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Ioana Grosu

BA Politics (2018)

Programme Management Officer, PwC, London

A profile pic of Ioanna Grosu

Why did you apply to the University of Bradford? What was your first impression of the university and the city? What did you enjoy most about your time in Bradford?

At first, I applied to the University of Bradford for its famous Department of Peace Studies and International Development and for how modern and well-equipped the classes were. However, having started my course, the University was so much more than my initial thinking and provided me with an infinity of opportunities. Everyone is extremely helpful and while studying, you can be rest assured that someone will help you with whatever questions you may have.

Why did you choose that particular course? What did you like and enjoy most about your course?

Politics is everywhere and affects everyone, and studying this course opens up the doors to the world for its students. But studying Politics at the University of Bradford is a different experience. The lecturers always make time for you and act as mentors and not just giving lectures for a few hours a week. The engagement in my department pushed me to want to do better with every assignment handed in, and the lecturers engaged different learning approaches which did not make any two courses the same!

Apart from the formal learning environment, the Department organised different activities such as trips to the Belfast (Northern Ireland), the Hague (Netherlands) where we visited the International Criminal Court, International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia and international NGOs.

The Department also runs an annual UN Model meeting outside of Bradford, where for two days you are asked to defend your given position in a changing environment scenario giving us a flavour of what it is to work in the field. All these activities enhanced our learning by mixing studies, networking and fun. In my case, I attended everything I could but by far the best opportunity I got was to be awarded by the Department with a Summer School Scholarship to study nuclear disarmament in Hiroshima, Japan.

What tips would you give to prospective students about the course at University of Bradford and the university itself?

Take every opportunity you can, ask questions, engage with everyone around you and don’t be afraid; both in the Department but also across the university, there are people who are more than happy to help you and give you their best advice. Make yourself visible to lecturers, fellow students, Student Union and Career and Employability Services. The more activities you get engaged in, the more your network and opportunities grow and hence, success ratio!

At University of Bradford, everything is possible, and the sky is the limit! If one mark wasn’t right, one interview didn’t go well, or something happened in your personal life, don’t worry, ask people around you and you will find your direction. I have done that myself and I can assure everyone that it works. Here at the university, everyone lifts everyone up and as long as you let people know, they will definitely help. The whole environment at the university seeks to make its students well-rounded persons not just people with knowledge.

If anything, remember that nobody will knock on your dorm door with opportunities and that you are the only one in charge of shaping your university life and experience.

Remember that nobody will knock on your dorm door with opportunities and that you are the only one in charge of shaping your university life and experience.

How did Career and Employability Services support you during your time at University?

Career and Employability Services helped me throughout my three years of studies and beyond that. Through Summer Experience, I had my first internship in Bradford between my second and third year. For that, I worked as a Support Worker for CentrePoint – an organisation working with young homeless people.

While in my final year, the service organised events with different employers, and that’s how I found out about the Civil Service Internships which I started at the end of my studies and remained in the Civil Service, gaining important experience for another 1 year and 3 months after my internship finished.

There are paid and unpaid opportunities within the university campus, such as Student Ambassador and Peer Assisted Learning Leader (PAL Leader) - both of which I have been involved while at university; these activities will give you the transferable skills you need for any job you will apply after university.

The Career and Employability Services helped me through the whole process of getting a job. From writing my first professional CV, job searching and application checks, all the way to mock interviews.

Tell us about your current job.

In my current role, which I started in Feb 2020, I work as part of the Programme Management Office of a large IT Programme. Some of my responsibilities include managing the programme’s plan, creating board packs for senior management, assure the financial stability of the Programme and report against the project plan.

What action did you take to improve your employability whilst at University?

I acted with urgency and knew that my time at University won’t last forever, and that I should use the resources around me to pave my future. I tried to suppress any thought of ‘I’ll do it next semester’ or ‘I will do it next year’ and sometimes even if dark spots of doubt where in my head, I showed up to meet the Career Consultant, participated in PAL training, or whatever might have been, and took it from there … sooner is better than later!

In addition, as stated above, I grabbed every opportunity available to gain practical experience in the UK, as well as overseas – these opportunities differentiate me from other candidates who are applying for similar roles.

What advice would you give to current students wishing to enter this type of career?

Internships and university experience always leave employers impressed because it shows that you are more than the marks you score. I believe that for any type of career you may want to go on, an internship and extra experience (particularly relevant experience) will always help.

I believe that the recipe for getting a job at the end of university is the same for every career path and that starts with being curious, asking questions and engage with the Career and Employability Services as early as possible!