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A Day in the Life of a Graduate at the SCDI Forum

In March 2015, Adopt an Intern attended the SCDI Forum with 18 keen graduates. Kat and Ben share their story about a day at the SCDI Forum.

“The SCDI Forum 2015 was an excellent networking opportunity; with inspiring and influential figures from Scotland and further afield attending the event I knew it was going to be an unmissable experience.

The forum itself was broken up at numerous points in the day allowing us to engage with the topics discussed in workshops and to get know the other delegates a bit better. During one of these breaks I visited the YESC stall and created what turned out to be a winning steam boat. Much to my delight my efforts were rewarded with a coveted Thomas the tank engine Easter egg at the end of the event which went almost as fast as the steamboat itself.

I met a lot of interesting people at the forum and left feeling that I had learned a lot more about Scotland’s key industries and the opportunities available to me as I near the end of my degree. I had achieved everything I hoped to and more.”

Ben Henderson-Palmer

“On the morning of Friday the 20th March I woke up at 5am, I was very nervous both about getting all the way to Gogarburn by 7.30am and about the day ahead. On the bus I had plenty of time to think and prepare, trying to get a nice introduction ready for when (hopefully) people asked me about myself. 

I reached RBS HQ and was suitably impressed by the gorgeous grounds and huge conference building, I might say I was even a little daunted. I worried that so many important, successful people would not have time to speak to a graduate with so little “real world” experience. I expected people to be too busy, too intelligent and uninterested in my opinions. I was also worried I wouldn’t understand the presentations, that I would ask silly or uninspired questions or that I might trip on the stairs!

During our Adopt an Intern introduction Eilidh and Heather really put us at ease and gave us some tips on appropriate networking conversational topics. They were invaluable resources throughout the day, always looking around to make sure the interns were getting the most out of such a unique opportunity.

The networking breakfast was an opportunity to chat to the other interns, this was a good confidence booster. I also took a moment during breakfast to read through the list of delegates in the back of the SCDI booklet to see if there was someone from a company of industry particularly relevant to me that would be worth seeking out during the day.

I expected the day to be far more stressful and confusing, as it progressed I felt more comfortable and confident, taking lots of notes in the presentations so that I would have plenty to chat about in the networking breaks. Making one or two mental notes about a topic proved helpful for formulating good opening lines to ask someone about the speech they just witnessed or even to approach the speaker themselves. I was able to have a great chat to RBS Head, Ken Barclay, about his organisation and that was very rewarding. The lunch was delicious but I tried not to take too much time eating, I made sure to walk around the room not stand in a corner, often just saying hello will open a conversation and I was lucky enough to speak to quite a few people.

The most important thing I learned from the SCDI Forum was just to take a deep breath and say hello, everyone was friendly and supportive and I made a few great contacts to follow up on. Nobody was too busy to chat for a few minutes and everyone seemed genuinely interested in myself and my opinions.”

Kat McKinnon


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