Flying high on BA’s graduate scheme

Maths with Business graduate Daniel Jack has successfully gained a place on the British Airways graduate scheme as a graduate analyst.

Daniel chatted to our alumni team and explained how the skills and experience he gained on the course have helped him in his role, and how the support he received at Brighton helped in making decisions about his career.

Current job, employer and length of time with employer:
I’m a graduate analyst at British Airways and have been here for four months. I’m currently working in a digital team to try and understand how our customers use the website and looking for the best areas to spend money in order to improve the customers experience and hopefully increase revenue.

What were your careers aspirations while studying?
At the start of my degree I had no idea what I wanted to do and had purely chosen to study based on the fact that I enjoyed maths. Half-way through my second year I realised I had a passion for my statistics modules, and decided I wanted to do work somewhere I could use these skills. After attending the “Maths Futures” Conference where a couple of past graduates had spoken and made me aware of jobs that existed, I planned on applying for roles in insurance with hopes of becoming an actuary. However, once I started looking for graduate jobs in my final year I came across an advert for the graduate Analyst job at British Airways and once I’d seen it, I knew that’s where I wanted to be.

Did you have any fears about entering the workplace after graduation and how you would use the skills you’d developed whilst studying?

I was terrified before I started at BA as I’d never worked in a corporate office environment before and I didn’t know what to expect. Luckily BA has a wide range of graduate schemes on offer and were able to put me in touch with the 50 other graduates joining at the same time so we could get to know each other before hand. This definitely helped to calm my nerves on day one.

As I moved into the job role after my induction I was worried that everything I’d learnt at university would be forgotten over the long summer break, but we were eased in gently with plenty of training sessions: such as using software and engaging with stakeholders. Whilst I’d learnt some of the software skills during my degree, the training really helped to get me back up to scratch, and with each graduate in my team having different skills we were able to help each other get to the same level.

How has your degree helped you get to where you are now?

My degree gave me the hard skills which were crucial to the job, ranging from an understanding of statistics, to the use of software such as SAS.
On top of this my degree has given me a foundation on which I could base all of my learning since I’ve been at BA. Throughout my degree I was encouraged to become independent by taking some of my learning into my own hands, and with a range of assessments and exams I had to learn to manage my own time. These skills are expected of us at BA so that we can manage our own workload to meet deadlines and teach ourselves new things to enhance our skill set.

Did you access any careers-related support at the University of Brighton, if so how?

Whilst at Brighton I made sure I attended the careers fair each year as it gave me an idea of the jobs on offer after university and the people there were able to give advice on applications and an insight into what the company is looking for. I also visited the careers service for support with my CV. Whilst My CV was rather good before I went, the staff there were able to give advice on tailoring my CV to individual employers and job roles, making sure I highlighted my main skills to stand out from the crowd.

What advice do you have for current students as they prepare to enter the workplace?

My advice is simple: stick with what you enjoy and be yourself. There’s nothing worse than trying to do something which you don’t enjoy doing.

What are your career aspirations for the future?

Whilst I still have another placement to go, I really hope to come back to digital analytics after the graduate scheme to work on more advanced things, as digital evolves throughout the business and industry.

The Operational Research Graduate Programme at British Airways, which Daniel successfully applied to,  is open for applications until Tuesday 31st January, 2017.