Are you interested in pursuing a career in finance? If yes, then this blog is for you.
Recently the Careers Service team hosted 5 panellists from varying backgrounds in the finance sector. These panellists talked about their journey, line of work and tips for applying into the highly competitive finance industry by narrating their story.
Below are my key takeaways from their journey to help you navigate your way:
- Securing a graduate role by networking during your internship
This story is of Jack who is pursuing Corporate Finance at Deutsche Bank. His journey started off when he graduated from University of Bath in 2018 with a degree in Mathematics. Since he was unsure what career path to pursue, he kept his options open and undertook a 3 month Compliance Internship at Deutsche Bank. He knew that with the company’s offering of diverse opportunities, he could network and pave a path for himself. Sure enough, interacting with other interns and placement students not only led him into securing a Graduate role but also helped him delve into other functions that led him to discover finance as his passion.
- Using your STEM degree to move into finance
Anna, the second panellist, graduated with a masters degree in Mathematics at St Andrews and continued to then pursue an integrated PHD degree at University of Bath. Upon following such a niche path she too was unsure on how to apply her technical degree but was inspired by one of her Professors who had worked in the finance sector before. Taking this inspiration forward she explored a summer internship during her final year of PHD with HSBC as a Data Analyst. This experience turned out to be fruitful when her team asked her to join into a permanent role at the company. Currently with a position in Spot Trading, Anna enjoys the fast paced and dynamic work environment at HSBC where each day varies. Her work ranges from creating pricing algorithms to forecasting new models to coding to data analysis which she thoroughly enjoys.
- Moving into a Graduate role after completing a placement
From what we have seen above, it is quite common for students to be placed into a company after having worked with them for a couple of months. This similar instance took place with Katy, our third panellist who after completing her 6 month placement with CIL as part of her BBA degree joined them as a Graduate. Some of the key factors that drove her into joining this company again, were; one the variety of projects across different sectors, second the secondment opportunities in Chicago and Munich and lastly the work hard and play hard culture that provided a very nurturing environment to work in.
- Learning the ropes in UK’s largest Mortgages and Broker Advising company
This may not be your childhood dream or passion project but that’s okay because it certainly wasn’t for Marie, our 4th panellist! Marie with a similar mindset early on started at an administrative level and has now worked with London and Country Mortgages for over a decade! She discovered her love for talking to consumers and being part of their journey as they looked for finding their dream house. Her drive to learn the business, meet expectations and deliver results is what saw her thrive in this fast paced environment.
- Exploring opportunities to start your own business!
This last story is of our fifth panellist, Tina who graduated from Bath in 2008. She worked in numerous companies in the financial sector, led a very successful corporate career to then start her own company to better suit her lifestyle. Speaking broadly she shared some of her tips on what made candidates stand out in the job market:
- Make your CV and cover letter flow as a story where you demonstrate skills entrepreneurship, leadership and endurance, e.g.: sold clothes online during University or climbed a mountain, etc.
- Instead of reading the cultural values, try to interact with someone from the company and understand for yourself if their values match yours.
- Always ask questions after an interview to demonstrate your interest in the company such as how has Brexit affected the company?
After reflecting upon everyone’s story, my key takeaway would be that if you’re keen in finance, start by taking small steps, whether that is reading current affairs or being involved with a society or undertaking a summer internship that gives you a taste of the finance sector. Gaining some experience can help you navigate further and utilizing your networking skills can propel you into your career trajectory. In the end just be honest about what you are looking for whether that’s an internship, graduate role or graduate scheme, etc and have the willingness to learn and adapt in the business.