25 Oct 2018
We spoke with Holly, Business Manager at BT, who in her second year on the Graduate scheme. She's also managing to find time to head up organising this year's Gradventure.
What’s been your favourite memory of the graduate scheme so far?
I’ve loved so many things about the graduate scheme – there is a huge graduate community all over the world and there are so many opportunities to meet new people depending on what your interests are. I loved the leadership week that all graduates get to do in their first year; we’re sworn to secrecy about what happens on it but it was one of the best learning experiences that I’ve had. One final thing I’ve really enjoyed this year; I got to volunteer as an elf at BT Tower for the Santa’s Grotto – this was so much fun, I got to spend lots of time appreciating the amazing views of London at the top of BT Tower and it was the perfect way to kick off the festive season!
What’s your role and what are day-to-day responsibilities?
I’m a business manager, supporting one of the Managing Directors in BT’s Global Services division. I help him to keep up-to-date with his actions and spend lots of my time working on various projects across different areas in his teams. This is a great graduate rotation because I’ve been able to learn about the entire global business that we have at BT from a high level, and I’ve been able to tailor the rotation to my interests. I work with different teams from marketing and internal comms, to sales, contract management and finance. It’s been a great way to learn about how all of the different parts of BT come together to make one big global team.
You’re heading up the next Gradventure for the 2018 Graduate intake. What does it entail?
Gradventure is the graduates answer to ‘giving back’. It’s part of the core development initiative for graduates as it’s a great way to build on leadership roles outside of rotations, as well as a chance to meet new people, take on a fun challenge and fundraise for a worthwhile cause. I’m leading the Gradventure committee this year. It’s been a personal challenge for me to lead something that is so big and core to the graduate scheme, but the achievements that we’ve had as a committee already are what’s made it worth it! Gradventure is split into two streams this year; Challengers and Fundraisers. The Challengers are made up of 100 graduates who will be embarking on a physical challenge in Wales next year. They will be starting with a 7km trail run through the scenic Welsh forests, before getting up and close with waterfalls in a canyoning challenge. The Fundraisers make up roughly 240 graduates from all over the world, who will be working in teams to reach their fundraising targets with the most creative and resourceful ideas that they can think of. It’s all about having fun, working with new people and getting creative.
What charities are you fundraising for this year?
We’re raising for Unicef this year. Unicef is one of BT’s partner charities, and we think that it’s a really worthwhile cause for graduates. In times of crises, education is the first priority that gets forgotten about, and yet this is what gives children and young people the skills they need to go out into the world. We’ve get access to so many learning resources and development opportunities at BT, so we really understand the value of education. Our target is £60,000 (wish us luck!) and this amount could go towards 375 of Unicef’s ‘school-in-a-box’, which provides the resources to teach at least 40 children in times of crisis. 375 of these could help around 15,000 children!
How do you find time to juggle your day-to-day role as well as lead the Gradventure committee?
Organisation and prioritising is key. I find it really helps to write down everything I have to do, as it’s out of my head and onto paper which gives me the time and space to really focus. I always prioritise the work in my day-to-day role and I make time for Gradventure around that. Lastly, I couldn’t do it without the fantastic committee around me – they’re all working really hard to pull this year’s Gradventure together and working with them is what makes it so much fun.
I hear you raised a significant amount of money on this year’s Gradventure? What were the highlights?
I raised just over £500 for my Gradventure challenge in June. I’ve fundraised before but Gradventure was different because we were going for such a big target and all doing it as a team. The challenge that I did was an open-water swim, a 5k coastal path run, and then a hike up Pen Y Fan (South Wales’ highest peak). A team of us did a bake sale and a Christmas tombola and this was great fun because we got to speak to so many people in our office that we would never have met otherwise.
Were there any challenges?
Fundraising always feels a bit daunting at first but I tried to do little and often, and found that once broken down into smaller chunks, it really wasn’t that bad. The hardest bit was probably getting started, as with anything! As for the challenge, I’m not a keen runner and I really underestimated how hard running across the sand would be, but right up until the end everyone was cheered over the finish line, which was really nice.
Any final comments to anyone thinking of joining BT as a graduate?
If you’re even considering it, just do it! BT is a great place to be a graduate and being in such a big company means that there are so many opportunities at your fingertips. There are so many people who have been with BT for 30-40 years and yet they’ve have had such varied careers and moved to different countries, different parts of the business and into completely different roles. It’s not often that a company can offer that experience, and that’s one of my favourite things about working here.
If you want to find out about other Grad stories click here