MI5 is the UK's national security intelligence agency. The agency offers a range of graduate opportunities, but it was the Technology Graduate Development Programme where Sophie believed she could have the biggest impact.
Read more about Sophie's experience with MI5!
Role: Project Manager
Degree: Business Management BA
I knew that once I'd graduated, I wanted to do something really valuable. And what could be more worthwhile than protecting the UK? So as soon as I saw the Technology Graduate Development Programme at MI5 I knew that was what I wanted to do. It meant I could work at the heart of national security, and actually impact it whilst still getting to use my business skills.
"The organisation was a big driver for me, I probably wouldn't do this role externally. I wanted to be involved in projects with a direct impact on keeping the country safe."
I joined the programme as a Project Manager with no previous experience or knowledge in this area. Working closely with experienced colleagues, I improved my business and interpersonal skills and learnt how to get the best out of people. It meant that I delivered a wide range of important projects – managing and leading parts of it on my own.
But I also had the chance to move around different project management teams and see other parts of the business. The rotations mean you're able to learn from different departments, but also apply your knowledge across the whole service. This flexibility and independence was a huge advantage for me. I could decide exactly what I liked, and work out what my strengths and weaknesses were.
No matter the rotation, there's always a high level of responsibility. You'd think it would be overwhelming, but it's not at all. People trust you to succeed, and the level of support is great. When that responsibility comes, you feel prepared for it.
There's a huge variety of training courses here, which was a big plus for me. They cater to every need and ability, and continue at every point of your career. Without a doubt, the accredited project management courses were key to my success. They really built up my confidence, and it meant I got to grips with things really quickly.
"When I completed the programme, I became a Project Manager at MI5. The Technology Graduate Development Programme gave me an invaluable head start."
The Technology Graduate Development Programme fully prepared me for my next steps in the organisation. My day to day work hasn't really changed that much which made me realise quite how much responsibility I had on the programme. On a typical day, I could be updating senior managers across the organisation on projects.
Depending on what's happening, I might be escalating and solving complex problems, briefing high-level stakeholders, or managing my team's workloads.
The programme gave me opportunities that I could never have anywhere else. It was a challenge, but everything is put in place to guide you and develop you. I really can't think of a better way to start your career off, whilst having a direct impact on keeping the country safe.
Image credit: Thomas Kelley