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STEM Women Success Stories - Amber Harrison and Sophia Cogan

STEM Women Success Stories - Amber Harrison and Sophia Cogan

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In Autumn 2020, we hosted 10 virtual events across the UK, Ireland, and Europe, introducing 133 exhibiting employers to 3,421 women studying STEM subjects. Following our events, many of the female attendees contacted us to tell us they had received offers for placements, graduate schemes, and roles.

We absolutely love hearing from our event attendees and wanted to share their success stories with everyone!

We caught up with Amber Harrison and Sophia Cogan, two STEM students who secured graduate roles after attending a STEM Women event in 2020!

Amber Harrison – Securing my dream graduate role at PwC after attending a STEM Women Event!

Amber is a 4th-year MChem student at the University of Manchester. In October 2020, she attended the virtual STEM Women Yorkshire, North West and North East England Event. Following the event, she secured a fantastic role with PwC, who exhibited at the event and delivered an employer talk. We caught up with Amber to find out more about how our event helped to secure her dream role.

Congratulations on securing a fantastic graduate role! What is the position you have accepted?

Thank you! I have accepted an offer to join PwC as a Graduate Associate in Digital Audit at their Manchester office in Autumn 2021.

How did you find out about the role?

During the STEM Women event, PwC hosted a live speaker session, and the representative discussed the different graduate roles available. I found myself interested in the technology and digital roles and was encouraged by the speaker to apply despite not having a technology background. This was a great opportunity to hear about a graduate’s first-hand experience in the company and made me feel motivated to apply. Previously, I had never dreamed of working for one of the Big Four without having an accountancy or finance background. I was really impressed by the sound of the community and team-based culture at PwC and the various progression opportunities that the graduate scheme could lead on to.

During the event, I started a webchat with a PwC representative and asked lots of questions about the roles available, what they involved and what a typical working day looks like at PwC, etc. All of the representatives were very friendly and helpful; no question was a silly question. I was encouraged to apply and guided through what the typical application process looks like. Most of all, it was very interesting to speak to someone who currently works in the role I was interested in and hear about their first-hand experiences and what they love most about working at PwC.

How was the application process?

The application process was quite short (around 2 months from application to accepting the offer) and was quite enjoyable! The first stage involved a series of games-based assessments which made me feel a bit more comfortable and less under pressure than the typical SJTs and numerical/verbal reasoning tests. The rest of the process involved interviews and centre assessments and at each point, there were recruiters available to contact if you had any concerns. It was my first ever centre assessment and I went into it very nervous and unsure, but I really enjoyed the day and met lots of friendly, like-minded people.

Did you know what kind of career path you wanted to take before attending the event?

Before the event, I felt a bit lost with regards to job applications. I have a chemistry background but knew I didn’t want to work in a lab or do a PhD like most of my other course-mates. In some ways, I felt like I had wasted my degree on a subject I didn’t plan on working within! I’ve always had a passion for technology and I’m currently taking a Nanotechnology unit at university, so I decided to look further into the technology graduate schemes available for my background. The graduate scheme I have chosen will allow me to explore my interest in tech and innovation, and also work towards various technology qualifications.

How did you find the STEM Women Event overall and would you recommend it?

I found the event super helpful and I am so grateful to everyone involved. I found it very insightful and had the opportunity to talk to women from lots of different industries and backgrounds. I learned about graduate jobs I had never even heard of before and was given advice about what to expect during the application processes. The event was very well organised and we were all made to feel very welcome, encouraged to ask questions and get involved by the host, Sophie.

I would recommend any students who are interested in the STEM Women events to register and attend, whether you know exactly what you want to do when you graduate or if you were like me and had no idea where to get started! It’s a great chance to speak to reps from lots of different companies and find out more about jobs you may not know even exist. It’s also really comforting to hear from speakers’ personal experiences and find out exactly what the roles available actually involve, which sometimes isn’t clear on a job description! Personally, one of the best things about the day was feeling reassured that I could be successful in an area outside of my degree discipline. I’m so grateful for this event and for all of the lovely speakers and organisers, I don’t think I would have achieved this if I hadn’t attended the event!


Sophia Cogan – Receiving an amazing offer for VMware’s graduate program following the STEM Women Ireland Event!

Sophia is currently studying Artificial Intelligence at the National University of Ireland Galway. Interested in starting her career within IT, she attended the STEM Women Ireland Event in November 2020. Following the event, she received an offer to start the graduate program with VMWare, a position she applied for during the STEM Women event. We had a quick chat with Sophia to find out more about how the event helped her find the perfect graduate program for her!

Well done on receiving your offer! Could you describe how you found the STEM Women event and how it helped you apply for the role at VMWare?

Thank you so much for hosting the event, I really enjoyed it and I am very happy with my offer! My profile had a very high percentage match on the jobs section, so after seeing that I attended the VMWare speaker session to learn more about the company. I found the speaker wonderfully passionate and before the talk had even finished, I had applied. I really liked the sound of the company and its products.!

Overall, the STEM Women event was very well organised, straightforward and easy to navigate.

How was the application process?

The application process was very quick! I had a job offer within 3 weeks of first applying.

Would you recommend that other students attend STEM Women events?

I would definitely recommend the event to other students. It introduces you to a number of wonderful companies you might not have heard of. It also gives you the opportunity to have a one on one discussion with people already employed in your desired field. Everyone throughout the event was super friendly and helpful.


Looking to follow in Amber and Sophia’s footsteps? Check out our STEM Women 2021 event listings and find your dream role.