Bawani Chan: Assessment Centre for Business Analyst
Featured Success Stories
March 13, 2020
Bawani, from Malaysia
I am Bawani, I am from Malaysia. I am currently awaiting my Bar Professional training results, which will be released in November. I received my bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Hult and then I took a gap year after my LLB to gain some work experience in the legal profession.
I interned in a law firm for a year before enrolling in the BPTC in September 2018. This work experience has really helped me understand the actionable nuances of the legal profession - how do the lawyers put forth their arguments, how are defence or witness statements drafted.
The Transition from Malaysia to the UK
The journey from Malaysia to the UK was very daunting. This course is very different from a degree and extremely competitive too. You have a really packed schedule. But it opened up many opportunities for me and helped hone my competitive skills.
Were you aware about the visa sponsorship element of the job application process?
Bawani: I did know a little bit about the need for VISA. Even when you come from Malaysia to the UK to study you need a student VISA. And of course, it made sense that you cannot continue working in the UK on your student VISA. So I knew that you have to jump on to a Tier 2 VISA but I had no clue about how exactly the system works. I did not know that you have to go through so many different types of applications.
VISA: The Most Important Filter For All Applications
I only found the information about the Tier 2 VISA and everything that it entails in detail on the Student Circus website. My University, manchester Metropolitan University did give a short lecture on the same a while back.
I just happened to have stumbled upon Student Circus when googling Tier 2 Visa for international students in the UK. One of my seniors, Druga Kumar, also mentioned Student Circus as a platform that makes it easy to find jobs that will eventually also sponsor the VISA. I started using Student Circus. It made things really easy as it lists the companies that will definitely sponsor VISAs and the departmental division like Law, Business etc helps massively
I was invited for the assessment centre by many companies, including TPP Recruitment and JP Morgan Chase. These were in Business related jobs. I couldn’t find anything in my field and I was interested in exploring the Business related jobs as well.
‘The Application Process can be dauting'
The job application process was very difficult. Initially, I saw a lot of letdowns when I applied to companies and some of them declined the application or when some of them did not further my application to the next stage. I felt like giving up each time something like this happened. But as they say, the only time you really fail in life is when you stop trying, so I tried over and over again to secure something.
The process here in the UK is entirely different than the process in Malaysia too. In Malaysia, my qualifications can easily fetch me a job, but there you have a looming sense that there are hordes of people better than you. In Malaysia, there's also no process of Assessment centres or online tests. We just send an email along with a CV and a cover letter, and then show up for an interview.
Preparation, processes and timelines
The initial application can vary in the depth: some forms only asked for personal and educational details, while some others dug deeper by asking about the goals and motivations for applying, questions about the values of the company, among other things. You can get done with these forms within a day, but I think the tricky part is applying for jobs while also studying and preparing for the classes. I had to burn the midnight oil to complete these applications. The deadlines were reasonable - within 2 to 3 weeks but I have observed that it is better to send in an application as soon as possible.
From the applicant's point of view too, you wouldn't want to miss out on job openings - you lose out on one day and then the vacancies accumulate. Your best bet is to sit down and finish it in a couple of hours. It is usually the same questions being asked so once you get used to it, you can get done with it faster.
There are a few standard questions all companies ask: Why did you apply for this job? How did you hear about this job? What do you know about the role? So, you should do a little fleeting research on the same. You should also have a decent general knowledge of the field to be able to answer questions like, ‘where do you think technology will lead us in the next 10 years?' You have to know the main aims, goals and the business of the company you have applied to.
The first time I took the psychometric tests, the numerical reasoning and situational judgement tests, I thought I’d be able to do them without any hassle, and I took it very lightly. Turns out it needed a little more seriousness - I flunked the first time but then I realised I need to practice some mock tests before taking the tests again. Preparation is the key to really solve the tests.
Resources and tools used in the job hunt
My University, MMU, was very helpful. They have drop-in sessions for career advice for law students specifically on Thursdays. We are able to address our apprehensions and questions about the applications etc with the advisors there.
It was actually one of the career advisors who suggested that I should not be too stringent about securing a job in the legal profession only and that I should try for other fields like business and management. The practical way of securing a job right now is to stick to the fields where VISAs are easy to come.
I also found the CV reviews very helpful where I was suggested amendments for my CV to make it more recruiter-friendly.
Mock tests are available over the internet; I also engaged with my friends by asking them the questions from a situational judgement test to get diverse opinions and to be able to think out of the box. For the interviews, I practised in front of a mirror and I googled some basic interview questions and the best practices on answering them.
Advice to the incoming cohort of international students
My advice is to start early and do not wait till the last moment or till two or three months of the expiry of the student VISA. It is not an ideal situation for a company to offer you jobs when you only have a few months left on your student VISA.
Applying earlier means access to more opportunities, more practice and more scope to be able to make mistakes without massive consequences. Be open to all professions and fields, as long as it is suited to your aptitude.