Building a career in the UK

One of the key aspects to the student demographic within Nottingham University Business School (NUBS) is its international makeup.

We're already hugely proud of Nottingham's status as a global university and within NUBS this extends to over 90% of its postgraduate intake in a standard year, from over 50 countries.

As a result, the NUBS Postgraduate Careers team takes a keen interest in supporting the needs of international students and graduates. Teresa Corcoran is a Postgraduate Careers Consultant working in Nottingham University Business School, and explains how prospects for international graduates have improved and how her team can help them find work in the UK.

We'll also introduce some international graduate success stories to inspire you!

Find out how we can help you secure a career in the UK if you're an international graduate

International graduate profile - Simran Harichard (Marketing, 2022)

After my degree, I started working at Hallam as a Paid Media Specialist. Alongside my job, I work towards keeping the door open for other international students by educating employers and championing the sponsoring of international students.

Earlier this year I headed down to the House of Lords to speak about the financial and informational barriers international students face in spite of the Graduate visa and the Skilled Worker visa. My goal is to make it ‘normal’ for international students to be considered for jobs despite our visa requirements.

My top tip to secure a job in the UK:

Do internships. Employers are likely to get you on board or pay for a sponsor visa if they feel it is less of a risk because they’ve already seen you work.

Simran Harichard

Context of the new Graduate visa

The introduction of the Graduate visa for international graduates last year has undoubtedly had an impact on the UK surpassing its target for the number of international students studying in the UK a decade earlier than expected. Under this route graduates can remain in the UK and live and/or work for up to two years (three if they’ve undertaken a PhD) without the need for employer sponsorship.

It provides a flexible opportunity to gain UK employment and enables employers to recruit from a global talent pool without the need to gain a sponsor licence or pay additionl visa costs. UCAS has predicted that the volume of international undergraduate applications will increase by 46% to 208,500 by the year 2026.

This is good news for Higher Education Institutions and their local communities and good news for UK economic prosperity overall. The early success of this new visa route will depend on the quality of the student and graduate experience and the positive post-study outcomes that follow.

International graduate profile - Sabrina Chiang (Finance and Investment, 2019)

Originally from Taiwan, I went to Nottingham in 2018 for my master’s degree and graduated in 2020. During my time in Nottingham I’ve met some brilliant people who inspired and motivated me to dream big. With a growing idea of working in a global financial centre, I decided to stay in the UK and moved to London to chase my career.

After two years of experience in placement agencies, I’m now working at SME Capital as a business development associate. Passionate about private markets, my role focuses on helping UK SMEs to grow their funding needs together with helping our own business thrive in the alternative lending space. At the same time, I’ll always carry with me my Nottingham values as I develop my career further, aiming high and always doing my best to achieve my goals!

My top tip to secure a job in the UK:

Be brave, be confident! Reflecting on my experiences, there are many differences to consider throughout the application process, e.g. formats of your CV, questions in interviews, ways of networking.

Your application path might be tougher than local students but it's not as scary as it sounds! Just be brave and apply for jobs! While embracing the differences, I'd suggest being confident in talking about your amazing skill sets and experience together with your foreign background. Highlight your international value (background, experience, bilingual (or multilingual) skills.

You'll be amazed by the leverage of an international student!

Sabrina Meng Chen Chiang

Surveying international graduates

To better understand outcomes of international students choosing to stay in the UK after graduation, the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) - which is the expert membership organisation for Higher Education Student Career Development professionals - ran a survey earlier this year.

It was aimed at both undergraduate and postgraduate recent graduates, who completed their studies in the UK after the 1 July 2021 (which was when the Graduate visa was introduced) to ascertain graduate views of employers' knowledge of post study immigration routes and whether certain factors had led to the international graduate finding UK work.

We sought to humanise the experience of international graduates remaining in the UK and asked graduates to comment on their use of their Careers and Employability Service. Graduates were also invited to submit their case studies.

The first round showed that over 1,000 graduates participated in the data collection exercise, of which 345 were in the UK on either a graduate or skilled worker visa. Of this group 77% were studying a postgraduate course. There were 71 nationalities represented in the data, who studied at 52 universities. India was the largest group of respondents making up 29% of the responses, then came China with 10% and Pakistan and Nigeria with 7% respectively. Two thirds of the group worked on a full time or part time basis.

