Why did you choose to study this degree?
A very popular graduate interview question that can sometimes be a tough one to answer. It means you’ll have to think back to the moment you picked the degree and revisit your university motivates.
Why are you being asked this?
What use is it to the interviewer to know why you chose your degree? Well for some hiring managers it can provide a clear view on what you want in the future. Helping them decide whether your degree aligns with career plans and goals. Because in a lot of cases, candidates choose a subject area that is not relevant to their first ‘proper’ job fresh out of university.
But remember this doesn’t have to dictate your future career. If this is the case for you, you’ll need to be able to answer with a brief explanation and ability to fit your degree to the job at stake. But don’t worry we discuss this in more detail later on in the blog
Most graduates will fit into one or more of these categories:
Lifelong career choice
For some of you, you’re lucky enough to have known the course you wanted to study for as long as you can remember and have had a clear picture of where it will hopefully lead you.
“I chose my degree because it has always been an essential part of my career journey.”
To express this in an interview, it’s important to demonstrate your assurance and passion in your area of expertise. Adding that a career within this industry is a natural progression, to build upon your experience and take your knowledge to the next level.
General degree to keep your career options open
For other job seekers a more generalist approach is best suited towards your course choices. You selected your degree on the basis that it would provide you with a good academic foundation for a wide variety of potential career options. For example, English, Sociology and History courses provide vital skills that can be transferred into different marketing, teaching and law paths.
There is nothing wrong with choosing a degree simply because you enjoy the subject. Not every interview answer has to be about how passionate you are about the role. If you are honest and genuine about your reasoning, its far more likely to gain the interviewers trust.
How not to answer
“Well I’m not actually sure why I picked this degree, it felt right at the time but looking back I don’t think it has benefited me or my career.”
Even if you have changed your mind or you did not particularly like what you studied at university, the interviewer does not need to know this. So for all of you unsure candidates, keep it simple. In your answer you might want to explain that at the time you enjoyed the subject area and whilst it may not be directly focused to your career choice now, you’re grateful for the opportunities it has opened you up to. Find an example answer below.
How to answer
“I chose my degree because it was something I enjoyed. I wasn’t really thinking ‘career’ at this point in my life and was unsure of my future options. However now looking back at my time spent at university I am grateful for the routes it has opened me up to. Adapting my degree to future career was definitely a harder route. It required me to go out and gain work experience, to learn things I didn’t at university and to really put myself out there. The knowledge I gained from doing so provided me with a foundation of skills, that I think are so incredibly valuable for my career.”