Dr Chad McDonald completed his PhD in History at the University of Bristol in 2019. He’s now a Senior Academic and Study Skills Tutor at Manchester Metropolitan University. This role has seen him shortlist hundreds of applications and interview dozens of candidates. In this blog he reflects on his post-PhD career and offers advice for those looking to move into third-space roles in universities.
“As I was preparing to submit my thesis in the summer of 2019, I was also trying to plan for what would come next. This involved balancing my imminent thesis deadline against job hunting. Juggling these demands was tough!
One thing that made it easier, though, was that I’d planned for what I wanted to do next throughout my PhD. Here are some key points to consider during your PhD to support your job search (no matter how imminent it may be!)
Resilience is becoming an increasingly crucial attribute in the job market. Whether you’ve just started your career or are navigating the job application process, building career resilience is an essential skill that can set you apart from the competition and contribute to your long-term success.
In this blog post, we will explore the meaning and importance of career resilience, and most importantly, how you can develop and strengthen this valuable trait, both as you apply for jobs, and navigate workplace challenges.
Hi, my name is Harry and I am a final year Management with Innovation student at the University of Bristol. This course is a four-year integrated master’s degree, combining specialist core disciplines such as Management, Economics, Physics and many others, with Innovation, to tackle the growing needs of the 21st Century.
Over the summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to join INVISTA, a global manufacturer of fibers, polymers and chemical intermediates, and a subsidiary of Koch Industries. I worked as a Business Operations Intern, joining the wider EU Supply Chain team.
I engaged with the Careers Service at the University of Bristol several times in my third year, when I was looking at, and applying for internships. The service provided me with resources to help my application stand out and signposted internships, including the INVISTA summer programme that I recently completed.
During this internship, I worked in the relatively new Centre of Excellence (COE) team. This formed part of the wider Enablement team, where the focus is very much on innovation. I found the opportunity to be a part of this team exciting, as it allowed me to use the theory I had learned in my course and apply it in the real world to improve efficiency within selected Supply Chain processes.
From a more tangible perspective, I got the chance to experiment and use tools new to me, such as ChatGPT to automate a process, and worked with developers to enhance a current system of capturing customer information. Through the culture of Principled-Based Management™, I also had the opportunity to ‘fail’, and take it as a learning opportunity for when things don’t go to plan – as they so often do. Therefore, this role provided an opportunity for both personal and professional growth.
Following the conclusion of my internship, INVISTA kindly offered me a full-time position as a Business Operations Specialist beginning in 2024, following my graduation. I will be joining the Customer Experience team, where I will be the focal point for my customers to ensure they get the very best service we can provide. I am really looking forward to beginning my career at INVISTA and furthering my knowledge in supply chains and the manufacturing industry.
Whilst studying, I found taking part in activities such as representing the University in tennis and being part of the innovation society, (firstly as Kit Secretary before moving on to Equality Director) will help me develop skills for working life, through teamwork, leadership, and people-skills.
I think one of the key skills to work in this industry would be the drive to continually keep learning. However, there are some skills which would be more obvious to increase your chances of getting into this sector, like teamwork, customer service skills, and experience using software such as Salesforce, SAP, and PowerBi.
I would also encourage you to want to keep learning more about whatever it is you are doing. For example, before my internship, I had very little knowledge of supply chains, business operations or the manufacturing industry, before my internship, but I was given a chance to learn because I showed the drive and commitment to constantly and quickly learn or adapt.
Rachel graduated from Bristol with an Economics degree and now works in data analysis for Tesco. We recently caught up with Rachel to hear about her experience working for Tesco and her advice for students that are starting their career.
“Thinking about careers and trying to secure a first job might be easy for some. Maybe you’ve had an idea about what you want to do for a while and your university degree is leading you in this direction.
However, for others, it’s less clear, and this can cause anxiety and confusion. I fit into the latter group and nearly 7 years since graduating I’m still figuring it out!
Get Hired, our flagship spring careers fair, is back! Taking place on Wednesday 3 May, from 12:30 pm to 4 pm at Bristol Beacon, it’s a great opportunity to network with a variety of employers.
But how do you network effectively? We chatted with James Darley, CEO of Transform Society, to get his networking top tips.
“It’s critical that you get the most out of this unique opportunity to meet employers face-to-face and build your professional network, but often students worry about these events and don’t know how to get the most out of them.
As part of the ‘Prepare to get hired’ event series (aiming to help you get the most out of Get Hired), I will be hosting a skill session based on professional networking where I’ll discuss what professional networking is, why you need to do it and how to do it.
Last month the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law hosted a panel event on How to get into Social Policy, as part of the ‘How to get into’ event series.
Here we bring you an overview of the sector and the panellists’ top tips for getting into social policy.
What is social policy?
Social policy is all about addressing human needs for security, social justice and welfare, and it considers how states and societies deal with such issues.
There are many different routes into policy work and a wide range of roles to pursue if you’re interested in this area – both in the private and public spheres.
A common entry route into the sector is as a research associate for independent think tanks. You could also work in project delivery or as a policy adviser in a government department. If you’re interested in more local issues, you might consider applying for the National Graduate Development Programme which is run through local governments.
The Bristol Mentors scheme matches successful applicants with an alumni mentor who will help you explore ideas, share advice and give you an edge to break into the job sector that interests you.
To celebrate Bristol Mentors now being open for applications for the class of 2023/24, we caught up with Lucy (BA English Literature, 2019) and Grace (MA Law, 2019) to hear about their experiences as student mentees on the programme.
Both former mentees have since taken the role of mentor for two current students. From mentee to mentor, and student to graduate, they are full of valuable experiences worth sharing!
According to Paul Polman’s 2023 Net Positive Employee Barometer, half of UK Gen Z employees report having previously resigned from a job because their company’s values didn’t align with their own.
Indeed, it’s widely reported that young people today want to make a difference in their job, favouring companies with sustainability plans and policies.
As a university, we understand the importance of sustainability when it comes to our students researching their career options. We also appreciate that reviewing a potential employer’s website and reports for information about their mission, purpose, and social and environmental impact is time-consuming and that each company presents their data in varying formats.
That’s why we’re delighted to be able to point you towards Windō, a great free resource for students to easily access, digest and compare the sustainability plans and progress that employers are making.