They’ve set up companies and student societies, raised thousands of pounds for charity, acted as brand ambassadors and organised conferences and events. Now they’ve been rewarded for their achievements by their success in the prestigious annual TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year competition and they’re off to a flying start in their careers.
The twelve Undergraduates of the Year 2017 were presented with their awards at a ceremony hosted by television presenter Konnie Huq in East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf last week. The prizegiving was attended by the 120 finalists – 10 in each category – who had been whittled down from almost 3,500 applicants. Awards up for grabs included Future CFO and the One to Watch as well as industry-focused categories such as engineering, each sponsored by an employer. The prizes included paid internships, trips abroad and meetings with senior executives.
Applicants were put through their paces by an assessment process consisting of three stages: an application and questionnaire, online situational, numerical and inductive reasoning tests, and an assessment in person with the sponsoring employer. Oliver Haddon, the winner of the Future Leader in Business award, said he would encourage students to take part: ‘I would definitely recommend applying for the awards. I’ve enjoyed every part of it and it’s really stretched and pushed me.’
Computer Science, IT and Physics Undergraduate of the Year Award
Sponsored by FDM Group
Kieran Stone is studying artificial intelligence and robotics at Aberystwyth University. He spent his third year working for Abaco Systems, creating automated tests for a manufacturing automation project, and regularly helped out at clubs at local schools to teach children the fundamentals of coding. He also founded the Aberystwyth Comics and Cartoons Society.
Construction, Engineering and Design Undergraduate of the Year Award
Sponsored by Laing O’Rourke
Matthew Welsh is studying civil engineering at Nottingham Trent University. He is a student brand ambassador for ICE (the Institution of Civil Engineers) and was involved in organising a guest lecture on the future of the industry given at Nottingham Trent University by Sir John Armitt, a fellow of ICE who lead the transport and venue developments required for the London 2012 Olympics.
Engineering Undergraduate of the Year Award
Sponsored by E.ON
Craig Stephen is studying mechanical engineering at Heriot-Watt University. In 2016 he secured scholarship awards from the Saltire Foundation and the Incorporation of Hammermen of Edinburgh, which he used to travel to Silicon Valley to intern for a health-tech start-up company developing life-saving medical devices. While there, he raised more than £1,000 for two charities by swimming from Alcatraz Island to San Franciso. He is also president of Heriot-Watt Boxing Club.
Female Undergraduate of the Year Award
Sponsored by Rolls-Royce
Trisha Saxena is studying physics with theoretical physics at Imperial College London. She is the organising chair of the UK Space Design Competition 2017, which involves around 800 students each year in designing space settlements based on briefs written by NASA engineers. She is also a member of the executive committee for UKSEDS, a national organisation that aims to increase student involvement in the space industry.
First Year of the Year Award
Sponsored by Barclays
Tai Lee is studying economics at Newcastle University. She is the vice president of AIESEC Newcastle, and leads the committee in helping young people benefit from personal development opportunities such as volunteering. She is also a team member of Enactus Newcastle, a project that aims to empower and transform communities by teaching entrepreneurship.
Future CFO of the Year Award
Sponsored by ACCA
Ekaterina Christova is studying economics at the University of Cambridge. She competes on the DanceSport team, is a member of the Bulgarian Society and does access work for her college and the university. She worked for Deloitte during her gap year and is now one of its campus ambassadors. This summer she will be working for Deloitte again and will also be teaching English in China.
Future Leader in Business Undergraduate of the Year Award
Sponsored by Mars
Oliver Haddon is studying business at the University of the West of England. He also works for a software company based in Bristol as a business development intern and during his time at university he has regularly trained and played national league rugby for Dings Crusaders. He has co-founded a marketing company that uses virtual reality technology and 360 degree cameras, along with two other students.
Undergraduate of the Year for Innovation Award
Sponsored by Deutsche Bank
Hannah Blair is studying computer science at the University of Surrey. She is currently on her placement year at The Walt Disney Company in London, and runs her own web development and design company outside of work. She is particularly interested in projects that combine creativity with technical expertise, such as developing mobile and web apps, and focuses on user interface and user experience design. She won a prize with The Hut Group’s Game of Code for her app idea and design.
Male Undergraduate of the Year Award
Sponsored by L’Oréal
Angus Gillan is studying ancient history at the University of Birmingham. He was elected secretary general of the Model United Nations (MUN) Society and ran IBUMUN 2017, one of the largest MUN conferences in the UK. He is a student representative on faculty committees and has been a brand ambassador for Virgin Media.
Management Undergraduate of the Year Award
Sponsored by Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Kirsten Alexander-McGarry is studying international business with modern languages at the University of Strathclyde. She is the youngest member of the board of directors at Glasgow Women’s Library and represents her university as a languages ambassador in schools across Scotland. She is also the social media manager for the Strathclyde Women in Business Society and helps to plan an annual international youth festival on the island of Iona.
Mathematics, Economics and Finance Undergraduate of the Year Award
Sponsored by Gazprom
Connor Vidal-Cocker is studying mathematics at the University of Reading. In his spare time he helps run an 11-a-side football team, which he also plays for. In 2014 he spent two weeks in Indonesia completing conservation work in the tropical rainforest and coral reefs, and qualified as a scuba diver. He raised £3,000 for Operation Wallacea, a conservation research organisation, by organising activities such as bake sales and quiz nights.
The One to Watch Undergraduate of the Year Award
Sponsored by First Names Group
Alex Stickler is studying economics and finance at Cardiff University. He sustained brain damage while playing semi-professional rugby, but has shown his resilience by flourishing academically and socially. He runs information sessions for first years in his role as a student mentor, and has completed the Cardiff Award alongside his degree to expand his commercial awareness.