International graduate profile - Alfonce Chitate (Risk Management, 2018)

I am a risk and insurance professional; I initially completed a degree in Financial Economics & Business Administration in 2013. I then went on to work in the insurance industry as a broker corporate account executive for four years in Botswana, working across industries. I then attended the University of Nottingham in 2017, completing a master’s in risk management, focused on enterprise risk management.

After my studies, I worked with Just Eat for four years. There I contributed to the design, implementation, and effectiveness of their ERM programme. I currently work with The Economist Group, a book and periodical publishing company, as a risk and compliance manager. Contributing to risk management, risk governance, compliance, business continuity planning, internal audit, and insurance. Outside of my professional career, I am from Zimbabwe, but grew up in Botswana. I have had the pleasure of living in many different countries, making me adaptable and comfortable with differences in culture and people.

My top tip to secure a job in the UK:

When looking for a job, start early and really invest in how much research you do about the company. It really does show in interviews when someone takes the time to understand the business. Read the annual report, research recent news articles about the business, and try understanding why they are looking to hire for that role.

Alfonce Chitate

Benefits and barriers

More than 50% of respondents said their expectations of the Graduate visa were being met, and many commented on the flexibility of the visa and stated that it provided extra time to seek longer term employment. The ease of the application process was also mentioned as a positive.

Some respondents cited difficulties in explaining their right to work during the recruitment process. Some graduates experienced a lack of willingness from employers to invest time in international graduates. Others said some employers had refused to accept applications from international graduates despite the graduate route providing them with a valid right to work.

The high visa costs were also cited as a barrier and especially the additional costs of later transferring to the skilled worker visa which could lead to graduates gaining Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.

International graduate profile - Priyam Chauhan (Management, 2019)

Throughout my MSc at Nottingham I was exposed to a variety of learning experiences both through academics as well as career events. I was able to expand my business and management skills while also consolidating the technical skills I gained through my previous work experience as a software engineer.

After graduating, I successfully landed a job in Data Governance Management at UBS India. Through hard work and the management skills I gained during my master's, I gradually became an expert in the field of Data Governance Management. After working for one and a half years in India, I decided to come back to the UK. My work experience proved very beneficial for me and I was able to secure three job offers from various companies in the industry. I finally joined MUFG London as Assistant Vice President in its Data Governance team. Having worked there for almost a year, I can say that the learnings from Nottingham are still helping me a lot in executing my current job responsibilities to the fullest of my capabilities and making me a more complete professional.

My top tip to secure a job in the UK:

Be very active on LinkedIn and other job portals, and try to leverage your existing work experience while searching for jobs in new industry/sector.

Priyam Chauhan

NUBS Postgraduate Careers - representing international graduates in parliament

With the need to do more to support International Students and Graduates I attended an All-Party Parliamentary Group meeting at the House of Lords in Westminster, which focused on supporting international students and graduates. I attended with other representatives from UK Universities and each institution invited a range of recent graduates and employers of international graduates to share their experiences.

We asked for more support from the government and UKVI in promoting the use of the Graduate visa as a valid right to work with employers. We also identified a range of barriers in terms of policies which could be amended to support international graduate employability such as the removal of the Immigration skills charge for all recent graduates in the UK not just those moving directly on to a skilled worker visa from a student visa. The team are waiting for feedback on all these points.

International graduate profile - Will Pickett (Sustainability, 2016)

I came to Nottingham from Australia for my master's degree in 2015. I was also the player/coach of the BUCS Men's Lacrosse Team. In the summer of my master's year, I got an internship at Carnstone which then resulted in getting offered a full-time position.

Since graduating, I have continued to work for Carnstone as a management consultant advising companies on Sustainability and ESG - it's a growing and exciting area to work in! I now lead some of Carnstone's Client accounts, and have been lucky enough to run a couple of our R&D projects. I continue to live and work in London, playing lacrosse socially, and travelling where I can.

My top tip to secure a job in the UK:

Start thinking about the types of companies that you want to target early in your degree (Google and the university's career fairs are your friend, here!), and explore any internship opportunities. Doing my research helped me find more niche - and arguably more exciting - opportunities than the typical employers that business schools target. Make use of the careers service to help fine-tune your CV and cover letter for the opportunities that you come across.

William Pickett

Support from Careers and Employability here at Nottingham

As a graduate of the business school you have access to a range of support resources which could help you to gain UK employment or employment overseas.

Remember, as a University of Nottingham graduate you have lifelong support from the Careers and Employability Service. Contact the team on: or alternatively if you studied a NUBS postgraduate course contact the team on instead.