Last month saw ULIP's first ever careers 'speed-dating' evening!
Organised jointly by the Student Services team and the Students Union, the event enabled BA students from all three yeargroups to spend the evening hearing from different ULIP alumni about their career paths. Taking inspiration from the speed-dating format, ULIP's lecture theatre was set out with a number of different tables, each hosted either by an alumnus or a recruitment specialist. This allowed students to move around the room at their ease, choosing who they wanted to talk with, depending on their interests and the questions they had. Hearing the personal stories of how fellow ULIPers had gone on to forge careers in and around Paris and listening to their top tips for those crucial first steps was a fantastic opportunity for our undergraduates.
Attendee and SU President Ellie Clutton, said:
The Careers Alumni Event was by far the most useful careers help I have received so far in my university experience! What made it so interesting was that everyone had come from the same starting point (ULIP) so it made their careers paths and choices seem more attainable to us! The best piece of advice I took from the evening was just to go for it, try a bit of everything and say yes - you never know where it could lead you!
We were particularly grateful for the support of our alumni in making this event happen.
If you are a ULIP alumnus and you'd like to be involved in future events, then please do get in touch by updating your contact details on our online form or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org with details of your full name (or the name that you used at ULIP), the programme you studied and the year that you graduated. We will be writing to all our alumni in the coming months about events happening at ULIP so don't miss your chance to hear from us and to get involved.
Featured alumnus profile
One of the alumni who helped out with our speed-dating careers evening was Daley Brennan (BA French Studies, 2010), a wine-merchant with two shops located in Paris. We talked to him about what he has been up to since leaving ULIP and how his degree has helped pave the way for his career progression to this point.
Could you tell us a bit about what your current role involves?
I oversee the running of the company. I do everything from buying and selling to HR and the accounts. My days are incredibly varied. I may have tasting days where I will sample a couple of hundred wines; I may do lots of admin; I get to sample restaurants in the name of “research"; I might be looking to recruit someone; it never stops! Each day is generally a little bit of everything.
How did you end up in your current position?
I bought the first shop after its previous owner suddenly passed away. The second one was created from scratch 11 months later. More generally speaking, working in wine came after undertaking an internship in a wine shop during my second year at ULIP. From then on I kept on working with wine in various guises alongside my studies.
Has your career undertaken any unexpected twists and turns?
Absolutely. My aim was to be a researcher and university lecturer. After ULIP I went to University College London to undertake a MSc in Linguistics and Neuroscience. Following that I came back to Paris to work at the Ecole Normale Supérieure as a research assistant. After that I was accepted onto a PhD at Queen Mary and it was a few terms into this that I realised that I wasn’t made to be an academic. I had always kept part-time work in wine going as a back up in case Plan A didn’t work out. As it happened, Plan B became Plan A and I came back to Paris to devote myself to wine full-time. I don’t regret pursuing cognitive science - it was a really enjoyable time and it still fascinates me to this day - because I just wanted to see how far I could go. I found out: not to PhD level!
How did your degree prepare you for life in the workplace?
The most important aspect of my job is not selling wine, it’s being able to communicate effectively. Of course, ULIP taught me the bricks and mortar of the French language but it also gave me a broad education in many different aspects of French culture. I’ll admit to wanting to fall asleep during History of Art lectures but I have actually used knowledge gained from that very course during my working day! Being able to talk with clients, even somewhat superficially, about art, literature, history and politics is a key element of retaining a varied customer base. People come into my place of work to relax, to talk, to prepare for a fun evening or a special meal. Being able to have a chat about something that interests them is a big part of the service. I definitely got a lot of that from my ULIP degree.