific sectors or from the same course as you!
You can also use LinkedIn to connect with Bristol Alumni. Simply create a strong LinkedIn Profile and ‘Find Alumni’ under the ‘My Network’ tab.
Be sure to read the advice and further suggestions about how to connect with Alumni on the Bristol Careers Service Website.