Interviews – Financial – Nicola Donnelly

Nicola Donnelly, 22, has worked as a graduate trainee for Flemings bank in London since receiving her degree from the University of Durham in 1999. We profile a graduate success and show you how to get your foot in the corporate door.

What exactly is your role?
I work as a graduate trainee in the Telecoms Sector at Flemings.

How does this relate to the rest of the company?
I look at the stocks for the asset management team.

How long have you worked for the company?
3 months

How did you get the job?
It was a day long procedure, with 4 half-hour interviews. It is fairly rigorous, but that is entirely what you would expect from a top company.

How many positions are there for graduates per year? Are there any entry requirements – eg 2.1 at degree?
In a typical year, about 150 graduates will be recruited. A 2.1 at degree is a necessity, but there are other hurdles to clear with regards academic and personal attributes.

What did your training comprise of?
It was three months of hard training, during which you had to adapt to a very steep learning curve, but it was outstanding in terms of teaching you how to be good at your job.

Is there or will there be much client contact?
There is when marketing funds, to a greater or lesser extent. Other than that, not as yet.

Did you know what to expect when you took up the role? Has it met your expectations?
We had regular meetings with our team, which told us what was expected of us and how we could achieve it. I have more responsibility than I had imagined I would. It can be quite daunting, but it is definitely a good thing.

How many hours do you work?
It very much depends on how much work I have to do. In order to be a successful merchant banker, a lot of hard work is required. On a normal day in terms of the amount of work I get, I would expect to be in from 8 until 6.

What does an average day comprise of?
There is no such thing as an average day! There are broker meetings, company analysis, company visits…

Which achievement have you been most proud of? / What has been the high point at your company to date?
My IMC exam was without doubt one of the high points, but working together as a team is what we are there for; it’s always fantastic when a group effort comes together.

Which characteristics in a person does your role require?
You need to have an analytical mind, be prepared to work in a team, be fairly numerate and have a dynamic personality.

What skills do you think you have developed from working for your company?
There are far too many to list, but I know that it has taught me how to work well in a team.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I’d love to continue to work for Flemings, but I have no specific plan and will take opportunities as they arise.

What advice would you give to undergraduates or recent graduates looking to find a job similar to yours?
It’s important to get relevant work experience in similar fields to the job that you are looking for and apply for positions early.

What is the starting salary bracket for graduates in your company?
Jobs of a similar nature in the city pay about 25-30k, but I’m not telling you what I get!!

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