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Maz Islam - From IT graduate to prestigious Kingfisher graduate scheme

Maz embarked on a BSc in Information Technology in 2013 and is the first to admit that he got off to a bumpy start. He said: “I had got decent grades at school and college but found that this didn’t immediately translate to my first year at university. By the end of that year, I was just managing a scrape a 2:2 which was a bit of a wake-up call. I realised that I needed to make some changes if I was going to get the most out of my degree.”

Determined to push himself, Maz took up a summer internship in a sales role before returning to university for the second year. As well as taking him outside his comfort zone in terms of personal confidence, the position gave him a new focus. Maz said: “The sales environment attracts people who are very driven about achieving their targets. I was working alongside people who had a clear five-year plan and it helped me to become more intentional about what I wanted to achieve.”

The experience spurred Maz on to achieve a first in his degree, and also helped him to secure his second internship role – part of BU’s placements scheme - as a Business Analyst with Enterprise Rent-A-Car. He said: “The fact that BU has such a focus on placements was a big part of what attracted me to the university in the first place. The year with Enterprise Rent-A-Car was a great learning experience and continued to build my confidence and ability to work independently. When I got back to BU for my final year, I knew what I had to do to achieve my academic goals. I cut back on a lot of extra activities and socialising and spent a lot of time in the library. It paid off and getting my first felt like a great achievement.”

Having completed his studies, Maz travelled for a few months and took up an interim position in wealth management before applying for the next round of graduate schemes. He is now a graduate trainee with Kingfisher, the home improvement company behind retail brands B&Q and Screwfix. Maz is specialising in IT, while completing rotations across the company’s operations. He said: “I was keen to secure a place on a graduate scheme because it gives you the opportunity to try different areas of a business and discover your best fit. Even if you have an idea of the area you want to work in, it pays to spend time exploring other avenues and understanding more about how an organisation works.”