- From Ploiesti, Romania
- Secured graduate role at J.P. Morgan
- Joined societies including Fencing, Tennis and Romanian Society
Stefan-Octavian knew nothing about Bradford when he arrived at the start of his first semester - "I was a kid then", he says. Four years later he has graduated with a first class degree in Computer Science, a graduate job at a multinational banking giant, and a wealth of experience.
Stefan says he has changed a lot in his time at the University of Bradford:
"I considered myself back then a kid, now I think I can start on a career and I feel ready. I changed a lot in my second year when I started going for interviews.
"That's when I realised I needed to man up - I was always nervous in interviews and at one point I decided I needed to be confident. Then I got three job offers in a week."
Lots of exposure
In the end, Stefan chose J.P. Morgan for his placement year: "I was on a trading floor - really noisy, but I like that sort of environment.
"I worked in a global team managing other tech teams. The best description for my team is the line between the actual business and the tech bit.
"When I arrived they asked me what I wanted to do and I said, 'I like programming, but I'm not the kind of guy who you would put in a chair to code all day,' so they put me in this position which was mostly running around the floor talking to people and going to meetings.
"It meant lots of exposure because you get to know a lot of people."
Exposure which has paid off - with Stefan returning to the company for its graduate scheme.
Stefan says the placement year option was a key factor in his decision to come to the University of Bradford:
"I had an offer to go to Copenhagen, but I thought it would be better to go to a country where I could speak the language.
"I knew I was going to do computer science and a placement year, so Bradford offered this sandwich course and I had heard good things about computer science here, so I thought, why not? And it's cheap as well!"
A social person
The same qualities which landed Stefan an excellent placement year position helped him settle into Bradford.
"I knew nothing about Bradford.
"I got a flight, arrived here, got into my halls, and thought, 'where am I?'
"I didn't know anyone here - I came with a couple of other Romanians who I met right before I left. The first couple of days were a bit hard as I'd never been away from home before, but I got used to it and it didn't take long.
"I'm a social person so the first thing I did was go to the Freshers' Fayre and got involved in several societies - Fencing and Romanian Society to start with, and then I joined Tennis as well later on."
Everything you need
Stefan says he was very impressed when he got down to the business of studying for his degree:
"I was impressed with the facilities I saw here. You can find pretty much whatever you need.
"In the library there wasn't any book I couldn't find, or any resource I needed access to, even borrowing hardware from technical support.
"The University offers you everything you need to do your course.
"I really like the way of teaching - they start easy, but everything changes in the second year.
"The thing I like the most is you send an email to a lecturer, and they reply back to you straight away - no matter what your enquiry is."
For his final year project, Stefan worked with the University's IT and Marketing departments to create a Bluetooth beacon system as part of the University of Bradford mobile app, which has been used at the University's Open Days.
"When I had to choose a project, I wanted to choose something that could have an impact. I'm proud to say I had this project, it's great, it's still being used.
"What I didn't want was a normal project that's going to die after I leave."
"Probably the best thing about these years of university is that it's not just focussed on studies - it's focussed on how to get a career."