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How can doing an industrial placement help your career

16 December, 2022Mutahara Gofur

Harry Walker (2)Are you thinking of doing an industrial placement? Harry Walker, one of our Investment, Finance and Risk (BSc) students, talks about his experience working at the Bank of England during his placement year.

Why did you choose to do an industrial placement?

I wanted to put my learning into practise and gain a much more technical understanding of the workings of the financial sector.

I also realised the benefits it would afford me when coming to find a graduate role. The graduate job field is competitive in the financial sector, and I thought experience from my placement year would put me in a good position against other candidates.

Hopefully, this placement will result in a permanent position being offered to me when I finish my degree. This allows me to focus on my studies in my final year of university.

What are you enjoying the most about your role?

Currently, I’m enjoying the routine of working a nine to five job. Working in student jobs has meant I’ve never had much structure in my day-to-day life, which can feel chaotic. I’m also enjoying the responsibility that my role entails and the respect which comes alongside this. It feels very empowering and is a great motivator.

What is the most interesting thing about your placement?

Learning about the inner workings of the Bank of England is very interesting. It’s great to get an insight into the working life within. One thing that has surprised me about The Bank of England is the range of diversity amongst the workforce and their commitment to promoting diversity. My initial perception of the bank and its operations is different to the reality, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised.

What have you found most challenging about transitioning from studying full time to working?

The level of responsibility I’ve been given in my role is very challenging. It’s different to responsibility in an educational setting, where you have more guidance. I’ve had to develop my initiative as a skill, which has been particularly important when working on individual projects.

What advice would you give to other students who are thinking about doing a placement year?

Really think about what fields of work interest you before applying for roles. I found economic based modules such as Foundations of Economics and Emerging Markets particularly enjoyable, so I decided to look for a role linked to these. Don’t pick a job based off the pay packet or prestige of the job, as it will get monotonous very fast when doing the role five days a week.

Research the company you’re applying for in advance of interviews and assessment centres. Look at the values the company bases itself on and how you can relate to them. Recruiters want to see you hold a personal connection or interest in the company.

If you land a job at the company of your choice, try and research your role in advance and find ways of upskilling yourself with knowledge that will be useful in the position. This way you can hit the ground running when you start your placement.

How has doing a placement prepared you for your career?

It's given me a great insight into what a role in the financial sector will be like after completing my degree.

I’ve realised how important it is to study and gain theoretical knowledge, to utilise in my future work. Also, the importance of trying hard and succeeding through good grades so that I can afford myself great opportunities in my future career. 

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