Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many societies haven’t been able to operate as normal. BSc Accounting & Finance student, Darsha shares how societies have adapted to a more digital approach and the ways in which they have kept their members connected.
My name is Darsha Kataruka, a third year BSc Accounting & Finance student at Warwick Business School. I am the Vice President of Warwick Women’s Career Society (WWCS) for the year 2020-2021, and have held various executive positions in the past, including Head of Events at WWCS for 2019-2020; Head of Creative Design at Warwick India Forum; and Deputy Head of Marketing at Warwick Risk Management Society.
The University of Warwick has a diverse pool of societies on campus that range between cultural, academic, career, social service, sports, and many more. Societies play a huge part in a student’s university experience. Being part of a society enables students to expand their network, meet fellow like-minded individuals, enhance their knowledge, explore a new field/hobby, or simply have fun. It allows you to engage in something beyond academics which supports your holistic development.
Societies have helped me stretch myself and my skill set on a personal and professional level. I have developed various skills including conflict resolution, technological, communication, teamwork, leadership and organisational skills by engaging with societies. Organising and attending in-person events on campus were central to the functioning of these societies and their offerings. However, the COVID-19 pandemic revolutionised how societies work.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all societies had to adopt a digital approach, conducting all their events in a virtual setting. Warwick Women’s Careers Society launched its very own digital ‘Exclusive Careers Handbook’ that covered A-Z guidance on application preparation depending on the field students are applying to. As a society, we hosted several online events such as employer presentations with industry-leading organisations such as Citibank, HSBC, and Morgan Stanley. These events provided students with industry insight and proved to be a brilliant way for them to find out more about internships, gain application advice, and network with potential recruiters.
We also launched our new Alumni Mentorship Schemes where students were paired up with Warwick alumni currently working in industry-leading firms relevant to the particular student’s field of interest. This provided a great way for students to keep up with their commercial awareness and gain first-hand advice and support about the internship application process, which can be quite daunting – especially if you are applying during a global pandemic!
We also launched a newly curated section on our website, ‘WWCS Careers Blogs’. Here, students who successfully secured internships offer readers an insight into their internship experience and tips about the application process. We have also conducted several online competitions and skills and case study workshops to prepare students for interviews, enhance their skill set, and broaden their perspective. We also partnered with organisations such as Bright Network that provided virtual internships to thousands of students in top firms across different fields.
Flagship events of certain societies, such as summits, have also been made virtual and free to attend, making it highly flexible for students from across the world to attend. The digital approach has also made it easier and more convenient to work with guest speakers that are not physically located in the UK and may not have been able to attend if it was an in-person event.
In order to facilitate better communication, many societies have started their own WhatsApp groups where event updates and networking continues in a casual setting, helping society members keep up with key information. Overall, I feel that societies have done a fantastic job of adapting to the digital world in such a short space of time. It has been exciting to see different societies get creative and find ways to integrate their functioning with a digital setting. For me, it has been a fantastic year in which I have had the chance to head a brilliant society and be involved in conducting lots of exciting events while meeting some brilliant, like-minded people.
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