What was the application process like – do you have any advice?
As to be expected, the application process was a rigorous procedure. It began with submitting your CV and answering a range of competency questions, followed by online tests, a telephone interview and an assessment centre. Although it’s tough, I believe this thorough process helps bring the best out of applicants and makes it that bit more rewarding when securing the job offer.
Why did you choose to do an internship?
When I set off to attend university I had already taken an interest in pursuing a career in banking. I actively went out of my way to find out the best way to gain experience of the industry. I spoke to a wide range of people, from older students to careers advisers, all of whom stressed that there is no better way to gain experience than an internship. It was therefore a natural decision for me to embark on one.
What skills are useful in the finance sector?
A key lesson which I learnt early on in the internship, and abided by for the duration of the programme, was the importance of networking. By actively seeking to meet with people from various divisions across the bank, I was able to progress my understanding of different product areas. I was then able to apply this insight to daily tasks, helping me to perform them more effectively.
Is it a 9-5 job?
One of the best things about the internship was that there was no stereotypical day in the office. Different tasks can be assigned to you throughout the day alongside meetings, which could be scheduled either weeks in advance or on the day itself. I believe such variety is a key attraction of the internship in keeping you motivated and helping you enjoy the work that you undertake.
What were your main duties?
There was great variety in the tasks I undertook. There were still main duties required on a consistent basis, however. These included relationship mapping, compiling presentations for my line manager and evaluating client ‘wallets’ in attempt to identify potential opportunities for future business. All of which enabled me to learn a great deal about HSBC’s extensive product suite and their diverse client base.
Do you have any advice for someone seeking an internship?
Yes, I can’t stress enough how important it is to be proactive about the whole process.Make use of all resources available, such as careers advisers at university, employer events and any friends or relatives who may already work in the industry. Alongside this, make sure that you are familiar with what is happening in the markets and general financial news. Set Bloomberg or the Financial Times website as your homepage to help you get into a habit of doing this.
What would you like to achieve in the future?
Upon completion of the programme I was offered a graduate role at the bank, on the condition that I attained a 2:1 or higher degree classification. The internship thus enabled me to focus on my degree in my final year, at a time when most students struggle to balance their study workload with job applications. HSBC offers an array of opportunities for development and I am now fortunate enough to be able to pursue those as I progress through my career.