Attention: You are using an outdated browser, device or you do not have the latest version of JavaScript downloaded and so this website may not work as expected. Please download the latest software or switch device to avoid further issues.

News > Old Berkhamstedian News > Night at the Employability and Entrepreneurism Networking Dinner

Night at the Employability and Entrepreneurism Networking Dinner

As university applications, interviews and the hunt for apprenticeships commence, Michaelmas term can be daunting for sixth formers. To offer some reassurance, some of our recent alumni were invited back to the School for an Employability and Entrepreneurism Networking Dinner. While the teachers and careers team are always on hand to give specialist advice to the  students throughout the year, there is no better way to learn about starting your career than hearing the success stories of those who were in the same position a few years ago.

The night started with networking and beverages as sixth formers, OBs and teachers mingled. Although the evening had just started, students wasted no time in asking the OBs for career advice. “It isn’t easy securing your first grad job, what advice would you give to make the process easier?” asked a Year 13. The OBs gave varying suggestions, offering tips like “know the company’s values” to “get as much experience as you can while you’re at university”.

Soon after, the students and OBs took their seats. Alex Fage (Reeves, 2014) gave the first speech telling everyone how he had “really messed up the first task” at an assessment centre, but that he had kept going and was offered the job despite the mistakes he made. Each table had at least two OBs who eagerly offered their advice to the students. As introductions were shared and starters were devoured, students took Mr Walker’s advice to “ask as many open questions as you possibly can!”

While enjoying a three-course meal and chatting, some interesting conversations emerged about careers and job interviews. “What do you do if a job interviewer throws you a curveball question?” asked one Year 12 to which keeping calm and asking the interviewer to clarify was the answer.

Throughout the evening, OBs gave inspiring speeches. Students heard from Izzie Hurst (Nash, 2017) who started a clothes-swapping business, Dopple, alongside her sister Samantha (Nash, 2018)  who also attended the event. Izzie’s advice to the Sixth Formers? “Bragging on Linkedin is sometimes necessary and a great way to build contacts”. One student was particularly inspired by Izzie’s drive, saying “I’ve had a few business ideas that I would like to develop and talking to Izzie has shown me that it’s an attainable goal”.

Angus Hardy (Churchill, 2013), co-founder and CFO of Holibob, told the students about his adventurous journey from starting a company in his flat to becoming a successful entrepreneur with a multinational company; he is now listed on the “Forbes 30 under 30.” He encouraged students to believe that it is possible to break through glass walls if you are passionate and determined to follow your dreams. Highlighting the importance of humility, he told the students over dinner that he only knew 2% of what he needed to know when he started out, if that, but what he did know was that networking and finding other people who are willing to help you are key to success.

Jonny Sobczyk (year of 2004), former CEO of ‘The Brilliant Club’ and a social entrepreneur told the students that when he had given to others, he had always ended up getting more out of it than he had imagined at the start of the process. His message about altruism resonated with students and the school value of serving others.

Dan, a Year 13 politics enthusiast who dreams of one day leading the country as Prime Minister, was curious about the opportunities for debate at university. In response, OB Oli Francis (Reeves, 2004) informed Dan of the importance of joining societies where there is ample opportunity for leadership and debate.

Before dessert, it was time to hear from Megan Evans (Hawks, 2017) who promised to keep her speech short as the cheesecake was on its way! In her inspiring speech, Megan reassured pupils that if things don’t go to plan, it is sometimes meant to be. “I didn’t get the A-levels I expected, but I got into a great university". She now leads a large team at British Airways after completing their BA Future Leaders Graduate Programme - "Sometimes you just have to go with the flow and trust that things will fall into place”.

The event was a great success, when asked about their evening, sixth formers said:

“It’s so important that we get to have these conversations with really successful people”.

“I now want to attend more events like these where I can network with inspiring people, it has been really helpful”.

A huge thank you to all the OBs who attended the event: Adam Nickless (School, 2007), Alex Nisbet (year of 2019), Liv Dryden (School, 2009), Will Barnes (year of 2020), Joe Tang (Churchill, 2010), Bo O'Neill (Burgh, 2017), Jack Groves (year of 2015), James Boulter (year of 2006), Ziyi Zhu (School, 2015).  It was greatly appreciated by the sixth formers who left feeling reassured and excited about the professional world that lies ahead.

If you would like to watch the 5 speeches, click on this LINK

If you would like to watch the table interviews, click on this LINK 


Photo gallery

To view this News Article

Similar stories

Have your say

This website is powered by