Case study – Namali Goonetillake

What is your nationality?Namali new Sri Lankan.

What/when did you study at Durham? BA Economics, 2008-2011.

What are you doing now? Employed by RBS in London, Assistant Director in Corporate Banking.

What does your job involve? Providing financing requirements for Healthcare and Pharmaceutical companies with a turnover of more than £25m.

How did your time at Durham help you to succeed? The Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre allowed me to explore my options within the banking industry and helped me prepare for interviews and assessment centres.

What advice would you give to current students? Work experience is pivotal – I found that doing Easter weeks and internships are helpful. In the current job market in the banking sector, doing an internship is almost the only way to get on to a graduate scheme – out of the 20 people that started on my scheme, 18 were on my internship the previous summer. Employers like to know whom they are hiring long term. Consider your internship a 2 month/10 week assessment centre! In addition, extra curricular activities are important. I was quizzed about volunteering at a local Durham school as a mentor as well as my involvement in the water polo team – it gives you something to talk about at an interview, allows you to answer competency questions easily and shows you have interests outside work and education. In addition, it’s likely to give you an edge over most applicants as the admissions process into grad schemes is increasingly competitive.

Any other information you want to provide? Students don’t seem to use the careers centre as much as they should. I was only one of a small handful of students in my year who bothered to find out options – you may think you know what’s out there, but it helps to make sure!

Please note – the opinions expressed here are those of Namali and not her employer.

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