Why I ......think employers should recruit Oxbridge graduates

May 5, 2000

Oxbridgejobs.com is the first niche "online" recruitment agency. We are matching the highest quality graduates with the highest calibre jobs. Eighty per cent of Oxbridge students enter university with at least three A-grade A levels.

The leap from A levels to Oxbridge is phenomenal -undergraduates are given so much work, it is either sink or swim. Many people feel in the first term that they are the only person there who should not be there. From that pressure grows strict discipline and the ability to work under intense pressure. Producing high-quality work at a fast rate equips students with skills employers value - clear thinking, ability to express ideas concisely and a tutorial system that forces them to think for themselves.

Most of the pressure to live up to the Oxbridge ideal of a rounded person involved in activities such as acting, journalism and the union comes from the individual themselves. Oxbridge is a microcosm of the real world, which is attractive to employers.

At the agency we feel we have gone beyond the elitist argument. We are recognising an existing social mechanism and helping employers and graduates link up. We believe that Oxbridge should be a meritocracy and while people criticise us for not having enough state-school students, it is not all Eton and Harrow boys. I was at school in Australia and it was not private.

The internet is a modern medium bringing Oxbridge into the 21st century, making it relevant, up to date and democratising what used to be seen as an old-boy network. Our company employs five Oxbridge girls. The old-boy network has become the young-girl network.

People assume Oxbridge students must know where they want to go. But while they are clever and have had the best funding and teaching, Oxbridge students are normal people emerging from three years of intensive study. We are here to offer free advice, consultancy and a range of jobs to help people get where they want to be. Our company will help employers recruit the best.

Lucy Aitkens Human sciences studentSt Hilda's College, Oxford. She has just finished her presidency of the Oxford Union and is on sabbatical. With six Oxbridge graduates, she has set up Oxbridgejobs.com, launched this week.

Interview by Helen Hague

* Are employers right to prefer Oxbridge graduates?

Email us on soapbox@thes.co.uk

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