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:

I was travelling from university so it was a very early start for me. The forum was held in Canary Wharf, London so it wasn't too bad because Guildford is only 35 minutes away from London by train. I went with someone on my course so I felt more relaxed because I was entering a situation where I wasn't completely on my own. Usually, when I go to insight days I am on my own so I didn't really have an excuse to be nervous this time round but when I do meet new people I tend to be really shy (but I'm trying to change that). We arrived 20 minutes early which was good as not many people were there yet. As people began to arrive the atmosphere felt a bit more relaxing and after an hour we were all told the event was ready to start.

The first talk was an overview of investment banking. Usually, at other insight days I have attended I haven't really been able to understand the set up of an investment bank. That probably could have been because I was hearing terms that I hadn't heard before such as equities and securities but this time it really made sense. Perhaps it was because one of my modules goes through this sort of thing a bit but I think this was the most informative overview I have heard which was given by a representative from Fitch Learning.

Furthermore, there was a panel session with senior bankers from various organisations. The banks that were represented on the day were Barclays, Goldman Sachs, Citi, JP Morgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley. Some great advice was given by the panel about going into investment banking such as: be open- minded; stay true to yourself and build on your commercial awareness. The day continued with a networking lunch, speed question time with interns and an etiquette workshop. The day really made me question what I want to do. Previously, I wasn't really open to the idea of working in HR (Human Resources) but after hearing more about it, it's definitely an option I am considering. To be honest, I haven't got a set idea of where I want to work or what I want to do specifically anymore but that's the beauty of this blog. In a couple of years time it'll be nice to see my progression and the choice of career path I decide to pursue . That's what I love about studying Economics. I'm open to a wide variety of roles and opportunities!!

I decided to keep this short and sweet but if you are thinking of going into banking it's great to take up these opportunities and attend events like this. You will not only meet new people but you learn a lot and find out things that a lot of other people don't know. It also makes a good impression on employers that you apply to in the future. It's definitely something to mention in an application especially if it was an event that the bank you are applying for hosted!

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