Name: Lawrence Freeman
Degree and University: Politics and Sociology at the University of Exeter
Title: Barclays Commercial Banking Graduate Scheme
What do you actually do? Currently I’m on my first placement as a Commercial Banking Assistant Manager. I provide support to a Barclays Relationship Manager by helping a portfolio of clients, by providing solutions to meet their financial needs.
Were you always interested in this area as a career? As a student, I never thought I’d go into financial services, but having graduated I did temporary work that whetted my appetite for banking. I made sure I took opportunities to do more work experience in the area to increase my understanding of what financial jobs entailed.
How did you find out about this particular career/job?
I suffer from dyslexia and so got in contact with Employability. They sent me an email about Barclays Commercial Bank Summer Internship, for which I applied. After my interviews, the Graduate Scheme staff offered me a place on the programme and I jumped at the opportunity.
What do you like most about your job and are there any downsides?
The two things I really love about my job are the people and the opportunity to be part of a global organisation. However, you can get issues that are outside your remit, but as the contact point for your client, you must take ownership. This can be frustrating at times, as how ever hard you try, you are ultimately waiting for someone else to help you deliver a solution.
What do you think are the most important skills/strengths you need to make a success of what you do?
1. Good people skills/networking – Whether you’re talking to a client or colleagues it is important to build relationships. It will make your working day more enjoyable and effective if you can rely on people and they in turn can rely on you.
2. Be organised – There are always many things to do, so create a system with which you are comfortable to make your day as productive as possible.
3. Up skill – Take every opportunity to learn more. Even if it seems mundane at the time, many things will pop up in the future.
What would be your best piece of advice for graduates wishing to come into this sector? Do your research. Some students tend to be blinkered about what financial services encompass: it’s not all about investment banking. There is a huge range of disciplines, each with its own job opportunities. I’d suggest that graduates should be prepared to look at as many as possible to find the one that suits them best.