Degree: Mathematics, 2.2, Queen Mary, University of London
Year of graduation: 2004
Occupation: Management trainee
at Lloyds TSB
What do you do in your job?
I’m in my third of four six-month placements, which together make up the rotational graduate programme. My first placement was in the area of travel money. I helped to roll out – from 50 to 450 branches – an initiative whereby banks become stocked up with euros and dollars so that customers don’t have to order them in advance. My second placement was in our retail network, where I worked for a local director – who typically oversees 10 to 15 branches. Because I wanted to take ownership of something within that placement, I asked to be in charge of home insurance. I was tasked with improving sales in that area. My current placement is as executive assistant to one of two managing directors in charge of products, who are based in head office. My managing director is in charge of consumer banking and my everyday tasks include helping him prepare for presentations, analysing press cuttings about the bank and our competitors, and attending meetings with him. Among the specific projects I’ve been involved in are working on a finance reporting pack, which the executive team and directors use at their monthly meetings.
What was your motivation in applying?
I’d worked in other retail outlets, and liked forming customer relationships. As for Lloyds TSB, although it wasn’t doing as well as other banks when I applied, it nonetheless had the most branches and current account customers, so I could see its huge potential. I also liked the diversity of the rotational graduate programme, which gives you opportunities to work in areas ranging from finance to marketing, and from sales to HR.
What did the appplication process involve?
The first round was an online application form, which focused on your experiences and tested your competencies. The next round was an online maths test, followed by a telephone interview. Finally there was a day-and-a-half at an assessment centre. That was packed with seven tasks, ranging from group activities to interviews and from role play to written exercises.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I enjoy getting to meet and work with people at all levels within the bank. On the development days – where graduates and senior executive people meet – you get to ask a lot of questions of very senior people. It’s good that the hours are flexible, too.
The most challenging part of your job?
You are expected to leave your mark in each of the four placements. You go in knowing nothing about the area of banking, yet you’re expected to adapt to it, and deliver tangible results, within six months. It means you have to be on the ball all the time.
Any qualifications involved?
I was looking into doing the CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) qualification. But I think I’ll have a chance to do that later on, so I’ve decided against it for now.
Advice to readers considering a career in your field?
Remember that you need to stand out from the crowd – academic credentials alone are no longer enough. So while you’re at university, make sure you get involved in lots of extra-curricular activities. When it comes to the interview, you will then be able to call on these as examples.