#FridayFeeling: Women Revolutionising the Food Industry

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As student enterprise & start up week comes to a close, celebrate these awesome women who are bossing it in the food industry!

Read on about these 15 badass girl bosses who will give you serious #girlsquad goals.

Keen to start your own enterprise? Come by the Careers Zone in SL62, Paul Webley Wing where we’re on hand to talk ideas out with you and offer practical advice to get things started.

Alexis Fromageot

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Insight From Your Fellow Student: Wok’ing Across Britain with FUN:) Healthy Chinese Cuisine Ambassadors

As part of our Student Insight blog series, Eliot Gee, MA Anthropology of Food (graduating 2017) discusses their time interning at Ming-Ai (London) Institute. 

A few months ago, I wouldn’t have expected to find myself standing in front of a dozen British teenagers at 9am on a Tuesday, explaining how to make sure a wok is hot enough to add oil (“Not olive oil; we want just enough neutral cooking oil to keep your protein from sticking”)… but now, it’s another day on the job!

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The FUN:) Project visits schools across the U.K., inviting students to participate in quick, easy, and healthy cooking workshops. Since joining this summer, I’ve found that the work nicely complements my MA dissertation; my research interviews examined how Chinese food is perceived by migrants (specifically, how social and physical wellbeing are linked to food and generational memory), while classroom visits through FUN:) have shown me the day-to-day reality of Chinese food from the perspective of British schoolchildren.

Although South Asian food has been incorporated into the mainstream British taste at both high and low levels of cuisine, knowledge about Chinese food remains surprisingly limited beyond the performative fields of  Chinatown and TV cook shows. Likewise, students’ understanding of Chinese immigrants’ culture and history is limited; most don’t know there was any “relationship” between Britain and Hong Kong. Therefore, it’s been inspiring to see how projects like FUN:) help challenge the negative takeaway association surrounding Chinese food. Offering students the knowledge, taste, and skills to feel comfortable cooking simple Chinese dishes at home is a first step towards broadening their horizons and encouraging more meaningful discussion about the diversity of Chinese cuisine and culture. For example, during our presentation we ask students to guess why Cantonese food might be over-represented in the U.K.

Last year, FUN:) conducted 70 student demonstrations, visiting schools across London and as far away as Wales, Manchester, and Colchester. Cooking in so many kitchens with all different students is always fun (let’s be honest, there are plenty of puns thrown around. The name is supposed to reflect the Chinese word for rice)! Some students have never used a wok before, so even a simple stir-fry is an entirely new experience for them. At recent trip to a special needs school, I helped a boy who was too nervous to initially approach the hot wok… but by the end of an hour, he had cooked a brilliant kungpao chicken to bring home to his family. Compared to my prior experiences teaching language and history in Asian schools, I’ve found it very rewarding to see how hands-on activity can ground even the most “difficult” students and give them something to be proud of. This is in no small part due to the encouragement of their teachers, who are unfailingly friendly and generous with their time, and tea!

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We also stay busy hosting free Teacher Training Workshops that encourage teachers to become “cuisine ambassadors” on our behalf, with the bonus opportunity of a cooking skills competition. FUN:)’s sponsor, the sauce brand Lee Kum Kee, invites the winning trio of teachers to Hong Kong and China, where they learn more about the food culture and exchange techniques at a culinary school. I can testify that this year they ate to their hearts’ content, since I had to edit all of the video footage upon their return!

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Despite its wide reach, the project is very small, which means there is always a range of work to be done. Currently there are only two of us at the FUN:) office! Kelly, the project coordinator and a SOAS graduate, has been with the project for over a year and does a terrific job setting up demonstrations & workshops, and developing lesson plans (among a couple hundred other tasks). Much of my time has been devoted to updating our photo, video, and presentation material. I filmed, edited, and am currently uploading and writing descriptions for a series of cooking skills videos, available on our newly formed YouTube page for students and teachers. We are also rebooting our web presence– website, Instagram, Facebook– to best connect with interested would-be cooks.

