How to choose your graduate scheme

Katie Bend's advice on how to make the choice that's right for you   

The ordeal of months of applications and assessment centres is finally over and you’ve been offered a place on a graduate scheme – congratulations! But what if you have multiple offers? How do you choose the scheme or job that’s right for you? Here are the main factors I’d recommend you think about before accepting an offer:

Development Opportunities

You’ve been offered the place because the company sees great potential in you. Many schemes offer rotations to build and nurture your experience. I’ve worked as an Employee Engagement Manager in a call centre, as a Digital Communications Project Manager in the Corporate Citizenship team, and now in Marketing Communications and Global Brand for Hive. Each placement has developed me in different ways and you should always view your development as a journey. You’ll come out on top with a wealth of experience.

Feel and Company Culture

It’s important to be adaptable and open as a young person starting off their career but it’s also worth making sure the organisation’s values are in line with your own. Each company will have its own culture; from the ultra ‘suited and booted’ corporate, to the ‘beats, bean bags and beers-in-the-fridge’ bureaus. Choose wisely; a culture you love in the evenings may not make you the most productive in the daytime! But if you’re working for an organisation in which you feel comfortable, your career will be off to a flying start.


Ask the company if they offer a mentoring system. The guidance and coaching I’ve received from my mentor has truly been invaluable over the course of my scheme. It’s great to have someone in a different part of the organisation who can offer advice, support and an alternative perspective.


Many schemes include a qualification and this is definitely something to investigate – or even request. In 2017 I’ll be taking my IDM (Institute of Digital Marketing) qualification, and other streams at Centrica offer similar opportunities, such as the ACA, ACCA or CIMA for Finance.


Money. The taboo subject. Although one of the most important factors in your working life, it shouldn’t be the be all and end all. It’s important to choose the role which offers you the greatest all-round opportunities. However some companies also have great perks which are worth looking into: from private healthcare to discounted gym memberships and great pensions. You should also question your earning potential; will you get a yearly salary review? Do you get a performance related bonus? These are all questions that should be asked without the traditional feeling of embarrassment due to the early stage of your career. You may even be able to negotiate!


Flexibility with location is often a prerequisite with the graduate schemes of many large corporations, and it’s not for everyone. Since joining Centrica, I’ve worked in three different locations over the last fourteen months. Moving house can be stressful, but the experience of living and working in different cities has been great.

Katie volunteering for a food bank in Leicester

I never imagined that working in Marketing for an Energy company could offer so much variety when it came to experience. Don’t miss out – we’re still open for applications!