Monday, 23 December 2013

First Semester!

Soooooooooooooooo it's the end of the first semester at university. I actually cannot believe how fast these three months have gone. It felt like just yesterday I was leaving home and moving into halls and now first semester has ended, it's the Christmas holidays and I'm back at home for three weeks (might shorten it to two instead). To be honest, I do miss university. One thing I have appreciated is independence. I have definitely changed since I went to uni, trust me being away from home is not as bad as it seems.

In terms of my course, I think I'm enjoying it so far. I will not lie dropping out has crossed my mind but I was seriously over-exaggerating. In my opinion, at the moment the workload isn't as much as I experienced during A- levels. I do have quite a lot of free time during university when I think about it but that doesn't mean it's acceptable to slack. Fair enough first year doesn't count to your degree but it's very important if you want to apply to internships in your second year and in my case, a year in industry.

Friday, 15 November 2013

ACS in the city: Banking forum (31/10/2013)

"ACS in the City is a unique diversity talent attraction platform where leading private and public sector organisations connect with and attract high- achieving and promising black students from universities across the United Kingdom." :

Through my university's ACS (African and Caribbean society) I was informed about the ACS in the city banking forum. ACS in the city have and are also running a public sector, law and Google top black talent forum.

I decided to apply for this event because I felt that as a first year undergrad this would be the best time to be more active when it comes to my career because not long from now I'll be applying for spring weeks and placements. The application process was fairly straightforward. All that was required were personal details, CV and a couple of motivational questions. My advice when it comes to motivational questions is that to dedicate some time on them. It may seem really tempting to just answer the questions without truly taking your time to read what they are asking of you. When I answer motivational questions instead of filling it straight away on the application I create drafts on Microsoft Word. One reason why this is a good idea is because motivation questions normally have word limits so it's a great way to check the word count as you type. It's also really important that you answer the questions as best as you can within the word limit. This can be quite tricky because you may have loads to say but you can't say it all.

The day of the banking forum:

Friday, 18 October 2013

The beginning of university life..

Hey guys :) It seems like I've been neglecting my blog but I've just been quite busy as I moved into uni three weeks ago. For the first time readers I go to the University of Surrey and I'm studying Economics. This blog post is pretty much about my first three weeks at university and what I've been up to.

The moving in process was quite relaxed. My family and I decided that it would be best for me to move in on a Sunday which I had mixed feelings about because I didn't want to be the last person to move into my flat but then again I get to spend a bit more time with my family before I leave :) Luckily for me I wasn't the last person to move into my flat which was great. The people helping out on the moving in weekend were really helpful and we managed to get help with my bags to my room which made life a lot more easier.

I really like my room, it's much more spacious than my room back home lol. I was allocated a band C room meaning that I have a sink in my room but I share the toilet and showers with my housemates (There are 3 toilets and 3 showers). Now.. I share my flat with 13 other people! At first it seems like a lot but honestly it's quite fun. Before I arrived I had this image in my head that every morning will be quite stressful because people will be fighting for showers but it's totally the opposite. I feel like I'm really blessed because my housemates are really friendly so there's a good vibe around. In terms of the showers situation every since I have arrived there has never been a time where I've struggled to use the shower.

Now on to my course.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Update post!

This post is just to mention that I have changed the URL address of my blog to as I am starting my first year in university in a couple of weeks time. This means from now on my upcoming posts will be of my time in university and any events I attend during my time there which is why I felt to change the name of my blog :)


Monday, 2 September 2013

Royal Bank of Scotland Career Insight Programme (22nd August- 23rd August)

Last month, I attended a two-day career insight programme at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). This event was aimed final year A Level students who were interested in pursuing career in banking and to allow them to learn more about the Royal Bank of Scotland and what they do.

This event was held numerous times during August and there are a few more in September. The one I attended consisted of 24 students. The application process for this was held online were I had to fill in my personal details, qualifications and answer two motivational questions. A couple of weeks after I did that I received a phone call from a member of the Early Career team at RBS informing me that I have gained a place.

Day One:

The first day was held at the Bankside office. The day began with a mini networking session but this was with the students. We were all served breakfast and we had around 45 minutes to go around and get to know each other. It was a bit awkward at first because we were thrown into it straight away but I tried my best to move around and get to know others. We then had an introductory session into RBS. The person in charge of the event gave us an overview of what RBS is about and what opportunities they offer for undergraduates and graduates. Secondly, we heard from Jennifer Holloway, a personal brand specialist, who spoke to us about how to build on our personal brand. I found this really helpful as she really made us think about how you may be seen by others and how this could affect your impression on people. One thing that stuck with me was when she asked "What do people say about you when you're not in the room?", with the answer being, "Whatever it is, that's your personal brand." This really made me think about how I act when I first meet people and what could I possibly change to avoid giving the wrong first impression. After that there was lunch and then another guest speaker gave us more of an insight into RBS and the roles and responsibilities of the different areas of the bank which are :