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FUN:) operates as part of Ming-Ai (London) Institute, located in North London. A perk of joining FUN:) is that Ming-Ai offers connections to many segments of the British-Chinese community, hosting events at our building that include calligraphy, talks, and language courses. Other projects include spreading knowledge about British-Chinese Armed Forces Heritage, and a MA Program in Chinese Cultural Heritage Management (through Middlesex University). It’s probably no surprise that many people who work here have passed through the SOAS China Institute at one point or another.

Despite being a relatively small organization, Ming-Ai has worked with high-profile groups and celebrities. FUN:) has connections with famous chefs Ken Hom, Ching-He Huang, and Andrew Wong, among others. Recently we helped with the Hong Kong Intangible Culture Festival, hosting Michelin-star dim sum chefs from Hong Kong at the Crowne Plaza to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival, and are initiating an upcoming series of talks, cooking and paper-making workshops as part of a cultural exhibition next month at China Exchange (tucked away in the center of Chinatown).

For anybody interested in British-Chinese food culture, or building connections between the Chinese community and British schools, I strongly encourage looking into Ming-Ai’s opportunities. Both FUN:) and the British Chinese Armed Forces Heritage Project are eager to have students join in either part-time or volunteer capacities. Head here for all the details!

Eliot Gee

Please note that the views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not those of SOAS Careers Service. If you consider this content to be in breach of the SOAS values, please alert careers@soas.ac.uk.

#MondayMotivation: Student Enterprise & Start Up Week

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Got an awesome idea you can’t wait to let loose on the world? Fancy working for a star up making a real change to an industry? This week at SOAS Careers is your chance to find out more about student enterprise and start ups!

Come by the Careers Zone in SL62 to speak to us about best we can help you on your way, take a look at the awesome resources and meet some incredible employers…

Mon 13 Nov, 4 – 5:30pm, Careers Seminar Room (SL62): Whommies – How to Launch a Start Uphttps://careers.soas.ac.uk/leap/event.html?id=39&service=Careers+Service

Tue 14 Nov, 5 – 6:30pm, Careers Seminar Room (SL62): Kappu – How to Hack the British Job Markethttps://careers.soas.ac.uk/leap/event.html?id=57&service=Careers+Service

Wed 15 Nov, 3 – 4:30pm, Careers Seminar Room (SL62): Start-up Alumni Speed Networkinghttps://careers.soas.ac.uk/leap/event.html?id=163&service=Careers+Service

Get involved!

Alexis Fromageot

 

#FridayFeeling Guest Blog: ‘Tea, Cake and Ambitious Futures’

Guest blog from Tom Fryer, who is the Ambitious Futures Graduate Trainee at SOAS for 2016/17.

Please note that the views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not those of SOAS Careers Service. If you consider this content to be in breach of the SOAS values, please alert careers@soas.ac.uk

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Few people can resist an email with a subject line referring to both ‘Tea’ and ‘Cake’, but it wasn’t just my stomach that led me to Ambitious Futures. A quick glance around the website and I was instantly intrigued at the prospect of seeing how universities function from a staff perspective – or perhaps it was simply that a graduate programme in the field of Higher Education seemed a tad more interesting than the Foucault reading assignment on my desk. The idea of working on three placements over 15 months sounded like a great way to pick up a broad range of skills. Plus, getting to grips with three projects over such a short period seemed the perfect test of my oft-repeated cover letter claims to tenacity!

A couple of months later, I found myself navigating an application and phone interview, before attending an assessment day run specifically for the SOAS Ambitious Futures programme. The day at SOAS had been carefully planned to try to simulate activities that Ambitious Futures Graduate Trainees are faced with on a regular basis, from negotiations in meetings, to drafting proposals. I know that ‘assessment day’ doesn’t exactly scream ‘fun’, but there was something about the practical focus (none of those damned logical reasoning tests) and constant interaction with other candidates that made the day pretty enjoyable.

