What do you do when you’re faced with the opportunity to relocate? Our grad Keran Roach tells us her thoughts and feelings surrounding her big career move.

Tell us who you are and what you do

I’m Keran, a Cyber Security Project Management graduate at BT. I graduated from Lancaster University with a Bachelor of Science Psychology degree. I studied Law for two years before realising a legal career was not for me. Though, during my time as a law student (where employability is drilled into you from day one), I had valuable career development experiences, including commercial awareness workshops and networking events. From these, I developed an ambitious hunger to work in the global business world as it really excites me.

To be honest, I’d forgotten about that corporate-career goal when I fell in love with psychology. It was such an interesting degree and I was passionate about becoming a clinical psychologist, until I attended a careers fair in my final year and met a Psychology graduate working at PwC. I didn’t realise that I could go back into the corporate world with a Psychology degree, she re-opened my eyes to a whole array of opportunities in a world I was once driven by. It was on my ‘graduate scheme’ hunt that I came across an interesting opportunity with BT, on my university careers page, which combined skills I’d learned in both of my degrees.

What was the recruitment process like?

I really enjoyed BT’s recruitment process. An initial CV and cover letter can be quite deterring after having already submitted 15+ applications for other roles, but I found myself becoming really intrigued by BT.

After the initial application were the online tasks, which compared to other recruitment processes, didn’t make me want to cry because of my lack of first-class mathematical and finance capabilities! The process was really inclusive and fun, which meant I didn’t feel tripped up at the first hurdle.

About a week later came the email about a video interview. I found this stage really daunting and kept putting it off. I’d practiced these before at university and knew I wasn’t very good at them, I much prefer a traditional in-person conversation with another human! My top tip for recorded-answer video interviews: use the time to prep, practice an answer in the first slot, let the timer keep running, watch the whole thing back, and smash it on your second and final chance!

When I received the email inviting me for an Assessment Centre I was in absolute delighted shock! ME?

I knew this was my time to shine, the grad scheme was within reaching-distance. I prepped myself over Christmas, intensely researching, planning and rehearsing. I was a nervous wreck that morning, but as soon as I walked into the waiting room, I met two other applicants and we just had the most casual chat about everything and anything. The graduate buddies who supervised us throughout the day were really great at putting us at ease.

I loved the Assessment Centre and the more the day went on, the more I really, really wanted the job. My first one on one interview was great, my interviewer (who is now my line manager) was lovely and the whole conversation felt so natural. The two tasks were a bit more challenging as it was less about me, and more about negotiation, persuading, team-work, business awareness etc. The unique part of this Assessment Centre was the opportunity to have a self-reflection talk with the interviewer at the end of the day. I found this really valuable in being able to discuss my weaknesses and room for improvement.

I had no idea how it went, I really enjoyed it and everyone was lovely, but I couldn’t believe my luck that I had even got that far. It came as a shock when I received a call the next day offering me the job! I think I screamed and almost cried in an ASDA car park. 

Tell us about your decision to re-locate for the role

The relocation came as a bit of a surprise, I had applied for Ipswich. My hometown is Bury St Edmunds, a lovely town with all my family and friends, just a 45 minute commute to Adastral Park. So, when I was offered the job in Cheltenham, I had to give it some thought - for all of 3 hours before I emailed back my excited acceptance! I had never been to Cheltenham before until I was looking for flats to rent. Despite my good geography, I thought it was much closer to the M25, but actually it’s much closer to Wales!

My thought-process in deciding to relocate:

  • Okay, so I’ve relocated to a completely new place before and it worked out fine, this would be just like that. This would just feel like moving away to university, except I’d be on a full salary and wouldn’t need to flat-share with messy noisy students
  • The grad scheme offers more than a 9-5 job, the social opportunities such as Gradventure and meeting new people really excited me. If I worked in Ipswich and commuted, I’d miss out a bit by commuting and still have the comfort blanket of being in my hometown. Whereas, if I moved to a completely new town where I knew no-one, I’d be forced to fully immerse myself in all the opportunities the graduate scheme has to offer - which I have done, I love, and have made some awesome friends already!
  • I could afford my own flat within walking distance to the office rather than living at home and commuting every day
  • I’d never really explored West England before, I’d heard it’s amazing and beautiful. This could be the start of a lovely future.
  • If I didn’t take a leap with this opportunity, I’d be back to square one and completely regret it
  • The job, the company, the opportunity was just too good to say no to!

Relocating for the role was the biggest risk and best decision I have ever made (after dropping out of a degree 2 years in). I’m so proud of myself for taking the leap, I’m really happy here in Cheltenham. I love my role, the people are so great and welcoming, I’ve made great friends, and I’m so excited for my future here. 

What would your advice be to potential candidates considering relocation?

  • Go for it! BT’s graduate scheme is an amazing kickstart to your career. Even if you only relocate for the graduate scheme then look for another opportunity in BT more local to you afterwards. Nothing is set in stone.
  • Starting a new job is a new chapter in life, but combining it with a new location, new friends, new flat etc, you’re really giving yourself a fresh start and a blank page. This whole experience has been really refreshing and worthwhile.
  • Push yourself out of your comfort zone, it’s where the magic happens! I knew I’d regret not relocating and declining the job more than I would ever regret relocating (which I don’t)! 

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