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Why a graduate should start their career in Manchester

Drew’s story about moving to Manchester and the start of his graduate career

To begin this story, I am going to take you back to 2021.

I was coming towards the end of my 5 years at university whilst partaking in a master’s course. I had hidden in my studies from the real world for far too long and the thought of working anywhere terrified the life out of me. Also, COVID-19 was still rife which, at the time, made me think the job market must have been awful due to the pandemics ensuing impacts.

I had not applied to any graduate jobs when suddenly my boyfriend (Charlie) brought up the fact that we should apply, otherwise it would be too late – this was in March! So, from that moment onwards, it was our mission to secure ourselves a future, something that would motivate us in our current studies, and give us a sense of security for when the University dream finally came to an end.

Then I had to brainstorm, I had to prioritise what I wanted out of a new city and if there was anything I didn’t want. After studying in Newcastle, which is 4 hours from my family who live back home in Leicestershire, I knew that I wanted to be closer to them as I regretted not seeing my parents, nieces, and nephews as often as I had liked during university. I also wanted to make sure that Charlie would be closer to his family who live in Leeds, as I did not want to just consider my own needs. You might think well there is several places between Leeds and Leicester, there’s Sheffield, Nottingham, even Birmingham is not too far from either. Unfortunately, either these cities never appealed to me when I had visited prior, or they just did not have a plethora of graduate jobs.

Then as if by magic, my little brother Kris, messaged me and asked if I could visit him in Manchester, which is where he was studying at university. I took this as a perfect opportunity to catch-up with him and scope out Manchester and see what I thought of the place. Just two short weeks and a three-hour train ride later and I was in Manchester to visit for the first time! Now, I am not going to say as soon as I got off the train, I knew it was the city for me, because honestly, I did not. However, after my little brother took me around the city centre, Northern Quarter, and The Quays, I started to fall for Manchester. Manchester merges being an industrial city with modern glass high-rises, independent businesses, and vibrant people. It also has a great nightlife, fantastic shopping scene (The Trafford centre being a personal favourite) and a hustle and bustle about it that I have not experienced anywhere outside of London.

Then, I had to think of the logistics. Manchester was 2.5 hours away from my family and just 55 minutes away from Charlie’s (ideal!), it has a great tram network for local travel allowing you to live outside the city centre (making rent even cheaper) whilst still being accessible. It also has several train stations meaning hopping around the country would not be an issue either. Then I had to think about affordability, the job market in Manchester was by far the strongest out of London, with starting salaries to match. This was music to my ears considering the rent and overall living costs in Manchester are much lower (the perks of living in a Northern city). You could buy a two-bedroom penthouse in Manchester city centre with access to tennis courts, swimming pools, a gym, and a private concierge for residents for the same price as a rundown two-bed in zones 2 or 3 in London. I was sold.

Finally, the hard part. Getting a job…

The hunt was on, and I applied to a total of four graduate jobs which caught my eye, all of which were jobs in Consulting. After 2 month of gruelling interview stages and one rejection, I had managed to get offers from three of the four companies that I had applied too! I was shocked, I thought I would struggle to get a single offer so I was over the moon to have a choice. After much deliberation and a bit of further research, I decided the best fit for me and the company that could provide what I wanted out of a career was Deloitte, or The Green Dot as those internally like to call it.

The next few months went by extremely quickly, what with my dissertation being due, exam season and then finishing my Master’s course. Then suddenly it dawned on me, next week, Newcastle, the place which had been my home for the last 5-years, will be replaced by Manchester. Move-in day was hectic, as you can imagine, two post-students, fuelled by caffeine, move all of their possessions across the country and move into an empty shell of a flat. This might sound like some people’s version of a nightmare; however, I was excited, I could finally furnish my own flat. I have dreamt of this moment ever since I was a child watching 60 Minute Makeover with my grandparents.

After all of the fun and games of decorating my flat had come and gone, it was finally time to start my new career (eeeeeek). Deloitte welcomed me with open arms, and I felt like an appreciated member of the team right from the get-go. They really think about their graduate intakes as a priority, providing welcome events, meetings with those high up in the business (yes even the partners) and really throw you in at the deep-end and give you real ownership of your work right from the off. One of the main benefits of working in Manchester is that teams (even in huge corporation such as Deloitte) are much smaller. This made me feel like I could really have a measurable impact right from the off, think of a small fish in a medium pond, much easier to notice than a small fish in a lake (which is what I would imagine London to be like). Since joining, I am happy to say I have made an impact in multiple ways such as; planning the Consulting North Christmas Party, being my operating units lead for the 5-Million Futures charity foundation and organising events for my portfolio for the North (something that did not exist before my arrival). However, my biggest accomplishment is making friends. Moving to a new city will always be daunting, especially if you do not know anyone in the city prior to moving. However, I would now consider all my colleagues at Deloitte friends and have regular catchups with many of them outside of work.

Now, 18 months after moving to Manchester – and becoming a dog daddy, I can firmly say there is no place like it to start your career as a graduate. I am not thinking of leaving anytime soon and me and Charlie are looking to purchase a flat, so we must want to stay here for at least the foreseeable future!

Thanks for listening to my story,

Drew – The recent graduate x

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