UCL Careers


Find Your Future: careers tips and advice from alumni

Gain insight from UCL alumni on how to prepare for finding a job.

A panel event featuring multiple panelists sat together.

9 January 2023

As a student, it’s never too early to start thinking about your future career and how best to prepare for it. From gaining an internship to actively participating in student-led societies, there are many steps you can take now that will help you to advance your future. 

At a recent ‘Future UCL’ panel event, jointly organised by UCL Careers and the Alumni Relations Team, UCL graduates shared their first-hand experience of life at university and their top tips on how to use your time at UCL to make you stand out in a competitive jobs market. 

Following the event, we caught up with three of our alumni panellists, Wei Yu Chan, Alisha Ciaffone and Sabelle Astrid Adjagboni to learn more about their career journeys so far.  

A portrait image of UCL alumni Wei Yu Chan.

Wei Yu Chan, Analyst at Citi

Wei Yu Chan is a 2nd year Treasury and Trade Solutions (TTS) Analyst at Citi in the EMEA regional office in London. He is currently part of the Client Experience and Billing team working on a global data-led cash management repricing initiative. Wei Yu graduated from UCL in 2020 with a BSc in Neuroscience.  

How did your degree benefit your career? 

Having done a degree in Neuroscience, what I studied mightseem almost irrelevant to what I am doing now in Finance. Well, I can confidently say that is not true at all. A key part of my degree involved looking through numerous scientific papers and content, and drawing parallels and contrasts to form key themes. Three years of this equipped me with a deconstructive yet analytical approach to problem solving, which is a skill that I use every day. 

On reflection, what do you wish you had done, or been told, before starting UCL? 

Go out and get involved, do things and meet people! UCL is full of amazing societies, people and resources, and the only thing keeping you from that is taking the first step and getting involved. Personally, I only started doing so in my second year, and if I have any regrets, it would be to not have done so earlier. 

A portrait image of UCL alumni Alisha Ciaffone.

Alisha Ciaffone, Crisis Management Officer at US Department of State

After studying her undergraduate degrees in economics and theatre from American University, Alisha pursued a master’s in International Public Policy at UCL, graduating in 2019. Currently, Alisha is a Crisis Management Officer in the Operations Center at the US Department of State in Washington DC, working as the executive secretariat for the Senior Committee on Risk Evaluation. 

How did you get your first graduate job? 

I interned at the US Embassy in London over the summer while working towards my dissertation.Working at the Embassy helped me gain hands-on experience in international affairs and foreign policy. This experience on my CV and a recommendation letter from the Embassy allowed me to stand out when I applied for the position. 

Is there any advice you would give to UCL students on how they can stand out in the jobs market and any tips for their first graduate role? 

Whilst at UCL, make sure you join societies, connect beyond your peer group, and build interpersonal relationships with your tutors and professors as well. 

I would recommend that your first job is at an organisation with a strong reputation so you can build solid career foundations.  Make sure you have great relationships with your first managers. These individuals will be the ones writing your recommendation letters in the future and will facilitate pathways to more senior positions as your career advances. 

A portrait image of UCL Alumni Sabelle Astrid Adjagboni.

Sabelle Astrid Adjagboni, Planning Officer at Haringey Council 

After graduating, Sabelle initially went on to work as an Assistant Planner with a private firm, Resi. She is now currently a Planning Officer for Haringey Council in London. After studying Architecture and Landscape at the University of Sheffield, she later came to UCL to study an MSc in Urban Development and Planning at The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, graduating in 2021. 

What would be your top tip to give to UCL students on how they can use their time at the university to help with their employment prospects? 

In terms of finding a job after you finish your studies at UCL, I would recommend doing a bit of research every week so that you don’t get overwhelmed by the whole process. Use all the resources available to you, particularly the UCL Careers Service. Going to networking events and volunteering will really help to make you stand out and make you visible to employers. And make sure you start applying for roles as soon as you know what it is you want to do. 

Keep improving your CV, send it to anyone you know with more experience than you and ask for their feedback. The better my cv became, the more interviews I secured! It’s really about telling the story of your academic and career journey in a succinct and captivating way. 

How did you learn to network and do it well? 

The only way to learn is by simply doing it! Unfortunately, there is no magic trick. What’s the worse that can really happen? What you’ll find in fact is that most people are very happy to share their knowledge to help younger and less-experienced people. In your approach, just be very respectful and friendly – being authentic will allow you to connect on a personal and professional level.