Friday, 30 September 2016

The Graduate: Jye

Name: Jye

Age: 21

Where and what did you study?
BSc Economics at UCL

What made you decide to go to university and study Economics?
I found Economics A Level really interesting and wanted to explore it further. I also felt that I didn’t know enough about the world to start a career straight after college, and so going to University would give me some additional time to find out what I wanted to do as well as meet new people.

What are you doing now?
I work for MW Eaglewood as a middle office graduate. The firm specialises in direct lending and P2P investment strategies as part of the Marshall Wace Hedgefund group. 

Have you always been interested in working in the financial sector?
Not at all! A lot of people in the industry have wanted to be an investment banker since they were a baby but, to tell you the truth, I didn’t even know what an investment bank was until my second year of uni! I’m actually really interested in Politics, and it was the importance of the financial services industry to economic growth and poverty reduction that really sparked my interest in the profession. 

What's been important in helping you get to where you are today?
There's definitely not a 'secret recipe' to securing a graduate job. My experience of university has been very different to lots of my friends in the industry. I personally had no contacts in the industry, and so I made a deliberate effort to go to as many society talks, presentations and training sessions as possible in order to network and find out about different areas within finance. I became the Social Events Officer for the Economist Society in my first year of uni, and then went on to become Director of Social Events at Enactus UCL (a social enterprise society). I’ve also had a variety of part time jobs since the age of 13: everything from working in a sweet shop, to being a club rep for two summer seasons in Bulgaria! These were all things that I spoke about in my interviews for a Summer Internship and, whilst I was rejected from 15 firms, I eventually secured a place at J.P Morgan. At J.P Morgan I made an effort to go for coffee with as many people from different divisions as possible, which led me to discovering more about hedgefunds and, ultimately, starting a career at one! I was also extremely lucky to have friends and family who were more than happy to go for a beer after each internship and graduate job rejection email, and encourage me to continue putting in as much effort as possible to secure a role.

What's your average working day like?
I get into work at around 7.30am to check my emails and eat some breakfast before the rest of the team get in at around 8am. I then spend my first few hours responding to any emails that require attention, and undertaking daily tasks that I’m responsible for. There's usually a meeting or a call that takes place in the morning, so I often attend these before heading to lunch. After lunch I work on any projects that I’m responsible for, and often meet someone in the firm for a coffee catch up. There's a real culture of innovation at the firm, and so I usually also take some time in the afternoon to look at current processes or materials, and see how they can be improved. I leave the office most days between 6.30 and 7.30pm, though this depends on how much work I have on.

Where do you hope to be in 10 years time?
I would love to be out on roadshows promoting the company and selling new investment funds with some form of managerial responsibility. I'm not 100% sure of the exact details yet because the industry is set to continue growing, and so it's unlikely that the current job exists.  

What advice would you give to recent graduates, and current students?
Do things that interest you, don’t just do things because everyone else does! My best grades at uni were the modules that I enjoyed, not the so-called 'easy modules' that everyone took based on other peoples' experience. Similarly the roles and projects that I have been praised for have been those that interest me. Also, interviewers and recruiters are really good at knowing if you’re interested in something or not, and that's something they will use to make their decision on whether to hire you or not! It’s also fine to be passionate about things other than your job: no-one wants to work with someone with no personality! Finally, if you don’t ask you don’t get! I remember at one society event, the CEO of Coutts bank did a presentation. At the end of it, I approached him and asked him if I could meet with him for a coffee to discuss private banking, to which he said yes, and resulted in him inviting me into the office for one of the most interesting and inspiring conversations I’ve ever had with anyone!

Jye, the economics graduate.


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