Money makes the world go around

My work’s week experience at Octopus Investments commenced on the 10th July 2017, I gained this work experience through the university via a friend’s mum. This work experience was incredibly helpful because it was my first ever work experience with the additional benefit that it was a sector I was hugely interested in as it related to my chosen degree: Financial Economics.

During my short time spent at the firm I couldn’t believe how much I learned mainly due to the organisation prior to my arrival, who had arranged for me to work in a different department every day. My first day was spent with the Client Relation team. The morning was spent shadowing a member of the team listening into calls, where I learnt the most about Octopus itself and the products it sold, with the client relation team having the most knowledge within the company on this aspect. The afternoon was spent with another member of the Client Relation team sifting through and processing feedback whilst improving my computer skills, as I was taught me to process and categorise all this.

My second morning was spent in Octopus’ property sales support team where they briefly outlined what their job entailed, then allowed me to work independently cancelling loan files. In the afternoon, I moved to the sales team and shadowed a member of the team who spoke to financial brokers and pushed to complete loans. On the Wednesday morning, I was with Octopus investment sales support team learning the ins and outs of their job and then creating illustrations (how much return they should expect if they invest X number of pounds with that product) for clients. In the afternoon, I was with a member of the sales team and listened in on his phone calls to potential and current investors. On the Thursday I spent all day with the AIM (Alternative Investment Market) fund team, it was probably the most interesting day of the week because I gained a understanding of how they run their £1.3 billion fund. I sat in on their weekly meeting discussing potential and future investments and then did research on a few of these potential investments, and gave my opinion. I received feedback and the positives of my research was discussed at length, and where to focus more to improve it. On the final day I was in the Labs team (their IT team) who are currently designing and implementing online product platforms which was interesting to see how they were helping the different departments I had been working with the all week.

Overall the work experience was fantastic and I would recommend doing some because it gives great insight into how large companies operate and gives you an opportunity to explore certain fields before actually committing to a full time job in that sector, whilst developing key office skills that will help me in the future after university and it skills which will help me through my studies.

– Ryan Beecheno

Introducing the first KEW-NET Star Mentor!

Economics alumnus Aniq Ahmed (Eliot 2008) has been commended for his ardent support of Kent students as a mentor through e-Mentoring platform KEW-NET when he was named ‘Star Mentor’ at the end of February.

Aniq, who is currently working on building treasury capabilities for a specialist lender and previously was Banking and Capital Markets Manager at global consultancy firm Deloitte, signed up to take part in June 2014, and has since offered professional advice and guidance to three students from the School of Economics, Kent Business School and the School of Physical Sciences, one of whom may be joining Deloitte for an internship this summer.

“Aniq has been a great mentor so far, helping me with applications in the banking industry and more specifically asset management” said Economics student and mentee Arjun Jain. “I can’t thank him enough for the irreplaceable time that he has given me.”

Astrophysics student Will Heaton found out about KEW-NET from the Careers and Employability Service and started looking for mentors: “I noticed Aniq worked in finance, which is what I was applying for, so I dropped him a message. He got back to me quite quickly, and helped me break down the problems I was having and narrow down the things I was applying for.” Will was pleased to hear that Aniq had been named a Star Mentor: “Aniq really helped me when I was applying for internships earlier last term. He was open to offering advice and help whenever I wanted, so I’m not surprised”.

350 alumni from across the world have signed up to KEW-NET so far, sharing advice and experience with the 500+ current students registered. All users of the system can be both a mentee and a mentor and can offer a multitude of services from CV and interview advice to work-based opportunities. As all interactions are hosted through the platform, getting in touch is simple and secure.

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Thinking out loud

Key Areas and Possible Questions in a Graduate Finance Job Interview

So, you’ve got to the interview? Congratulations – you’re one step closer to grabbing that dream position you’ve been looking for! But, steady on a second, this is going to be the biggest test yet. The interview is one of the trickiest parts of the recruitment process to nail – but here at AllAboutFinanceCareers, we’re here to help you get across the finish line. As such,  we’ve located some key areas, researched some common questions, and thought about how you should be looking to answer them. So, without further ado:

Teamwork – Every company wants people who are useful both as a leader and as a team player, so a combination of these two questions is something you need to get used to, quick sharp.

When have you led a team? Almost any job in the financial sector is going to require leadership at certain points. Not only does your leadership ability show that you have the potential to manage people someday, but it displays your comfort with responsibility. Here, you should use a relatively recent example that displays your complete skill set – narrate your story in an interesting and concise way, whilst making sure you clearly lay out your objectives in the task and how you completed them.

Tell us about a time where you worked as part of a team. What role did you play? It’s also crucial to be able to work as part of a team, and therefore not try and muscle in and tell others what to do all the time. You’ll be working as a cog in a huge machine, so your ability to function alongside others is key. You don’t need to prove your leadership abilities in this question, just your interpersonal skills – so show you can listen, absorb information and then fulfil instructions independently for the sake of any given project, by talking about how your role helped a wider effort to succeed.

Industry. Employers will want you to have a real interest in the industry you’re applying for, and that you’ve done your homework on their particular firm. Obviously then, this is all about getting the groundwork in – do your research, think about it properly, and this will be a breeze.

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