  • Retail/ Commercial bank
  • Investment bank
  • Private bank (Coutts)
Furthermore, there were two other guest speakers. The first speaker was from Enactus which is a non- profit organisation which enables progress through entrepreneurial action and the second speaker was from The Prince's Trust. This section of the day was to inform us on how to make the most of university. I was quite attracted to Enactus and luckily they do work with the University of Surrey so I will be looking into that once I start. To end the day we got split up into groups of two and shadowed current summer interns at RBS. I got to shadow two interns who worked at Coutts which is the private bank owned by RBS. The students I was with and I got to visit the Coutts building in Strand, London which is really beautiful. It was different to see how quiet Coutts really is unlike the other RBS buildings and find out what the interns do there. The interns I met were so kind and gave a lot of good advice.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

A Level Results Day!!!

After waiting for sooooooooooooo long on Thursday 15th August 2013 I finally received my A Level results. This results day wasn't the same as others. This results day was extremely important as I was finding out what university I would be going to in September. Especially the night before, I was so so nervous but the day arrived..... I logged into UCAS Track at 7:30 am and discovered that I got into my firm choice the University of Surrey!!!!

I was extremely excited when I saw this as I REALLY wanted to go to Surrey. The campus is beautiful and the university is now 2nd in the Guardian League Table for Economics above universities such as LSE, Cambridge and UCL. I'm so relieved that all this stress is over. Literally, I spent half of my summer worrying about results day and now it's come and gone just like that. This post is a bit late but I have exactly a month left before I move in. I have so much shopping to do and prep in this space of time but surprisingly I'm really relaxed. It's quite daunting the idea of moving away from home. I question myself sometimes if I'll be able to cope but I guess this is all part of growing up.

In relation to my career progression, these were my A Level results:

Economics: A
Government and Politics: B
Maths: B

Monday, 29 July 2013

An Insight into HSBC (Wednesday 24th July 2013)

Last Wednesday (24th July) I attended the HSBC insight day at Canary Wharf. This event was advertised on the HSBC graduate careers website under the Pre- University Programme section.

I didn't manage to take a picture of the building myself but it is absolutely beautiful. It is incredibly tall and I was so overwhelmed by it. The inside is also very beautiful and modern, I was really impressed. The building has one of those see-through lifts and it was actually quite scary because I'm scared of falling from great heights so I tried not to look down.

The event took place on the 6th floor and all of us that attended were provided with refreshments before the day began. It was nice to be surrounded by other students who were interested in banking and weren't exactly looking to do the same degrees in university. There was also a mixture of males and females so this wasn't an insight day aimed specifically at females like some are.

Firstly, there was a brief introduction on HSBC's Balance Network who sponsored the insight day. The Balance Network aim to promote gender- balanced workforce. Additionally, there was sessions on an overview of HSBC, an overview of Markets and a Q&A session with four Analysts. These three sessions provided more of an understanding of what HSBC is about, what a section of investment banking is like and what it's like to be an Analyst at HSBC. This was followed by a networking lunch with members of all business areas. It gave us the chance to find more about the different types of sections in investment banking such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Sales and Trading. 

Monday, 15 July 2013

HSBC Work Placement 1/7/13 - 12/7/13

In the first two weeks of July I took part in the HSBC Work Experience Programme. 

I previously did a blog post on how I got onto the programme so if you haven't read it already here is the link:
Initially, my work placement was only meant to last one week but I managed to get it extended to two which was actually very beneficial.

On my first day I didn't do much but that was expected as I needed to settle in. I spent the majority of my time at the back office of the branch where the senior clerks sit. I will not lie there was a lot of filing to do but I guess that it's part of the job and that is part of the role of the senior clerks when dealing with paperwork.
I was also given a work experience booklet which included the history of HSBC and some information to help me learn more about the bank. 

I was also assigned a small project to interview one of the employees about their role etc. I have not completed that yet because the branch was quite busy during the two weeks I was there, but I will go back just to complete that as it is a part of the programme.

Over the two weeks I had set responsibilities given to me to do at the beginning and end of the day. I liked that because it meant that when I arrived in the morning I wouldn't have to wait on someone to tell me what to do, I could just go in and do my tasks. Every morning there would be a little meeting where the managers discuss the targets for the staff, how well they are doing as a bank and any praise they received from customers. On Tuesdays there would be a longer meeting of 45 minutes. This is where new campaigns would be discussed and any issues would be raised.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Update: Exams & Work experience

Hello everyone. I feel so bad for not blogging for so long but I must admit not much has been going on lately. I've been so consumed with revising and completing my final A Level exams so I haven't been extremely involved in much.

