Aston Business School graduate, Max Pullen, received the prize from the National Graduate Recruitment Awards (NGRAs) at Grosvenor House, London, earlier this month. The NGRAs are the largest recruitment ceremony in Europe, celebrating graduate employment and success of students. This year it attracted 1,400 entries for the 29 trophies available, many of which are voted entirely for by students. The Rising Star of the Year was chosen by the 'TARGETjobs’ panel of undergraduate and Year 12-13 students.
Since completing his degree in international business and management in 2012, Max, aged 26, spent one full term as Aston Students' Union President - managing 35 staff in the process. He then joined Mott MacDonald, a global engineering, management and development consultancy on its four-year graduate programme. He applied to the company following a meeting with one of its representatives at a graduate jobs fair. He now chairs the Young Professional Excellence network within Mott MacDonald, helping to train other emerging and up-and-coming young professionals. His tasks include organising a wide range of seminars and webinars.
Max also sits on the advisory committee of the Institute of Consulting and is on the steering committee of Young MCA, the youth wing of the Management Consultancies Association. He is a founding trustee of a charity called Born to Thrive, which organises child sponsorship programmes, food provision, co-operative schemes and the building of classrooms in east Africa.
Speaking about his award, the judging committee said: “Delivering clear value, Max has evidenced ability, potential and ambition to become a leader within the industry. He is an advocate of young professional excellence, representing peers on the Young Management Consultancies Association Steering Committee and as the first young member representative for the Institute of Consulting."
At the end of his training course, Max is hoping to be recognised as a certified management consultant, working across both the public and private sector. Speaking to The Guardian following his win, his advice for any students looking to stand out in the jobs market is to spend 'quality time' completing any job application forms.He said: “The best advice I’d give to anyone about to hit the jobs’ market this summer is so take a step back from everything else when you’re applying for a job; really focus on it and what you’re doing and want to say. It’s about quality not quantity, so really spend some time on it.”
“You want to be trying to get your personality down on paper. Even if you’re one of 3,000-4,000 applicants you need to let that employer see you are really passionate to come and work for them.”
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