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How career support and hard work helped me get my graduate job with Bank of America Merrill Lynch

MSc Finance with Risk Management student Kejun Audrey Dong on how her course helped her gain the competitive advantage to get a role with a top investment bank.

A young woman smiling and looking upwards into the middle distance in front of a wooden wall.
Audrey found out about the Bank of America Merrill Lynch graduate scheme at a University careers fair

The School of Management really cares about students and their career prospects. I’ve definitely benefitted from this and am now getting ready to start working for Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London. It’s a really exciting opportunity.

Career development from start to finish

I found out about the job when I went to a University careers fair. I met a Global Risk Analyst from the bank, and he talked me through a few different roles within their risk department. It was very useful.

It was a tough process to get the role. Merrill Lynch only take a handful of people on their graduate scheme each year. I believe the support I got from the School of Management helped me to succeed.

My master’s degree has helped so much. As well as developing my finance knowledge, I’ve also had help building the skills I needed to get a job and lots of advice about work visas.

Expert advice and expert connections

My course included regular career workshops. We all learnt about writing CVs and covering letters, as well as what to expect from interviews and assessment centres. We had a mock assessment centre as part of this, which was useful for learning about what they are and how they work. This helped ease my nerves about doing the real thing.

Every time I completed an interview or assessment centre, I’d have a feedback session with my Careers and Professional Development Advisor. We’d have a discussion about how they went, both the good and the bad things.

One of the most useful bits of support I had was being put in contact with an experienced banker. He has worked for over 35 years in corporate finance. Being able to talk to him and get his advice and guidance was extremely helpful for me.

Building my confidence: ‘I took every opportunity I could to talk to people’

I’ve always been an introverted person. I was a bit concerned, because shy or modest people often don’t get the best roles in banking. You’ve got to push yourself to be more extroverted, outgoing and comfortable meeting and networking with people. That’s the biggest challenge I’ve faced, and I’ve improved at this. I took every opportunity I could to talk to people.

The Future Business Challenge (FBC) helped with this. FBC is a group activity for MSc students. We visited Ted Baker in London, Handelsbanken in Bath and Cheddar Gorge. We heard about the challenges they face as real businesses and spoke to employees about their roles.

At the end of this, we did a presentation on our FBC work. Doing this presentation in front of representatives from the businesses really helped me with my public speaking.

Working with other students was great. I’m from a pure accounting and finance background, but I worked with students from Marketing and International Management. Even though we all study in the same School, it was interesting to find that people have such different perspectives on a given project. This, of course, is what real working life is like.

Why I recommend the School of Management at Bath

I would absolutely recommend doing a master’s with the School of Management. It’s very challenging academically, and has given me the technical skills I’m going to need in my future banking work. The teaching staff and Careers Team really care about students. That is one of the most important things that I recommend the School for.

We also had various career opportunities and extracurricular activities like the Zurich Challenge, the Big Team Challenge, FBC, Global Residencies - loads of things. As a student, you can use these things to build your experience and enrich your CV.

The teaching staff and Careers Team really care about students. That is one of the most important things that I recommend the School for.
Kejun Audrey Dong MSc in Finance with Risk Management (2018)

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