Safa Masud – Project Coordinator (Planning)
Safa was on the first cohort of the Graduate Development Programme (GDP) in 2018. She came not knowing what to expect but worked hard and made the most of her opportunities and secured a permanent position in our Planning team.
The GDP really is the best stepping-stone for your career. A lot of jobs you get out of university don’t offer you the support, development opportunities and experience that this does.
I spent 4 years at NTU studying International Business, but when I graduated, I realised that I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I joined the GDP after receiving an email from the University saying they were looking for recent NTU graduates.
At university I learned so much about business theory, business strategy and all these kinds of things, but in terms of actual work-based skills and working with people, I learned nothing. In my time on the Programme I had the chance to develop those work-based skills and I have grown so much more than I ever thought possible. Also, at university you’re never taught how to deal with situations that go wrong or how to bounce back from failure. Working and going through the Programme taught me that failure isn’t a bad thing, rather it’s a development opportunity that can be used to make me a better professional.
The monthly workshops taught us skills which were so valuable to us all. We learned so much in terms of leadership development, how to be resilient, and loads of other things. All these skills can be put into practice whilst you’re here and can be transferred to any other company that you go to. They really give you a good foundation for your career. As a graduate, this development is something that you really need. You might have a degree, even some work experience, but you won’t have the level of personal development skills that the GDP can give you.
Upon completion of the Programme I was offered to come back to the department in a Project Assistant role. My current role at NTU requires supporting the development of a variety of strategic cross- university projects from beginning to end. This has required me to work with senior stakeholders across the University, including the Chief Operating Officer, Pro-Vice Chancellor, and Deans of Schools. I’ve had the opportunity to communicate my ideas and opinions to different levels of internal and external stakeholders, whether that’s in reports or at wider meetings with Schools and colleagues across the University.
Being part of the GDP gave me more of an understanding of Higher Education and working for a university. Before the Programme I’d never have thought of a university as a viable place to work – in my eyes it was just a place to go study. It’s been so insightful to see behind the scenes and understand the amount of work that goes into making the student experience here so good.
The GDP really is the best stepping-stone for your career. A lot of jobs you get out of university don’t offer you the support, development opportunities and experience that this does. I’ve loved being a part of the Programme and would recommend it to anyone who is looking to lay the foundation for their future career.