Graduate Success Stories: Natalie Tirant
BA (Hons) Business Economics graduate Natalie Tirant, Head of Partner Propositions, Payments at Barclaycard tells us about her time at UWS and advice for recent graduates.
Tell us about your time at UWS
I applied to UWS originally for BA (Hons) Social Sciences but after my first year I recognised my passion for Economics dwarfed the other subjects so I changed my degree to Business Economics. The University team and lecturers were incredibly supportive, and ensured my decision was as informed as possible. What I loved most about my time at the University was using it as a place to really get under the skin of my subject with my friends. I was so lucky to meet some amazing students who were as passionate about Economics as I was – we would book the group rooms to put theory in to practice and work through graphs and models, and we would always aim to make a day out of studying together and supporting each other.
“I wanted to make my most out of my time at UWS so I would put myself forward for anything which I thought would be a good fit and help me develop in preparation for graduating.”
Natalie Tirant, BA (Hons) Business Economics 2011
Tell us about your experiences since leaving the University
A few months after graduating I relocated to Cambridge, UK and started a graduate scheme with a global CAD software company in the oil and gas sector. The graduate scheme extended to two years and provided the opportunity to work across Product Strategy, Marketing, Sales, and Commercial Management. This experience led me to join the Commercial Management team upon completion where I stayed for one year before being internally head hunted to lead a team within the newly created Sales Operations group. All the presentation skills I worked on during my time at UWS led me to be asked to present to an audience of 360+ sales colleagues at our global conference in Vienna which to date is still the scariest thing I have ever done! After leading the team for a couple of years I decided I wanted to try out something new and that’s how I landed with a veterinary company focusing on telemedicine. The company was very small, still relatively new to market and very different from my first employment experience. I lasted here around 6 months and realised I preferred being in larger organisations so without a second thought I applied for Barclaycard Strategy and Insights. It was a tough process involving phone interviews, 1:1 interviews and presentations to show you did your homework on the company and the market trends, but all the work with the UWS careers team for Saltire really helped make this a lot easier to plan and I felt much more in control. I have been at Barclaycard for 5 years and during this time have had upward progression to Vice President level and switched roles to Partnerships Propositions.
What advice would you give to current students?
Looking back now, I think I would say focus more so on the organisation you feel passionate about rather than the job role itself. If you are passionate about the company, they offer a great work life balance and are really employee focused, you will be more driven to identify opportunities within the company that may not be the role you started with.
Did you engage with the Careers Service at UWS?
In changing my degree, I was exposed to new opportunities such as the Saltire Foundation (now referred to as Entrepreneurial Scotland) where I was supported by the Careers team to apply for a once in a lifetime internship opportunity with big names across a variety of industries and countries. The interview process span across multiple stages involving speed and 1:1 interviews, applications and cover letters until eventually getting the exciting call that I’d been successful in landing an amazing opportunity working in the Compensations and Benefits Analysis team in DHL Singapore.
If any, what reservations did you have before taking part in these activities?
I wanted to make my most out of my time at UWS so I would put myself forward for anything which I thought would be a good fit and help me develop in preparation for graduating. This didn’t stop the feelings of imposter syndrome, especially when applying for the Saltire internship. I felt very insecure I would be good enough, was anxious that changing my degree showed me as potentially being indecisive, and I had a lot of “what if” scenarios going around my head that I very nearly didn’t apply.
How did you overcome these?
Working with the UWS careers team helped me to get around this by putting down on paper all the things I was involved in which would support my case as to why I should be interviewed and what I could uniquely bring to the opportunity. It was something I would never have been able to complete myself but with the careers team guidance and structure it was a very rewarding exercise.
How have these experiences helped improve your employment prospects?
The experiences with the UWS careers team have highlighted how important it is to use these facilities during and beyond University. To this day I still engage with the Careers Coaching team at Barclays who provide support in CV building, career planning and all topics around personal development.
When going to an interview or preparing a cover letter I use the skills passed from my experience preparing for the Saltire opportunity and it always helps me to feel much more in control of my application.