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The classroom is not enough for learning in today’s world, according to Professor Atul K Shah from City, University of London‘s Department of International Politics.

“Students need to collect a variety of experiences,” he says. “They need to meet different professionals who could act as role models and guide them in charting a future career which is purposeful and inspirational.”

With this goal in mind, Professor Shah led an initiative which saw second-year BSc International Politics students spend a day at One Moorgate Place, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) global headquarters in the City of London. The event was held jointly in cooperation with the ICAEW.

Students attended a variety of sessions covering topics including: the nature and opportunities of a professional business career; how City Careers experts can guide them with their application process, including research and cover letters; and what the ICAEW can offer to them in terms of training and development opportunities.

There was also a one-hour session from Luba Nikulina, Head of Research at Willis Towers Watson – who manage over $150 billion of funds directly, and over a trillion dollars indirectly – on careers in fund management.

“I very much enjoyed the session and I’m so very pleased to hear that it was also well received by the students,” said Nikulina.

“I don’t often get a chance to spend time among such young, smart and energetic people.”

The ICAEW kindly provided lunch and refreshments, so there was plenty of opportunity to socialise.

A young professional, Vivek Kotecha, from the Centre for Health and the Public Interest (CHPI) think-tank, also met with students and discussed his career trajectory.

The students who came were inspired by the experience, and discovered how much they didn’t know about employment and careers, as well as practical tools of how to research.

They were also empowered, encouraged and reminded of their own skills of character, curiosity, youthfulness, diversity and initiative – which employers cannot give, but need to be able to nurture and expand.

One student, Ruwedo Alaso, said: “This field trip has given me a lot of hope that careers like accountancy and investment, which appear to lack diversity, are moving in a positive direction and has given me confidence to consider applying for them.

“The key skills information was also very helpful and I will put it to good use for future interviews.”

Dominic Sheehy, Acting Academic Education Manager at the ICAEW, said: “The students from City were very engaged and enthusiastic.

It was a great opportunity for us to share what a professional career can offer them in terms of skills development and personal growth.”

Professor Shah said: “Given the tough climate for quality jobs for young people, it is important for academics and lecturers to give them confidence in their abilities, and remind them of the good character and transferable skills that they already have.

“We empathise with their challenges, and wish to support them in their career trajectory.

“In my presentation, I explained that ‘lack of experience’ is actually a positive quality – you will be asking employers questions they may not have thought about, and also bring a dynamism and youthfulness which all organisations need to adapt in this changing world.

“We are very indebted to Dominic Sheehy and Ria Nash at the ICAEW for hosting us and providing the students with such a unique and memorable experience.”

Towards the end of the visit, students took a tour of the impressive building and saw the variety of paintings, offices, boardrooms and rooms which make for a professional headquarters.

City Careers Consultant Antonia Clark said: “It was great to see such a diverse group taking their seats round the table in the boardroom at the end of the day, having proceeded past the many gilded oil paintings of white male ICAEW presidents from over the decades!”

If you are interested in studying BSc International Politics at City, University of London, please visit the course page.

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