Anthony Davis (BSc Biology 2010)
I completed my Biology degree at the University of Reading in the summer of 2010. Whilst I hold a personal passion for Biology, I had always aspired to start my career in a more commercialised setting. I am now, in just under seven years, a highly successful head-hunter & recruiter, leading a team of consultants as a Senior Business Manager for Hays Plc - one of the largest specialist recruitment firms globally. My team specialise in the Technology sector, from entrepreneurial start-ups, FTSE 250 global corporates to mid-market UK companies.
Why did you choose to study at the University of Reading?
I chose to study at Reading largely because of its world-wide reputation, the flexibility of the course, its research facilities and its campus which offers large, green and spacious grounds.
What was the best bit about living and studying in Reading?
The green and spacious grounds on campus!
What top tips would you give to students who are beginning their studies?
Do not underestimate the sheer amount of work required when studying a degree. I had a wake-up call when I received my second-year results. Consequently I put myself under a huge amount of pressure in the 3rd year which I would definitely not advise! Do not leave revision down to the last few months before your exams, I would highly recommend revising from the get-go in September/October. The amount of content in the course is expansive and you will need to learn each subject in great detail, not to mention the high-level of referencing required in order to gain a First.
Did you benefit from spending a year abroad / a year in industry?
Regrettably I didn't work a year in industry but wished I had! I worked in a part-time retail job during the summer and if I could do it again, I would have invested the time to search for a part-time/apprentice/intern position in a more commercial or industry-related role. I have seen the impact that a work placement has on a student, (having managed numerous interns in our undergraduate programme) - it not only develops your verbal and written communication but also dramatically improves your confidence and, in certain cases, your ability to cope with highly pressurised environments.
What are you up to now? How did you get there?
I work in a fast-paced, highly pressurised role that demands highly tuned people management skills and commercial nous. Biology taught me to analyse situations in granular detail and this has helped me to explore difficult commercial situations and provide the best outcome to my customers. Biology also incited my passion for English, as I enjoyed writing journals that explained complex theories through the use of highly scientific language. These exercises radically improved my writing skills and vocabulary. This has in turn helped me to raise my profile and credibility within the work place.
What would be your top tips for students interested in working in this sector?
In short, you have to be exceptionally resilient, driven and commercially aware. The job will test your nerves but if you work smartly in the first 18 months, your hard work will undoubtedly pay off. Recruitment is a lucrative and meritocratic industry where you can progress very quickly and Hays provides a unique setting to achieve this. Hays offers the best training in the industry and an unrivalled platform that provides you access to an extensive range of tools and resources to get the job done at a first class standard.
How has the University of Reading and the Careers Centre helped in your chosen career path?
The careers centre at University of Reading is an outstanding resource! When I was approaching the end of my final year I arranged to meet with one of the centres' representatives. They offered me excellent advice on my CV and professional profile. We arranged several further meetings to assess my progress and the centres' representative helped me to secure interviews and multiple opportunities.
What are your top tips for students graduating this year? What should they be doing to secure the job they want?
Never reject offers to work voluntarily or in an apprenticeship. If you prove your worth in the office you will quickly get picked up by senior management. It won't be long before you're approached by a department manager and offered a permanent job.
What does the University mean to you and what is your favourite memory?
Graduating from the University of Reading was a milestone of my academic life. It was the part of my life where I studied what I was always interested in and provided myself with solid foundations for my future career. My favourite memory has to be my first year in St. Patrick's Hall. The experience fully lived up to my expectations as what being a student is all about - work hard and play hard.