Meet the Careers Consultant - Stefan Couch
In this blog post, we asked Stefan Couch about his role as Careers Consultant at the School of Mathematical Sciences. He told us what he enjoys about working with students, as well as the 1:1 careers guidance appointments, the interactive group sessions and the many more career activities he is involved in, which all aim to help students improve their employability and future career options.
How long have you been working at Queen Mary University of London?
I have been working at Queen Mary for 18 months now. I have enjoyed supporting maths students with their future career needs. The questions and situations students present are varied, which certainly keeps me on my toes. I have also appreciated working with a number of staff members at the School who have demonstrated a keen enthusiasm and motivation while collaborating with me and the Careers and Enterprise team to improve students’ employability.
How do you support students?
My Careers Consultant role is quite varied. This can include seeing students for 1:1 careers guidance appointments, preparing and delivering interactive group sessions as well as presenting informative lectures, all with the aim of improving students’ awareness around how they can improve their employability and future career options. This means providing support directly to students but also working with a variety of people within and outside the School to ensure students have the opportunities to prepare and optimise their future next steps.
Do you work with academics, too?
Yes, I do work with academics and this is a very important aspect of my role. Ultimately, I want to ensure students understand the links between what they are learning and how this can be applied to their future next steps. Collaboratively working with academics provides the opportunity to create specific and tailored group sessions/lectures which are indirectly or directly relevant to what is being taught in a module. This is in addition to the key employability messages students need to hear at different times of their degree programme.
How can maths students benefit from the Careers and Enterprise team’s help?
Maths students can benefit in various ways from the support offered by the Careers and Enterprise team. Firstly, the support I provide, which is specifically tailored to maths students, includes bi-weekly e-newsletters containing a range of opportunities to gain work experience and improve employability and technical skills. My colleague Jon Strathdee and I worked together to update the ‘Maths Careers’ QM Plus page last summer and this contains a variety of careers resources available to maths students, such as ‘Career Guides’ tailored for each year of undergraduate and postgraduate study to help students answer questions like “What can I do with a Mathematics degree?” and “Where can I find work experience?”. In addition, Jon, Employer Engagement and Internships Coordinator, works with several different employers to provide maths students with specific work experience opportunities. Jon and I also collaborated on the latest 'Maths Alumni’ event, where several maths alumni answered questions and shared their own experience. This event was a great opportunity to inspire our maths students, who were able to see what future careers and employers they could work for. It also allowed them to increase their amount of professional connections. As well as specifically tailored careers and employability support, our wider Careers and Enterprise team offers a diverse range of online (and face-to-face, when we are able to again) services to suit all students. These include:
- Our "How to…" guides e.g. how to choose and book the right 1:1 appointment for your individual career-related needs
- "Our support" section providing specific support depending on your needs (as a graduate, BAME, an international student, student with a disability etc.)
- Jobs and Experience section, where you can find a variety of work-related opportunities (QM Careers Hub, QMentoring, QTaster, The Student Consultancy Project etc.). This also includes CV and Cover Letter resources, Psychometrics Practice tests platforms, resources to support you prepare and practice for interviews such as video interviews etc.
What would you recommend to students who are not sure about which path to take after graduation?
For any students facing this tough decision during these quite uncertain times, I would firstly say "please be reassured this is okay". Students are not alone as many of their peers are facing this challenge. I believe they should begin by arranging a careers guidance appointment. This would be either with myself or one of my Careers Consultant colleagues. This appointment will enable students to share their story and gain some more information, advice and (most importantly) the guidance they need from professionals who are qualified to support them. Students can also book follow-up careers guidance appointments in order to gain continuous support from me and the Careers and Enterprise team. Also, students can gain access to career services up to two years after graduation. Some more information about this can be found in our ‘Find Your Future’ section. I recommend students make use of this support and know we are here to empower them to a brighter, happier future.