Degree: Economics and Management, 2.1, Royal Holloway, University of London
Year of graduation: 2005
Occupation: Graduate trainee area manager at the Royal Bank of Scotland
What do you do in your job?
The graduate programme consists of four placements. I’m currently on my first, which lasts six months. The aim is to get to know what goes on in a large branch. I started off shadowing people in all the different roles, ranging from cashier and service co-ordinator through to customer adviser and manager. I was then ready to do some of the things that each role involves. Lately, as I’ve become increasingly settled into the bank, I’ve been given projects such as coaching the cashiers on product knowledge. My next placement – also six months long – will be in a smaller branch, where I’ll act as assistant manager. Then I’ll have two three-month placements, first working alongside an area manager and then alongside a regional manager.
What was your motivation in applying?
I’d worked in finance before, and liked the fact that it brings new challenges each day. Retail banking appealed because I liked the idea of a client-facing role. The graduate programme at RBS was particularly attractive because it offers access to senior management from day one, so I get to ask questions of people who are already in the roles I aspire to.
What did the application process involve?
The online application form consisted of competency-based questions. Next, I was invited to do an online verbal reasoning and numerical test. This was followed by a phone interview and, finally, a day at an assessment centre, where I did tests, presentations and group exercises. Although the day was intense and tough, it was efficiently run and relevant, and I heard back within a few days that I’d got the job.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I love the interaction with customers, and the fact that I’m working towards a management position with a lot of responsibility. I enjoy the variety, too. Each week, I do something new.
The most challenging part of your job?
Balancing the qualification I’m doing with the day-to-day work. I’m almost always at work until 6.30pm. By the time you get home, it’s very difficult to motivate
yourself to start studying.
Any qualifications involved?
I’m studying for a chartered banker qualification, which involves four modules a year in areas such as financial management and business law. I have to do both essays and exams. Although studying on top of day-to-day work is tough, the benefit is that it gives you a good theoretical understanding of why certain processes are in place within banking.
Advice to readers considering a career in your field?
Be proactive, as it will get you noticed, and you’ll also learn more and progress faster. For example, all I’m expected to do in my current placement is gain a general understanding of the roles. But when I noticed that there’s a private banking team here, I asked if I could shadow the private banking manager for a week. I did the same with business and commercial banking.