Banking and Finance Work Experience Stories

"After graduating from University with a masters in International Business, I was open to suggestions as far as initial roles were concerned. I completed the usual online applications, signed up to the online job sites and off I went. I was contacted by a recruiter, entered for an interview, and found myself working for an investment bank!

The role was based in Operations, supporting the OTC Equities world, writing the legal confirmations for the bespoke trades. Had somebody mentioned this to me at university, I would not have known anything about the function or what it entailed, and I still didn't for the first couple of months!

Both support and training were offered, mainly in house, so that I was able to both fulfill my day to day duties, but also develop additional skills. The area that I had entered, on paper, was not what I had imagined for myself, but having just left university, I took the opportunity. However, being based in Operations, meant that I had a huge level of interaction with the different internal departments, much more than other roles do, and I was also able to learn a lot about the products that are offered through Investment banking as I had to understand the products in order to write the legal confirmation.

I have been with the same bank for 3 years now, and managed to build a large contacts list, and due to this have been able to spend time in different areas of the bank, enabling me to plan my next career move, which I would not have been able to do without this initially unexpected role.The issues with joining the job market as a grad are the combination of limited exposure to potential careers and the lack of experience. My main tip would be, experience is everything, and so if an opportunity presents itself in an industry you are interested in, but not necessarily the exact function, take it, but make the most of it.

Once you are within an organisation, you can speak to people in different areas and shadow them if you are keen to see what they do, and after an hour here and there, you will be able to see if the role is firstly, what you thought it was, and secondly, if it is what you would like to do. Despite this, all organisations offer some level of training, and so take what you can."


"There is, as we all know, a great deal of pressure to obtain a job with both stature and earning potential after graduation. I was lucky enough to have a choice between two graduate schemes but plumped for a large bank - I have since been accused of jinxing the firm, but that is by the by. Finance was not my specialty (after reading Philosophy) but this is the beauty of Grad jobs and the wide range of people they take on.

My experience on the scheme ranged from working in a commercial business centre dealing with clients on a day-to-day basis and learning the mechanics of the business to working in the city head office helping to run the scheme itself. Throughout there was a structured path to follow, but no rules to say you could not deviate, and a set team of people available to support development. There was a large amount of work to undertake outside of office hours that enabled for growth within the role. Technically this did not have to be completed but, in my experience, a graduate role is what you make it - think of it as a helping hand onto the first step of the ladder.

Roles will differ depending on company size but it is essential that graduates realise they are buying into a firm not a specific job in most schemes. The potential for future advancement is vast in a company such as the one where I work (or any large company), with offices throughout the world and every kind of department. One key bit of advice though, getting onto the scheme is the easy part - a lot is expected of you as a graduate entrant and rightly so but it is a fantastic grounding and will always enhance your CV regardless of where you end up working. Good luck."