MI5 is the UK’s Security Service. It offers a range of graduate opportunities, but it was the Technology Graduate Development Programme where Jenni believed she could have the biggest impact.
Role: Project Manager
Degree: Mathematics BA
After graduating with a maths degree, I decided I didn’t want to go into banking, nor did I want to work for financial organisations. I knew I wanted to do something different with meaning and a real purpose. I spent time looking for the type of job I really wanted to do.
I applied successfully to some internships and worked part time, but I knew I wanted to work somewhere where I cared about the end result. Having just been to the university graduate fair, I did not see anything that caught my attention. One of my housemates suggested working for MI5! So that night, I went online and had a look at the website and the careers on offer, which was where I discovered the Technology Graduate Development Programme (TGDP). This programme looked ideal, a mix of technical working whilst working for an organisation where I could work at the heart of national security, and actually impact it whilst still getting to use my technical skills. The more I read, the more interested I became and decided to apply.
The recruitment process was similar to other graduate schemes I had applied to, including online tests, phone interviews, assessments centres and final interviews.
I joined the programme as Project Manager with no previous experience or knowledge in this area. I worked closely with experienced colleagues which improved my business and interpersonal skills, and I learnt how to get the best out of people. The programme was excellent at allowing me to explore the many different areas of the business within MI5 as I moved around different project management teams. The rotations mean you’re able to learn from different departments, but also apply your knowledge across the whole of the organisation. This flexibility and independence was a huge advantage for me. The development programme really did give me a breadth of knowledge across an array of critical work the organisation undertakes.
The training throughout was excellent, I felt supported at every stage and knew there was always someone available to help when I needed it. There is a real sense of teamwork in MI5 and this is reflected across the business. There is support from the programme as well as the business to grow and gain confidence in your skills and learn from your experiences. The project work can vary massively, from infrastructure to software applications, and things that seem simple to implement feel very different in this organisation as you are having to make numerous other considerations due to working in a secure environment. But that is what makes it interesting and important to get right. Daily, I use my planning, analytical and problem-solving skills to plan out work and solve problems along the way.
The Technology Graduate Development Programme fully prepared me for my next steps in the organisation. I have been given opportunities and experiences that I could never have anywhere else. It was a challenge, but everything is put in place to guide and develop you. I really can’t think of a better way to start your career off, whilst having an impact on keeping the country safe.
MI5 as a whole is working towards a great mission of keeping the country safe and can make your work feel very rewarding. Although you can’t talk about where you work, I’m super proud to play my part in what we do.