Name: Sanjay Hallan
Studied: The University of Manchester, BSc Computing Science (Hons)
Work Title: Developer for the Royal Bank of Scotland
What do you actually do? I currently work for The Royal Bank of Scotland and was accepted onto the graduate scheme for its Group Technology function in October 2007. I am working with a group of highly qualified people in a team called Image & Workflow. Collectively we design, develop and test a suite of business process management applications which are used nationwide.
Were you always interested in finance as a career? I was always found my self interested in technology. From my early primary school days where I was appointed “computer monitor” to finishing my Bachelors in Computing Science I always knew that I would end up working within the IT Sector. However, my aspirations changed a little when I did my A-Level in Economics which I found very enjoyable too. So I wanted to incorporate Computer Science with Economics and is probably the reason why I am working in the Banking I.T sector.
Has your disability affected your career in any way? I have a stammer and in the early days of applying for employment I had asked from some help on an online graduate banking forum. I outlined that I have a disability (speech stammer) and if anyone could give me any tips or suggestions on how to secure employment within the banking industry. The responses which I received back were pretty shocking in the sense that they could be very damaging to one’s self-esteem. The way I dealt with such comments was to work even harder. Sadly, in the world we live in, we are always going to come up against some sort of discrimination or prejudices. If you use common sense and logic to work through them, whatever your disability is, you will get recognised for this, and effectively you will have turned a negative into a positive.
How did you find out about your particular job? My first point of call was to visit the careers office, book a one-to-one with an advisor, and talk about what I wanted out of a career. If you’re totally lost on what you want to do after you finish universit, then definitely do this. Also I actively read newspapers, topic specific magazines and graduate websites. Along the way of doing this I began to understand and get an idea of which sectors, organisations exist and where I can see myself fit in.
What do you like most about your job and are there any downsides? I enjoy working with like-minded people, but sometimes we do have to work over the weekend when we have system deployments, although this doesn’t really happen that often). Even then, it’s pretty rewarding once it goes all smoothly.
What skills do you think you need to succeed? Common Sense / Logic – There’s a huge pressure on graduates these days to show various competencies, which don’t get me wrong are extremely important. However if you show a level of common sense and logic in your actions then these competencies should come more naturally to you. Team working – In the sense you must be able to take into account peoples behaviours, styles of working, how they want information to be explained/presented. From my experiences this ensures you get along with people and ultimately work effectively together.
Is there anything you would like to add? Having a speech stammer from a very early age I found it difficult to approach employment. I had many questions, How to find it? How to secure it? How to explain my disability? How will my disability effect my employment?
In relation to this my best advice for graduates with disabilities is to contact Employability (http://www.employ-ability.org.uk). They are an organisation that gives graduates tailored advice and being based in London they have strong contacts and links to various employers. I cannot express how much they have helped me in securing my job. The team gave me advice, guidance and support with several of my job applications, they spoke to employers on my behalf to explain my adjustment requirements. Working with EmployAbility gave me the confidence to apply to any jobs that I wanted to. They have been extremely supportive in every sense and graduates with disabilities should definitely take advantage of them.
Also make sure you make maximum use of the resources available to you at university, because once you leave they will be much harder to access and use. So put in the time now.