Twelve months on: the HR graduate making an impact

Twelve months on: the HR graduate making an impact

A year after graduating, Isla Murray speaks to us about her career journey so far and how LJMU helped to set her up for success.

Isla was filmed a year ago at gradation. Listen to her talk about her course and gaining a place on a graduate scheme with Diageo.

Here at LJMU, we like to stay in touch with our talented alumni. We don’t see graduation as the end of the journey but rather as a new beginning. That’s why we make it our business to keep up to date with what our graduates get up to, long after they’ve thrown their caps into the air.

In the first of our ‘Twelve months on’ feature series, we caught up with Isla Murray who graduated from LJMU in 2019 with a BA (Hons) degree in Human Resource Management with CIPD accreditation. Isla tells us how far she’s come in the last year since graduating – expanding on her move to London, the graduate scheme she has enrolled in and her plans for the future… 

“The first thing I will say about graduation is that time completely flies after it! The last twelve months have gone so quickly and there’s been a number of significant shifts in my life since finishing university. Before graduating I managed to secure my place on a graduate scheme with the multinational beverages company Diageo, so this definitely helped to give me some structure after university and keep up the pace! It also took the pressure off the final months of my degree, so I was lucky in that sense.”

The graduate scheme at Diageo saw Isla make the move from Liverpool to London after finishing LJMU. She tells us what this was like:

“A dream of mine had always been to live in London, so when I went through the process of Diageo's London graduate assessment centre, I knew I was meant to be there. Receiving the offer phone call while enjoying breakfast with friends in Moose Coffee (a fantastic place!) was a real pinch me moment. I felt as if all of my hard work at LJMU had paid off.”

When it comes to her new place of work, Isla is full of praise about her graduate employer and the opportunities they have opened up to her already:

“Diageo is a vast company full of opportunities and I would highly recommend their graduate scheme to anyone looking for something that challenges you straight out of university. From day one I’ve been given the freedom and flexibility I need to be innovative. My first year was spent in a frontline HR Coordinator role, one which required a lot of patience and gave me a breadth of experience across multiple areas of the business. In this role you are highly trusted and respected and your input is very much encouraged, which I’ve found has been key to my development.”

However, Isla also acknowledges that the transition from university into the graduate working world is not always an easy one and often requires just as much hard work:

“What has become clear to me in the last twelve months is that the move from being a student into the world of corporate business requires a shift in self-awareness. Not necessarily either a positive or negative shift, there just needs to be a noticeable change in your approach and mentality. One of the main things you notice after you graduate is that your routine is no longer set out for you, so for a while you have to find your own way again. It takes a lot of time and energy to adapt to a new life of full-time employment. It’s a very different way of living, especially for the first few months when you are changing most, learning everything and adapting to the timings of your new routine. It’s important to prepare yourself for this in the run-up to starting any new graduate role. Above all else, remember to also be kind to yourself while going through this transition.”

Reflecting on her time at LJMU, Isla explains how her university experience has helped to shape her and her future:

“LJMU gave me experiences I never could have imagined before embarking on my university journey. It challenged me both mentally and academically and I truly believe it shaped me and my future in ways I didn’t know were possible. Everyone in my cohort built great relationships with each other and the support that we had from lecturers was faultless. LJMU didn’t just give me a degree, it gave me friends that I hold dearly, opportunities I never could’ve dreamed of before, and a support network full of advice and stability – as well as memories that will genuinely last a lifetime.

“It may only be just over a year since leaving university, but I feel utterly grateful for the time I had at LJMU and genuinely think it has set me in really good stead for my future.”

In terms of what the next twelve months have in store, Isla explains how she wants to make a real difference, despite the strangeness of the working world in 2020:

“Honestly who knows what will happen, this year has been one full of adversity and ambiguity for everyone! In terms of my own career, I have now moved into our centre of excellence as a Capability Specialist in the Learning and Development team. Just one month into the role and I have already felt challenged and pushed outside of my comfort zone in the best possible ways. My aims for the next year are to further develop my self-awareness, embed my purpose and create a real impact. Making an impact brings me a huge amount of pride and a sense of accomplishment, so that’s my main goal.”

When it comes to her advice for those on the cusp of graduation, Isla has this to say:

“Finishing uni is an incredible feeling. Over those three to four years you have gained so much more than your degree. You’ve gained lifelong friends, life skills, and most importantly amazing memories. I think if I had one piece of advice for anyone graduating it would be to take a moment to pause and appreciate the changes and growth you have experienced throughout your degree. You should also allow yourself to feel super proud of what you’ve achieved. Be proud that you battled through those all-nighters, the stressful moments, and times you doubted yourself. You and you alone have achieved your degree, and now you have the photos, the papers and the grades to prove it – so give yourself a huge congratulations!

“Remember too that graduating from university is just the beginning. You’ve achieved so much already and will continue to do so. Your post-university journey may not be what you expected or planned right now – but I assure you it will work out and fall into place in the end.”

If you’ve been inspired by Isla’s twelve-month journey, take a look at the courses on offer today at Liverpool Business School. We also offer guidance when it comes to helping you plan your next steps after graduation, as well as tips on securing a job after university. 

If you’re alumni and you wish to share what you’ve been up to since graduating from LJMU, feel free to get in touch with us. There are many ways you can get connected with the university, as well as your old classmates!


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