I just wanted to do a post just to show that I definitely haven't abandoned my blog. I just have a couple of updates:

  1. Firstly, from the beginning of July I'll be starting my unpaid work placement at HSBC that I previously blogged about. I think I initially mentioned that it was a one week placement but after talking to the branch I will be working at I managed to extend it to two weeks which is great! At the end of the placement I will be sure to do a blog post about what I got up to.
  2. I've finished my A Levels!!!!! This is an extremely huge relief for me. The past two years have been so intense especially the last couple of months but I'm done now and and I hope I've worked hard enough. Now, I'm awaiting my results to find out if I've got into my first choice university, University of Surrey  or my second choice, University of Kent. If you want to know more about that follow the link where my choices are explained.
  3. I'm just awaiting confirmation at the moment but I should be starting my virtual work experience throughout the whole of July. Yes, virtual work experience. I first heard about it through an email I received from Directions which is an online career service ( The virtual work experience is done through a scheme called Get In. Get On. I don't want to talk about it too much but I will do a blog post on it at the end of July.
That's all for now but like I previously mentioned my next blog post should be about my work placement at HSBC. I'm currently on my summer holidays and I know it's really important for me to relax but I'm trying my best to make it as productive as possible. I still have a job and I will be getting back into volunteering to complete my retail skills certificate after I took a break for exams.

Until next time :)

Monday, 15 April 2013

Deutsche Bank 'I Have a Dream' Program interviews

I was a bit hesitant when I was making the decision whether or not to publish this post. When I started this blog I knew that I wanted to give the best advice and share my journey into finance even if it included some downfalls so I guess it's the best decision to post this even though I'm a little disappointed.

I recently applied to Deutsche Bank's I Have a Dream Program which gives final year A- Level students an opportunity to take part in a paid placement in one of the banks divisions. I was attracted to this program because I am interested in a career in investment banking so I thought this program would provide me with an excellent first step into the career. The application consisted of the usual personal details, education, work experience details and a few questions such as, "Why do what to work in an investment bank?"

I really wanted to take my time with this application. There was a word limit on each of the competency sort of questions so it was really important that I answered the question to the best of my ability in order to display my interest. To do this I made sure that I also got advice from my college's careers adviser. When I was ready I sent off my application. I actually expected it to take a couple of weeks before I got a reply but less than a week later I received a call from Rare Recruitment. Rare Recruitment are involved in the program as they'll provide ongoing support and personal development for the students that have made it onto the program. They told me that I was successful and had made it into the first round on interviews. Afterwards, I received a follow up email providing me with details of the interview.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

HSBC Work Experience Placement Offer & Telephone Interview Tips

Hello :) So it's been a while I guess since I last did a post and I did mention that I would do one on telephone interviews. Before I begin I have some good news. I have been offered a place on the HSBC work experience placement.

This unpaid placement lasts for one week during July where I'll get:
  • An insight into HSBC's strategy, its history and its values
  • Experience of actual jobs that I'd be doing if I came to work for HSBC full time
  • An opportunity to work on an actual project and share my ideas with management
  • Tips on interview technique and presentation skills
  • Feedback and ideas on how I can develop myself
  • An opportunity to network with other employees in the amazing world of work
I'll also gain:
  • An invaluable insight into what it's like to work in financial services
  • An opportunity to come back for more work experience
  • An opportunity to keep in contact with HSBC

Friday, 8 March 2013

Results day: 7th March 2013 & UCAS update

For students that live in the UK we all know that yesterday was results day!!! Yes, I was definitely dreading it but I must say I was the calmest I've ever been in comparison to previous results days. Let me start with what I got:

Mathematics C3: A

Economics Unit 3: A

Economics Unit 2: B

Government & Politics- Governing the USA- Unit 4C: U

As you can see overall I didn't do too bad but I did fail my politics exams. It felt like deja vu because I was in the same position this time last year when I failed my first politics exam. At first when I saw the grade I wasn't that hurt because I was so mesmerised by my grade in Economics. I absolutely didn't expect to get an A because I never got to finish the exam which I was really upset about at the time. It's pretty scary that I have failed politics and I only have one chance to make it right but I'm really grateful that I have people around me that believe in me which is great!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Goldman Sachs- A Level Girls Inspire Programme- Friday 22nd February 2013

On Friday the 22nd of February, I attended what I would describe as an insight day at Goldman Sachs. This event gave girls who are currently doing their A levels an opportunity to find out what Goldman Sachs is all about. The event was held on two separate days with the first one on the 15th of February. I would say there was possibly more than 50 girls that attended the one I went to and we were all placed in one huge room on tables so we got to interact with each other. I was immediately impressed when I got there because it was the first time in ages where I have been somewhere and my name has been spelled right :)

Goldman Sachs building

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Brightside E-mentoring Awards: Thursday 17th January 2013

Happy new year everyone! I know I'm 26 days late but this is my first post of 2013. I mentioned in my previous post that I got nominated for an award by Realising Opportunities for 'Most Active Mentee'. Unfortunately I didn't win but it's an honour to be acknowledged by my e-mentor and Realising Opportunities for my participation.