Week 8- Utilising Experts

Since I started uni, I’ve always wanted to do my own lecture. Now that I’m running out of time before I graduate and leave I thought I’d ask if I could despite not knowing what I wanted to do it on.

Not wanting to provide useless materials, I emailed the module coordinator and asked what he wanted his students to learn but thought the course couldn’t provide. We concluded that a good topic would be utilising experts, so I thought I’d write about it on here first.

 

A common trend across uni is that the resources available to us only tend to get used the further into our university careers we are. Only in the final year do students really use and experience the wealth of information and opportunity available to us, the majority of these resources I didn’t even know existed when I was in my first year.

The problem stems from the most readily available information source—our student emails. These are completely underutilised by almost all students, and is where we can find out about events and additional certificates we may want to pursue. Our emails give us direct access to anybody at the uni, with all of them being experts in a variety of topics, just using my emails more has improved my relationship with a series of lecturers. This has allowed me to ask for their opinions for my dissertation and has given me a range of new ideas and leads to pursue. Being on better terms with the staff across the uni has given me new opportunities, these range quite a lot but are all beneficial. For example, of the panel who determined which students travelled to Malaysia, two of them were people I’d been emailing and had built a rapport with, one of them in particular I have a very good relationship with, ultimately it was these two people who determined that I travelled to Malaysia—Even being able to have my own talk to about utilising experts has been because I am on really good terms with the module coordinator. Thinking about my career in the future, these lecturers and academics have contacts in a range of roles across several industries worldwide. Post-graduation, it may be that I’ll be able to find a contact which can springboard my career from using the contacts I’ve made at the university just by emailing internally.

I have my own mentor, he is the Dad of a friend I met in college, and this is from the first time I took a dive with meeting an expert, and it hasn’t stopped paying off. I don’t think he’s realised how much of an impact he’s had on me or the help he has had directing me. My friend was always talking about his new business developments and some famous projects he’s been part of. Somehow, I got onto talking about getting the chance to ask him a few questions and for some reason, he let his email address to be given to me.

What followed was a massive overreaction where I overprepared to an excess. I researched him and his business online as well as finding out the sort of projects he’d been working on recently from his daughter at college. Once I knew roughly the sort of work he done, I didn’t stop researching it. By the end of my research, I knew all the key words and main terms for digital displays, IMAXs and planetariums—The only problem is I didn’t understand a word of it. Almost luckily, when we finally met, we didn’t even talk about it. Maybe if we did, the conversation would have worked out a lot worse than it did. Shortly after he began to mentor me, he redirected my focus and made the complex world of business seem much simpler. When I have any problems or questions, he tends to be one of the first people I go to and will always give me a new perspective to think from.

One of the bigger problems and is a big drawback is finding people who have the information and contacts in the relevant areas, but a little research will soon fix that. With social media, you can find the right people easier than ever and with LinkedIn you can find them with no effort at all. For example, one of the career paths that I’ve looked at is logistics and when I was looking for a placement around this time last year, I searched up those in a logistics role at one of the companies I was applying to on LinkedIn and sent this message:

Hi, I’m hoping to start a placement within logistics as a student at the University of Lincoln and feel you’d be a great contact to have. I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

 – Callum Hopkins

Being limited to the connection request message I had to leave it short and sweet but the response was very encouraging. Though I didn’t get a placement at the firm in question, I’ve stayed in contact with the person ever since, only last week we met up for dinner.

He took a lot of interest in my dissertation topic and even suggested using the firm and some members of the workforce as participants for the research. As the firm is one of the largest in the industry, I’ve not forgotten his offer and when I start to look for participants (which will be soon), I’ll be going back to him.

Talking about his career, why he chose logistics and advice he had both generally and in the role gave me a lot of insight and also gave me a lot to think about. He told me to let him know if I apply for a post-grad role and if I do, he’ll recommend me to the relevant people in recruitment. And all this started from a two-line long message on LinkedIn.

Utilising experts is vital for success, either as a manager but also in my own personal development. Because of this, I try utilise them wherever I can, even if I only have enough time to ask one question. Thats what happened when I met Michael Teoh, author of ‘Potential Matrix’. He had a talk at KDU when I was in attendance and I was fortunate enough to have a couple of minutes with him. On top of asking him a handful of questions, I also handed him my copy of his book and asked him to write a piece of advice in it that I hadn’t been told before, though I won’t say what he wrote, the message is what I try to tell myself and is exactly what I needed to hear. The featured image for this week is the picture that was taken when I met him.

Overall, the message that I hope to give to the first-year students during my talk is that it doesn’t matter how qualified you are; convincing the right people of your capabilities is worth a lot more than a 2:1 or 1st written on a piece of paper. People invest their time in each other and those who are the most highly qualified and experts in their field, they’re passionate about what they do and people with passions like to share them with people who are interested. So be interested, be engaged and if you do nothing more, take a leap and send a message to that person who you think is too busy to reply. All it takes is 2 lines, and if you can do that right, the pay-off will never end.

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