One thing that has continued to stand-out across the application, interviews and orientation for Ambitious Futures, is the emphasis on personal development. As part of the programme everyone works towards a management qualification, ILM Leadership and Management Level 3, which is a great opportunity to reflect a little more deeply on management and workplace dynamics. More importantly, this qualification is taught through Learning Sets, or meetings with six other Ambitious Futures Graduate Trainees from other universities in and around London (if Oxford really counts as ‘in and around London’). This seems to be a great way to learn, as we’re all likely to experience similar challenges in our new work, but also it’s an amazing chance to get to know a bunch of other people who are passionate about contributing to the transformative work of universities.

For more information and to apply, visit the Ambitious Futures website.

Tom Fryer, SOAS Ambitious Futures Graduate Trainee (2016/17)

#MondayMotivation: Graduate Scheme Week

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Final year got you toying with the idea of graduate schemes? SOAS Careers is here to help!

This week we’re taking a look at everything to do with those notorious programs. Come by the Careers Zone in SL62 to take a look at the really relevant resources we’ve got all about flying through the recruitment process, and drop by to get insight into how we can best support you.

Take a look as well at the awesome employers we’ve got coming on to campus to talk to you!

Wed 1 Nov, 2 – 5pm, Atrium (Paul Webley Wing): Bright Scholar: https://careers.soas.ac.uk/leap/event.html?id=35&service=Careers+Service

Wed 1 Nov, 5:30 – 7pm, Careers Seminar Room (SL62): Bright Scholar Presentation: https://careers.soas.ac.uk/leap/event.html?id=37&service=Careers+Service

Wed 1 Nov, 6:30 – 8:30pm, Cloisters, Paul Webley Wing: SOAS’ Dragons’ Den: https://careers.soas.ac.uk/leap/event.html?id=129&service=Careers+Service 

Thu 2 Nov, 3 – 4:30pm, Careers Seminar Room (SL62): Civil Service Alumni Panel: https://careers.soas.ac.uk/leap/event.html?id=119&service=Careers+Service

Thu 2 Nov, 5 – 6:30pm, Careers Seminar Room (SL62): PwC: Applications and Interviews Skills Session: https://careers.soas.ac.uk/leap/event.html?id=159&service=Careers+Service

 

Alexis Fromageot

#FridayFeeling: Join the Team at SOAS

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Happy Friday! Graduated recently and miss being in the midst of the incredible world of SOAS? 

Good news: SOAS Careers is looking for a recent SOAS graduate to act as a graduate intern for the rest of the academic year (till the end of July).

Your role would be to work with the Events and Internships team to support activity in sourcing interesting employers to come onto campus or for our students do do internships. For more information, take a look at the Job Description.

If you are interested, please complete this Google form and send us a copy of your CV to careers@soas.ac.uk by midday on Wednesday 1 November.

Interviews will be held on Tuesday 7 November

Looking forward to hearing from you! 

Alexis Fromageot

3 Ways You Can Shine at Careers Fairs

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Attending a careers fair is one of the most valuable things to do at university, when you’re thinking about your next steps. To avoid common mistakes at the next SOAS careers fair, here’s 3 quick and easy tips to help get the most benefit from attending.

1 – Research who the employers at the fair are, before you attend
Come to the fair knowing who you want to speak with, as you might waste time and energy speaking with employers that don’t interest you. Rather than going to see all the employers, have a read through their online content like websites, social media and industry related sites. Then decide which employers appeal to you the most, and therefore who you want to speak with at the fair.

2 – Think about what information you want to get out of the fair
To stand out and make an employer want to engage with you further, plan out the questions that specifically address what you want to find out. Once you know which employers you want to speak with, think about what you already know from your research, and what gaps are there.

Employers are always more impressed by somebody who has prepared what they want to ask and therefore already engaged with who they are. It really helps you to make a positive first impression, and you’re also more likely to have a great conversation with the representative at the fair.

