Qualification: MSc Finance &
Employer: Barclays Capital
I was part of the MSc Finance and Investment class of 2005 and graduated in 2006. Subsequently I joined Deloitte, the professional services firm. I spent 3 years with Deloitte and found it to be a fantastic place to work in. I was promoted to the position of Assistant Manager in Audit and completed the ACA qualification. Subsequent to this, I decided to seek a new challenge and moved to Barclays Capital, the investment banking wing of Barclays Bank in London, as an Analyst in FX Exotics Risk. My work is largely based around analysing the macro economic factors and looking at how they affect the positions of various trading desks.
The first time I applied to Deloitte, my application was rejected. This prompted me to visit the Careers Employability and Enterprise Centre to find out what the issue was. What I found was that while I had a broad range of skills from my various experiences, including the very fact that I was in a country different to mine and that I managed to get involved in part time jobs/extra curricular activities, I was failing to put them across convincingly in my application. This may have been primarily because in India, we use the CV to apply for a job while in the UK the employers place a lot of importance on the application to draw out specific examples of traits that they look for. While I did have those traits, the examples that I used were not good enough to convince the employers that I had them. I was able to correct this by making use of the Careers Centre and attending recruitment events of potential employers.
I also gained contacts at various companies by attending recruitment events organised by the Centre. They were able to guide me in exactly what the firms were looking for. I also realised that potential employers expect you to have a good understanding of what the role you are applying towards entails. Conversations with people who are already doing what you want to do are crucial in this regard.
The opportunities for international students from outside the EU are limited because of the fact that they need work permits which the employer needs to obtain on their behalf. From my experience, only the big employers usually get you this. Also since the time I joined Deloitte, the economic/political environment has changed and I would imagine there is pressure on the number of graduate places/work permits available. But the fact remains that there are opportunities for people who show potential. Firms place a lot of importance on diversity and regularly employ students from outside the EU. They obtain work permits for those who require them. However due to the limited number of places and because of the time involved in getting a work permit you should apply as early as possible.
I can say that for both my employers the work challenges you and what you believe you are capable of. You are driven and pushed to be the best you can be. However, ultimately, it will be your interest in what you do (or want to do!) and your passion to excel that will differentiate you from others. This is true from my experience and I am sure this will be the case in your application too!