We have had many queries sent our way asking “What is a Graduate program, exactly?”. We’ve seen it on forum threads, been asked it and answered that question many a time at universities/ colleges.

We are here to demystify the question and explain it in the easiest way possible.

So, what is a Graduate program, exactly?

A Graduate program is a structured, time defined program designed to develop your technical, professional and personal corporate skills.

It may last for anywhere between 1-3 years, often with rotations in different teams or departments to maximise your exposure to different work and experiences. This will help you become a stronger well rounded professional and give you exposure to different type of skills and work to help you see what your future may look like. It should also help you shape your decisions about what area or type of work you want to get into after the program is completed.

Graduate Programs were designed for recently graduated students to help mould, develop, guide and direct students via a series of experiences, technical and personal. These experiences will help guide you through early stages of corporate life to pave your future career path. Companies understand there is a lot of developing to be done from classroom to corporate before you are fully operational as a solo entity in the corporate world, this is exactly what graduate programs are designed to do. Graduate Programs are also often known as ‘future leader’ programs as companies see you as their future leaders, hence why they put a lot of effort into your development and experiences. It’s essentially a fast track program to help get you ready for your future. Companies have seen a reportable difference between those students who start in an entry level role vs. a graduate program. Those in a well-designed program are typically in higher positions with stronger performance review outcomes that those who start in entry level roles not support by learning and development. Worth noting is that everyone is not expected to be a future leader. Companies understand that 30% of people want to be a future leader, 40-50% may have the capacity to be a future leader. Some people don’t want to be a people leader and want to be a thought leader, domain/ technical leader or expert and some people are great operational mid-senior level contributors. Programs adapt around you, be who and whatever you aspire to and keep reaching.

Graduate Programs are typically offered to graduates who have successfully completed an undergraduate program at a university, college or other higher education facility within 1-3 years post graduation. Postgraduate programs are also accepted. Depending on the company, you may be hired based on your degree ie: Engineers for an Engineering role. Alternatively, you may also be hired for an Engineering role irrespective of your degree type, where the choices are heavily weighted on your final course score, personality, fit and potential.

You will find USA and United Kingdom tend to follow the later methodology where the APAC regions often follows the first methodology.

All (good) programs have a strong Learning & Development focus. With bi-monthly, monthly or quarterly Learning & Development sessions. They may either be in person or online sessions. Undercover Grad Recruiter strongly suggests that you ask your potential employer about what the Learning & Development program looks like and if it continues for the entire period of the program.

An example of a development program plan is below, you certainly will not get access to this prior to starting, even if you ask, but this is just for you to see what a good one should look like.

After a graduate program is complete, some companies are starting to offer a ‘post program’. This program is designed to help you excel and stretch you beyond your ‘comfortable’ bounds to make you the best you that you can be. These type of programs are still emerging and not very prevalent yet. It may be tailored to either just the top performers of each cohort which is decided through an application process or it may be to all members of the cohort.  This is an excellent offering for those companies who have it, but no doubt many others are starting to catch on.

The final thing UCGR wanted to note is graduate programs are GREAT for networking. You have endless social events and your ability to access senior leaders is unbelievable. As a graduate, the world is your oyster, everyone wants to be around you, help you learn and share information with you. Never stop yourself from asking a question, be inquisitive. NETWORK near and far, don’t forget about those you did your program with, you never know when you may need to call on them professionally one day. Networking doesn’t come easily to everyone, but try and try hard, networks are more valuable that you realise.

Do you know the top reasons students accept a job offer? Read on below…



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UC Grad Recruiter