Finance careers include key areas of banking, financial accounting, financial planning, insurance, investments, pensions, real estate, sustainability and fintech. You could find yourself in a multinational corporation, a small or medium sized business or enterprise (SME), or even a microbusiness or start-up enterprise.
Some recent University of Bristol graduates have gone into graduate roles in this sector as Financial Analysts, Tax Associates, Financial Planners, Risk Analysts, Financial Consultants and Investment Bankers, to name a few.
As a taster, here we draw together some top tips from our careers panel event on ‘How to get into Finance’ for Social Science and Law students on 25 October 2022.
Speakers Maya, Diane and Sarah joined from Nasdaq, KPMG and H.I.G. Capital respectively to explain their roles in finance, what it’s like working in their organisations, and practical advice on how to get into the sector.
Here are five top tips from our speakers:
- Get involved in extra-curricular activities during your studies – our speakers undertook a range of activities outside of their studies, including leading the Women in Finance society and completing the Bristol PLUS Award. Each has taken this proactive approach forwards into their career which has helped them to build networks and create new opportunities in areas of special interest, such as addressing the gender imbalance in leadership in the sector.
- If you don’t have a finance study background, don’t worry – companies want graduates from diverse study backgrounds. You can develop technical knowledge on the job, but you need to demonstrate the right attitudes, behaviours and skills to be successful. Gather evidence of your interest in working for the sector by joining relevant student societies, attending employer talks and engaging in networking opportunities.
- Fintech, sustainability and Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) are growth areas in finance, which means they are where the workforce is likely to be growing. These are useful areas to develop your knowledge of in relation to the sector – you might consider taking a short course, e.g. via Edx or Coursera (some of these are free).
- It can be relatively quick to identify what you don’t like, and take longer to identify what you do like in your career discovery process. If you’re not sure where in finance would be a good fit, start with some self-reflection and research, but also don’t be afraid to try out a role – moving jobs is common, and there will always be positive experiences to gain, even if the job itself doesn’t turn out to be a perfect fit for you.
- There are many networks and initiatives to support diversification of the finance sector who may be able to help you to get into Finance. Some examples are:
- 100 Women in Finance: offering free membership for students.
- Women in Banking and Finance Organisation
- Rare Recruitment – programmes for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidates interested in professions such as finance, law and consulting.
- Fairfield Enterprise – supporting young people from various under-represented backgrounds into Finance
- KPMG – first year Black Heritage Talent Insight Programmes in areas such as audit, consulting, deal advisory, tax & law and technology & engineering.
- The Parity Project (by Elba) – employability support for black men from London aged between 18 and 30.
- Diversity Solutions – events designed to help under-represented students including LGBTQIA students, students from under-represented genders and disabled students to develop an understanding of sectors including finance
- Fresh Look Banking – an investment banking insight event for female-identifying undergraduates of all degree disciplines.
- KPMG first year insights for women including deal advisory
- JP Morgan Winning Women programme – provides support for entering a career in financial services.
- 10,000 Black Interns
- Girls are Investors (GAIN)
Find out more:
- Watch the How to get into Finance event recording
- Read our short guide to Banking and Finance careers for links to further resources, industry insights and professional bodies
- Look out for other events with employers
- Blog post: 5 tips for applying for insight schemes and summer internships
Blog post written by Kathleen Kruiniger (Faculty Employability Adviser)