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I attended the Tesco-IMA Maths Career Information day event in London. As a third-year student, I have no idea what I want to do after graduating, so I thought it would be a good idea to attend, even if I don’t end up applying to Tesco.

At the beginning of the event, we enjoyed some refreshments and received an introduction to the IMA. After that there were a series of presentations from various departments in the company who recruit maths students. These included Finance, Analytics and Optimisation, Fulfilment, Technology and Marketing Insights.

The presentations included information on the different roles available at Tesco for maths graduates – this was very helpful as there are likely to be similar roles and departments in other large corporations. Since I started my degree, I have become aware that I can do anything with a mathematics degree, but I had no specific idea of what that meant exactly in terms of jobs. I was overwhelmed by the variety of roles they introduced us to, but at the same time I was relieved because I felt like I finally understood what my options are after graduating.

After the presentations, we had a group activity to simulate the kind of activities that assessment centres do. I have not been to an assessment centre yet, so I was really pleased to have a chance to see what I can expect. In groups of 4, we had to think about how we would solve a given problem. Each group briefly presented what their approach would be and then we were questioned by the Tesco audience. After every group finished, we received some very useful feedback on what we did right, could have improved, and general information about how we should approach group tasks like this. I am naturally a very shy person; therefore, I initially felt a little intimidated by this, but as a result of this activity I now feel much more confident.

Following the group task, we had lunch and an opportunity to approach staff from various departments. I had thousands of questions at this point, and really enjoyed this networking opportunity. I received all the answers I needed and even made some connections. The hour just flew by in the friendly atmosphere where everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

The final presentation was from the HR team on the recruitment process: how it works, what they are looking for and how to succeed. I think it was great that we got to know more about how they look at applicants and what they judge them on when they have an interview. I enjoyed both the presentation and the Q&A session that followed. It was so easy to talk to everyone from Tesco, and I felt encouraged by them to look more into their options and consider them as a career path after graduating.

At the very end of the day, we received some more information on the IMA and why its personally good to be involved with professional bodies like them. Hearing all the benefits and experiences that other members had, it made me think that this might be just what I need, and I ended up applying for a student membership for the IMA. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the event, and I am happy that I decided to attend in the first place. Events like this are a great help, enabling me to decide what to with my career.

Zsaklin Taliga
(Final year BSc Mathematics Student, University of Greenwich)