Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Where have I been?

Hi everyone! I actually apologise as I have completely abandoned this blog. I can't believe I haven't posted anything for over 2 years.

The reason for this post today is I received a comment today and I just couldn't believe people still read this blog and I'm so glad that people have been encouraged by it. The reason I started it in the first place was to encourage people who wanted to go into financial related jobs as I felt there wasn't much advice out there when I was looking a few years ago. A lot has changed with me and I can't believe I started this blog 5 years ago. Finishing A levels and university seemed such a long way to go but it's here already. It's interesting to see how at some point you think you are so sure and set on what you want to do in the future and you get there and it looks completely different or things didn't go the way you planned them to.
Not to worry this isn't a post of disappointment on not doing what I thought I initially wanted to do according to my '16 year old self' [first post back in 2011 I said I wanted to be an Investment Analyst] but a post of celebration that I made it through university graduating with a 2:1 in Economics and I am now working for Barclays.

In the last post I talked about doing a placement year in between my degree. I didn't end up doing that after all, I just did 3 years of university instead. I did no internships during university as well so it's such a blessing that I managed to get a job 3 months after graduation. I absolutely loved university and I'm so happy that I got to experience it, I met amazing people and had so much fun. It did get challenging at times with the degree itself but it all worked out!

If anyone does want advice on university feel free to ask by commenting. Anything from studying to staying in accommodation on or off campus and even commuting to university if you are in that situation- I have faced all three scenarios lol. Even job searching etc. I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do so I can give advice on such decisions too.

I'll give a little background into the job search scenario...
At the beginning of my final year I decided to apply for the Barclays graduate programme in Personal and Corporate Banking. Barclays and HSBC are two companies that for a while I had aspirations to work for. I didn't get round to applying for the HSBC graduate programme in Retail and Wealth management because I had to to also juggle studying and job applications can be quite time consuming. The reason I went for Retail banking graduate programmes were because I wasn't too knowledgeable concerning other roles in investment banking for example, compliance, risk etc. I didn't want to apply for a job just because of where it was or the name sounded nice and I wanted to know what I was talking about which I found really hard when it came to really connecting with these other roles (I hope this makes sense lol). With retail banking I had done work experience with Barclays when I was 15 and as stated already in another post on my blog I did two weeks at HSBC. So I applied to Barclays and got through application stage and was invited to the video interview stage however there was a slight dilemma. When I was invited to the video interview I had 3 mid terms tests for my degree to study for at the same time and there is only a limited amount of time I get to complete the video interview. I wanted to do the best of my ability for both the interview and the mid- terms so I had to sacrifice in one of the areas. Long story short I asked for an extension in the time needed to complete the video interview which thankfully I was given but unfortunately I was too late in submission which meant all the places on the graduate programme were filled up by the time I did it [late November/early December].

After this I gave up on applications for a while and decided to just focus on my degree because I knew I had to get at least a 2:1 as a lot of jobs ask for 2:1 and above. Until around April, I believe, two representatives from CapGemini (IT consultancy) came to visit my university and I heard about their Business Analyst graduate programme that I applied for. I managed to get all the way through to the Assessment Centre but because of timetabling issues to run the Assessment Centre I never got to attend it (by the time I was asked to attend I had already started my current job- I waited a longgg time basically).

So fast forward I finished my exams and it was now time to apply for jobs even though I was still waiting on CapGemini. I applied to quite a few jobs and through that there was a mixture of no responses to getting through to telephone interviews but no further. At this time I hadn't yet applied to the job I am currently doing. I then got an opportunity to attend an Assessment Centre with Experian for an Account Executive role. This was through the Graduate Recruitment Bureau. Unfortunately, I didn't get the role which did bring me down a bit because I was so close to getting a job and honestly anxiety did start to come in for me as I felt time was going and I still haven't found a job after graduation. After this, I spoke to a friend of mine and she encouraged me to ask myself what I would enjoy. Throughout this period after I didn't make it into the Barclays graduate programme, I had abandoned the whole idea of Retail Banking but honestly this is the only area of banking and finance that I had adequate experience of and quite enjoyed. So I came across vacancies in both Barclays and HSBC in the local high street branches. Within a week after applying I got a job in Barclays. It wasn't where I expected to be but after working there for over 3 months now I must say I am glad I have even gotten an opportunity to work for such a well known company and now the opportunities to progress are endless.

So in the end I can say I have ended up in the company that I've wanted to work in for years and I must say that it's important to evaluate what you actually what to do and don't despise small beginnings. I am definitely happy where I am now and I'm excited to see where I'll end up in the future.

I felt like it was necessary to share where I've ended up on this journey and I really hope you are encouraged to keep going!

Will I actually become and Economist one day? Who knows. I can't promise to blog regularly but you might hear from me again to see where I end up.

God bless xx

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