BSc (Hons) Accounting and Finance -
What our students say about Placements
Placement: UBS, Global Asset Management
“During my degree in accounting and finance in my work placement year I had the opportunity to work at UBS Global Asset Management. I was based in the Operations unit which focuses on OTC (over the counter) Derivatives products. My role rotated so that I gained responsibilities in different parts of OTC Derivatives. I’ve had exposure to collateral management, settlements, and reconciliation processes within the range of OTC products.
Working at UBS has not only enhanced my financial knowledge, but also my soft skills, such as prioritisation, time management, working under pressure, IT skills and effective organisation. Furthermore I’ve gained an understanding of office culture; dealing with different people’s expectations and improving my networking skills.
The opportunity to experience a real life working environment has definitely been the highlight of the degree so far and one which I feel is an excellent stepping stone to my future career path.”
Placement: Lloyds Banking Group, Modelling Support Analyst
“When I joined Lloyds Banking Group in June 2008 it was still Lloyds TSB. To have worked in a company that has been making the headlines and been involved in a huge takeover wasn’t how I imagined my placement would go, but I’ve learnt so much because of it. Not only have I developed a better understanding of the banking world and the economic climate, I’ve also got to see how the company and employees react to takeover news from an internal perspective.
Working as a ‘Modelling Support Analyst’ I’m part of the Propensity Modelling group. My team builds models that use statistical analysis to predict the behaviour of our customers in the future so we can target the most responsive customers with direct mail campaigns. My main responsibility is to monitor these models and to ensure that they are working, but I’ve also been able to build a few which are currently used around the business.
I’ve learnt a variety of different skills on placement, many of which I can carry forward to use in my final year and beyond. In addition to the technical skills I’ve also developed a lot of “soft” skills such as communication, teamwork and presentation skills.
The placement year has definitely been the highlight of the degree so far. Although I’ve missed aspects of university life I really enjoy the structure of working full-time and being able to apply the skills I’ve learnt to business situations.”
Placement: Microsoft (UK Services CPE)
“At Microsoft, you don’t get treated any differently because you’re a placement student - far from it. They’re keen to give you real responsibility for important projects, plus you get the added benefit of exposure to different areas across the business.
On a day-to-day basis I co-ordinate customer and partner satisfaction surveys and report the results to our management team. I’m also involved in a series of projects to do with improving customer satisfaction. At the same time, I’m part of a team organising the induction week for next year’s interns. (I just hope they enjoy it as much as I did!)
Whatever you’re doing, you get the support you need to make a success of it. My mentor and I meet up once a month or so to grab a coffee and have an informal catch-up about how I’m progressing. During this, we also discuss my career plans after placement year. Whenever I want to meet someone in a different business area to get an insight into their work, all I have to do is ask.
Everyone sits together in open plan offices – even the high level managers – so there aren’t any physical barriers to communicating with them. If you want to ask them something, you can just pop over to their desk and have a chat. As you can probably tell, it’s a very open and relaxed culture.”
Placement: Credit Markets Operations Analyst, JPMorgan
“Being on placement with JPMorgan at the time of the credit crunch was truly an incredible experience. I began my placement by spending equal time on two complementary teams, a ‘Business As Usual’ team and a Global Projects team. However, I found myself more interested in the projects team after settling into the company. Here, my role involved achieving more efficiency through the respective systems used for trading credit derivatives. I promptly found myself joining market calls, chairing meetings with other teams, and working with groups across lines of business and regions in order to meet market demands and better JPMorgan’s position in the broker-dealer community.
The highlight of my experience was unquestionably the acquisition of Bear Stearns and the sequence of events which have followed since the initial takeover proposal. Working with JPMorgan as a Credit Markets Operations Analyst has not only increased my knowledge in credit derivatives, but has also aided my personal development in areas such as delivery and leadership.”
Placement: PricewaterhouseCoopers (LLP – London I&IM)
“A PwC placement offers a variety of work that is both interesting and challenging. You combine study at college towards an ACA qualification with client work, and therefore need to be willing to work hard and flexible to meet the various demands of the job. You follow an induction programme that lasts 16 weeks, and are expected to travel around London and the surrounding areas to attend the numerous training courses and client sites.
Once the initial training period is over you are assigned to clients and you become involved in an audit. In most cases clients are based in London, but depending on where the client’s Head Office is located you may be expected to travel and stay in hotels for the period you are allocated to that client.
There are numerous opportunities at PwC from coaching to secondments, and once established you can take your career in the most appropriate direction for you. PwC employees are kind and helpful, and there are regular social events every month to ensure everyone has a good work-life balance. The interview process is long and requires a lot of background research and thought, but I would conclude that this is worthwhile since you can obtain a well paid, interesting and varied job out of it. There is also the opportunity to be offered a job after you graduate.”
Placement: Goldman Sachs Client Money - Global Control
By far the best aspect of doing my work placement at Goldman Sachs has been the fact that no one knows I am on work placement! From the very first week I have been given responsibilities and now, after just a year, I am the third most experienced member of the team.
On a daily basis I help to manage projects, train other members of the team, put on presentations for other areas of the firm and help instigate improvements to our work processes. The culture of GS is very team orientated. Everyone’s opinions and ideas are valued and put into action and knowledge sharing is expected - people encourage you to ask lots of questions and have been really generous with their time for work shadowing.
I have really enjoyed my time at Goldman Sachs and have learnt a lot - not just about my area, but about how the whole firm functions.