Emily-Louisa Siganos

Country: United Kingdom
Sector: Government
Job title: Trade and Agriculture Commission Secretariat
Subject of study: Mathematics
Year of graduation: 2020
Type/Level of study: Post graduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name

Department of International Trade

What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

During my final year of university I applied to the Civil Service Fast Stream and made it through to the final round which was the assessment centre. I unfortunately wasn’t successful at this stage but they said I performed well enough to be entered into the Direct Scheme. This is where I send them my CV and they match me to departments. If the department is hiring and they like my CV, they will then contact me directly. Upon leaving Exeter in July 2020 I was still applying to graduate schemes but I then received an email from the Department of International Trade about the role of supporting the Trade and Agriculture Commission. I thought the Commission’s work looked fascinating and so arranged an interview. The role was only for a fixed term but it has opened up many doors for me as I was able to apply internally to other jobs in the civil service and managed to secure a permanent contract within the department.

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

I wanted a career that was impactful and where I had the ability to make change for the greater good. So the civil service was the perfect chose for me. The high profile nature of the work is also a massive motivator and the constant engagement with stakeholders means the work is always adapting and interesting. No day is the same.

Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?

During my 4 years at Exeter I was a member of the longboarding society, the climbing club and the slacklining society. I was also part of the slacklining society committee for 2 years.

What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

The maths department offered so much help, I never felt alone. The breakfast sessions were a great way to bond with lecturers and ask any questions, I wish I attended them sooner. The lunchtime sessions also provided great help if I was struggling with problem sheets.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

I chose to study at Exeter as it was one of the best maintained and green campuses I had seen. The selection of modules on my course were also some of the broadest compared to other universities and covered the areas I wanted to study. I loved the history and size of the city, the closeness to Dartmoor and the sea too.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

I wouldn’t have progressed the way I did through graduate applications without the support I had from UpReach and the Exeter career’s service. UpReach introduced me to so many opportunities through their insight days at various organisations and their workshops on campus around preparing for interviews and using the STARR structure. The workshops in achieving the Exeter Award were also brilliant in helping me prepare for interviews too.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

Graduate applications are tedious and exhausting but you should never be put off by rejections. See every application you do as a learning experience. Reflect on the answers you prepared and the way you presented yourself and improve them for your next application. Take the time in interviews to breathe and think of your next answer. Reward yourself for taking the time to apply and be kind to yourself.


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