Hamna Cheema: Intern at Deloitte
Featured Success Stories
December 02, 2019
Hamna, from Pakistan
I am studying in the UK right now at the University of Warwick, and I am from Pakistan. I am about to start my third year at University. I just finished my internship last month - it ran across July-August. I am studying History and Sociology.
‘I Was Always Keen On The UK Education System’
What made you pursue higher education in the UK?
When I was in my A levels, my elder sister applied to the UK and then she went abroad, so I wanted to follow in those footsteps - I was always keen on the UK education system.
My internship, however, was as a tax intern. When I was in my second year, I just really wanted an internship, I did not bother about which field it is going to be - I was ready to gain any sort of experience. Before I applied as a tax intern, I read a little bit about it and the expectations from the role. it wasn't hard - I learnt tax, as well as plenty of soft skills, which are transferable.
‘I Used Student Circus Extensively To Find Out Which Companies I Should Apply’
How did you go about your job application process?
In the application process, I had my filters: I wanted to do an internship at a company that would later sponsor VISA. And I knew about Student Circus because my sister had already told me about Student Circus as that website that posts only the companies that sponsor an international student. So I used Student Circus extensively to find out which companies I should apply and invest my time into. So basically I was very strict about this thing. This is a crucial parameter in the job search process.
A lot of my friends are my seniors, so I took guidance and help from them. They had already started working, so they'd fill me in on how the work environment is. Other than that, I read up blogs and company websites.
I did not really take advantage of my University Careers Services- I could have gone, but I did not really use it much. But there are Careers fairs and such events conducted fairly regularly and these are a very productive use of your time.
‘Situational Judgement Tests And Numerical Tests Which Were Aimed At Understanding Our Discerning Ability’
How did you land the internship?
I found out the particular vacancy from Student circus, then I applied - got shortlisted, and then thankfully passed all the tests and then bagged the internship.
The tests were like situational judgement tests and numerical tests which were aimed at understanding our discerning ability. I had one test and one job simulation, followed by interviews. Usually, it is an assessment centre (AC), but for me it was different - they basically told me that spaces are full and they can't accommodate more candidates, but after a few months they called me up and asked me if I still wanted the internship and so I said yes to the interview that finally led to a job.
In my internship hunt, I was also shortlisted at other places, went for assessment centres and interviews. And ACs can seem scarier than the interviews because there are a lot more activities you are made to do and I think I personally feel more comfortable doing an interview because it is a one-on-one conversation rather than group exercises and intimidating activities.
I roughly remember the timelines as they were - I think I applied in January, and after this thorough process I actually received a rejection in March, but then got called back in April, which is when they took my interview and that ended in an offer for the internship which began in July.
I consulted a lot of people to get their advice on the preparation for the interview and tests, but I also practised tests online. A simple Google search can lead you to sample tests of the same format available for practice.
In my case, a lot has come from my network and the community of students here.
‘It Is Not Always Possible To Get It Right For The First Time’
What are your future plans?
I do intend to work in the UK after my studies. I have started applying already. So, I am already done with two of my applications as well and am now waiting for the answer. So I am taking a proactive approach here.
Practice makes perfect - that is true. It is not always possible to get it right for the first time. I don't think there are many people who excel and crack their first AC or interview itself. I didn't know anything - but then learnt from my mistakes and then I took that as a lesson. it can get very demotivating when people comment on how we might never get a job. But doing multiple applications improves your skills and experience in handling the application process.
I would just say: don't give up. Keep practising. Whatever happens - even if you get rejected - persist and it will eventually pay off.
‘I Found Student Circus Very helpful, So In Terms Of Job Search, I Would Really Recommend The Platform’
Any word of advice for students looking for jobs?’
I found Student Circus very helpful, so in terms of job search, I would really recommend the platform and website. The sponsorship list is quite long and there are issues with the list, so having job postings that you know will sponsor VISAs can be very helpful. Other than that, international students coming to the UK should consult whoever they can, friends, career services, etc. I don't think anyone can get through the entire process on their own. The application process here is very different than in our home countries. So always ask for help/advice.
Finally, apply really early - many companies close their application window pretty soon.