3 – Be positive when you communicate
Attending a careers fair gives you the chance to have a conversation with a recruiter or alum from each respective employer. It’s worth thinking about the details of how you can make a great impression on them and leave them wanting to hear more about you. This isn’t simply a vague statement of how to sell yourself, but rather thinking more specifically about how you present yourself.

Have a think about how you phrase questions so that you’re enabling a conversation rather than getting yes/no answers. Try to convey confidence with your body language, by having a firm handshake where appropriate, maintaining eye contact and having a good posture. Listen to what the alum or recruiter is saying, and try to highlight some of the experiences or skills that you have when they’re mentioned. It’s helpful to keep a focus on positive language. If you haven’t got a particular type experience or skill that they’re looking for, ask them for example of how you might demonstrate and develop those skills. You’ll be surprised at how simple some of the suggestions might be.

Lastly, don’t highlight weaknesses to the employer. Doubting yourself will not help you make a positive first impression. Think about what you have achieved so far and also focus on your goals.

Focusing on these will hopefully frame your experiences and ambitions in a positive way, which will help you to present yourself more enthusiastically to a potential employer.

Jai Shah, Careers Consultant

#MondayMotivation: Public Sector Week

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Fancy changing the world? This week at SOAS Careers is all about life in the Public Sector! Come along the Careers Zone in SL62 to meet a massive range of employers from the Public Sector, and get some really pertinent advice about taking your next steps in that direction.

 

Not interested in the public sector? Don’t even worry – pop by SL62 and we can talk through anything else to do with your next steps.

Mon 23 Oct, 3 – 4:30pm, Careers Seminar Room (SL62): NHS Assessment Centre Game: http://bit.ly/2gAOZrh

Wed 25 Oct, 11:30 – 12:30pm, Careers Seminar Room (SL62): Premier Pathways Presentation: http://bit.ly/2itZpJZ

Wed 25 Oct, 1 – 4pm, Cloisters, Paul Webley Wing: Public Sector & Teaching Fair: http://bit.ly/2gAfoWc

Thu 26 Oct, 11 – 12pm, Careers Seminar Room (SL62): Shanghai Meiji Presentation: http://bit.ly/2laKG7y

Thu 26 Oct, 1:20 – 2:30pm, Careers Seminar Room (SL62): JET Presentation: http://bit.ly/2gvIJNX

Thu 26 Oct, 2:30 – 3:30pm, Careers Seminar Room (SL62): DAIWA Presentation: http://bit.ly/2zvLRAR

Get involved!

Alexis Fromageot

#FridayFeeling: 5 Things To Avoid Saying in an Interview

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Got a big interview lined up? Did you know that you can have a practice interview with one of the really skilled Careers Consultants in SOAS Careers? Just drop by the Careers Zone in SL62, Paul Webley Wing and we’ll let you know how to organise it.

In the meantime, here’s some pertinent advice Lord Sugar’s sidekick in The Apprentice, Claude Littner about what you should never say in a job interview.

TL;DR –

  1. Nail the basics – they matter
  2. Take your pulse from the interviewer
  3. Don’t be too friendly
  4. Don’t walk out in a rush
  5. Don’t compare yourself to other candidates.

Alexis Fromageot

Kick Start Your Business with up to £5,000 cash prizes up for grabs!

Get your business idea up and running by entering the SOAS Dragons Den Competition!

The competition gives you the chance to pitch for a prize of up to £250 in SOAS.  Plus the winner also gets to pitch at the central University of London competition with a chance of winning a prize of mentoring from Michael Hayman MBE, founder of Start Up Britain, Seven Hills (communications consultancy) and presenter of The Capital Conversation, London Live, plus there’s cash prizes worth up to £5000 to be won.
Please be aware that this competition is only open to students/graduates with business ideas who are not actively trading.
To apply, follow this link.
The deadline for application is 12noon on Friday 27th October.

Jai Shah, Careers Consultant