Hello & Goodbye, from SUMS Alumni - Dan Radcliffe (2016)

— 13.04.18

by Adam Greenwood

Dan Radcliffe, BA Business Management (2016), is one of our recent graduates, and the first of our 'Hello and Goodbye' alumni profile series, having gone on to secure a much-coveted role on the Virgin Media Business Graduate Scheme. Dan attended our Sheffield Alumni in London event (April 2018) and explains the benefits of being an active alumni, why experience is so important, and why his 'I miss Sheffield' list features the golden trio of Nottingham House pies, the freedoms of student life, and of course, Poptarts...

Q1. Since graduating in 2016, you’ve gone on to secure a coveted place on the Virgin Media Business Graduate Scheme. What was the selection process like and how are you enjoying the role so far?

Like with a lot of graduate schemes at large organisations, the application process seems quite long while they filter through the high volume of applicants, but I found Virgin Media’s more relaxing and comfortable than most, rather than “they’re looking for ways to catch you out”.

The process was:

  1. Questions about the Virgin brand and the B2B market, as well as my career aspirations, submitted with a CV.
  2. One-way video interview (a series of questions were displayed on the screen, similar to the initial application questions and then you film your answers).
  3. Telephone interview – this was more of a chat about career aspirations rather than an interview though.
  4. Assessment centre (including a presentation, a competency-based interview and 2 group tasks) – I felt comfortable throughout this, it was very much Virgin Media trying to get the best out of me (rather than trying to catch me out).

It’s a rotational scheme and I am currently in my 4th and final placement of the 2 years. I have spent time in acquisition and customer marketing, regional marketing for Northern Ireland, business management (sales governance) and I am currently in customer experience & insight. I’ve really enjoyed the scheme where I’ve worked in tremendously varied roles, across various locations with lots of opportunity to travel and get involved in non-role related activities too.

I would highly recommend rotational schemes to people like myself who aren’t 100% committed to a particular industry or role when leaving university. Virgin Media is a very good brand and employer to work for which matches my personality and working style, notably with being remarkably flexible in terms of location and working hours.

Q2. You studied a BA in Business Management with work experience; how have the various workplace roles you undertook helped shape your career, mindset and skills so far?

I wouldn’t be in the role that I am today without the experience I gained on my placement year at Microsoft as well as other short-term placements. Work experience in differing roles and industries helped me better understand areas of interest as well as helping to eliminate some of the things that don’t interest me as much in my career. A lot of the skills gained through these work placements offered a great starting point for graduate applications and helped to differentiate me from other applicants.

“There is some really rich talent in the Management School and I’ve seen fantastic opportunities offered to students by alumni from their respective organisations.”

Q3. You recently attended a Sheffield Alumni in London event. What made you decide to attend and how do you think alumni can continue to be connected to SUMS?

The reason I decided to attend was for 2 reasons:

  1. I wanted to meet/network with other alumni
  2. The guest speakers from Mopp and their new venture Elder sounded really interesting, particularly as one day I would love to start my own business if the opportunity presented itself – great to hear the approach and success of others!

Seeing what other alumni are up to since leaving university from a similar position is fascinating – particularly where there are similarities and differences.

Educational talks and social events are a good way of keeping alumni connected to SUMS. Though I’m not in the position to offer anything, recruiting SUMS members into alumni organisations is another great way to stay in touch. There is some really rich talent in the Management School and I’ve seen fantastic opportunities offered to students by alumni from their respective organisations.

Q4. Living and working in London, what do you enjoy most about living in the UK capital, and what are you missing/pining for since leaving Sheffield?

A lot of my friends moved to (or back to) London following graduation, so it’s great to be around friends from Sheffield and my placement year. There is always something to do and it’s a great central point for catching up with everyone and anyone! There is also a lot of opportunity for career progression in London. My family are also just north of London so it’s convenient to pop home!

What do I miss?

  • The city of Sheffield – much friendlier than London ;)
  • Notty House pies
  • Poptarts
  • The free time of being a student!

Q5. What are your favourite foods, hobbies, sports, interests, places to travel etc?

Foods:

  • I like the diversity – something different every day!
  • Since moving to London, I love going to street food markets

Sports:

  • Football (both playing and supporting Watford FC)
  • Skiing

Travel:

  • Most recent trip was skiing in France. At Christmas I took an unprecedented 3 weeks off work to go travelling round Germany & the Netherlands primarily going to football games and sight seeing
  • I lived in South Africa for a few years as a kid which I loved and would love to live and work abroad at some point given the opportunity

Q6. Finally, what's your number 1 career tip for current students?

Experience. 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 1 summer or 1 year. You name it, it all comes in handy. There’s only so much you can talk in interviews about being a school prefect…

Experience not only gives you something to talk about in interviews, but also helps you find what you like and don’t like. Worst case scenario you do some work experience and hate it. Better to find out when you’re doing it for a fixed period of time!

Do you want to be interviewed? Alumni can ask for a interview by emailing mgtalumni@sheffield.ac.uk

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