Former BBC and ITV chairman Michael Grade offers University of East London students career advice

Michael Grade visited University of East London students to offer some career advice. Picture: UEL

Michael Grade visited University of East London students to offer some career advice. Picture: UEL - Credit: Archant

A former BBC and ITV chairman advised job-seeking media students to take rejection on a visit to a university.

Michael Grade CBE was at the University of East London’s Docklands campus last Thursday sharing stories about his life and career.

He told students: “Keep going. Take rejection. Don’t be afraid. Do whatever it takes to keep your job. Don’t be surprised if you go in as a writer and end up coming out as the star of the show.”

The youngsters heard how Lord Grade’s grandparents grew up in Ukraine before coming to the East End and working in entertainment.

He explained how he didn’t go to university but went straight into a job as a Daily Mirror sports journalist before going on to become the chairman of both the BBC and ITV in the 2000s.

Offering a wealth of career advice, Lord Grade, a Conservative life peer, said: “Any boss is happy to hear criticism as long as you can explain why you think what you do.

“Be who you are and be honest about who you are. That’s what an employer is looking for.”

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The 76-year-old was then quizzed by students about moral responsibility, politics, and how to get into the media industry.

Third year film student, Ivan Ajlejandro Acosta, said afterwards: “I loved his story-telling techniques. It’s like there was nothing to knock his wave.”

Geoff Thompson, chair of the board of governors at UEL, noted that Lord Grade had come from humble east London beginnings.

Mr Thompson said: “It’s significant that we have Michael Grade here with us today in terms of culture and change in the university.

“I feel that this is a special occasion for us and sets the tone for what is to come.”

“I’m hoping there will be more visits to UEL like the one with Lord Grade. We want to bring people in who can engage motivate and inspire all of this student talent potential, which I believe is untapped and unrealised.”

Insia Durrani, a first year student also studying film, said afterwards: “It’s made me feel really motivated to keep working towards my dream.

“As a creative art student it was good because it has helped me break down a pathway to my career.”