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Nikita Gurani: Top three tips when looking for a placement

I wanted to complete a Placement year as I felt the experience would add more value to my degree. However, at first, I found the placement process quite intimidating, especially since I had never worked or applied for formal roles before. Here are some tips that helped me when looking for placements.


1. Make the most of events and opportunities at university

A great way to build and demonstrate key skills that employers are looking for is by attending events and signing up for opportunities! Newcastle University Business School (NUBS) organise speaker sessions and leadership training programmes throughout the academic year. I attended the Common Purpose: Leadership Programme in my second year, which involved many activities and interactive sessions to build leadership skills. By talking about my Common Purpose experience in one of my interviews, I was able to demonstrate a variety of qualities, like problem-solving and working with new teams. In addition to events, NUBS also has many opportunities for students to gain some experience. In my second year, I signed up to be a peer mentor and helped on the NUBS open days as a student call agent. This helped me demonstrate good communication and management skills.  There’s always something going on at NUBS so keep an eye out for posters in the NUBS building and emails sent from NUBS advertising different events.


2. Start early

Something I found quite surprising was how early placement applications open. I started applying for placements in early November right at the beginning of my second year – and found out that I could have started even earlier. Some big firms open their placement applications as early as September, so it’s worth checking online early for placement opportunities.  Applying sooner could also mean you have more choice in your office location and sector to work in. I tried to keep up with the dates by signing up for updates with the key companies I was looking to apply to, so I knew when applications opened and then set time aside to apply accordingly.


3. Don’t be discouraged by rejection!

Having never applied for jobs before, I took my first rejection quite hard. It felt personal to be rejected after putting in so much effort into my application. But the reality is, we receive many more rejections than acceptances, so it’s best to not think twice and push on. It’s key to focus on the companies that you think are a good match for who you are and your principles. Most big companies will design their application process around their core values and will have psychometric tests to see if the applicant aligns with what they believe in. It’s also worth remembering that for every rejection, we are that much better prepared for the next interview or next application we send out.

There are quite a few ways to strengthen your placement application and give yourself the best shot possible and there’s always plenty of support in the Business School as well as the university’s Career Service. All the best!


Nikita is a final year student in Accounting and Finance, who completed a placement year with EY in 2020/21. If you are interested in completing a placement between Stage 2 and Stage 3, you can find out more in the Business School UG Stage 2 Community 2021-22 on Canvas, or contact the NUBS Student Experience Team.

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