Degree: Computer Science and Management, 2.1, Edinburgh University
Year of graduation: 2005
Occupation: Structurer of commodities and derivatives at Citi
What do you do in your job?
We get requests from clients to price up option structures, which we then issue to those clients in the form of a note. Clients may be internal or external. External clients can be anyone from your mum and dad to someone on the street, who contacts us via a retail bank. These clients believe that, say, oil will go up in value during the next year, so they ask us to structure a product that will pay them x per cent if their belief is correct. We structure that product, package it up into the form of a note, and then issue it to them.
What was your motivation in applying?
I wanted to work in the financial industry because it’s such an exciting environment, and because of the quantitative aspect of the jobs involved. Also, at A-level and degree level I’d done a lot of maths, and I wanted an occupation centred on that. I wanted my first job to be in a leading bank because they tend to foster talent and push you forward through strategic programmes. I opted for Citi because I’d spent a couple of days here while at university – via a Women and Finance programme – and the people here encouraged me to apply for an internship. I liked the idea of a front-office job because you get to interact with so many people, and it’s so fast-paced.
What did the application process involve?
Having done an internship for three months between my third and fourth years at university, I was invited to apply for a full-time position through the graduate recruitment process. This involved sending a CV and covering letter, after which you’re contacted by HR with an interview date. The interview generally lasts a whole day, and consists of initial tests, some group work
and a presentation.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I love the fact that it’s so fast-paced, and different every day. It’s pressurised, but good fun.
Most challenging part of your job?
When I first started here, there was just me doing the job. We’ve since hired other people, but it’s been a bit like building a business from nothing. That has been challenging, although exciting, too.
Advice to readers considering a career in your field?
First, keep an eye on what the markets are doing. You don’t have to read the Financial Times every day, but gaining an idea of the market always gives you a good basis for getting a job in this industry. Second, I’d advise people to apply for an internship between your middle and last years at university. Citi like to hire people off the internship programme, so it’s a good way of them trying you out and you trying them out before committing to a full-time job. Finally, check out whether there are any sponsored events that you can take advantage of – such as a Women and Technology or Women and Finance day – where you get to see what goes on in the industry itself.