BSc Economics with German, Cardiff University, 2012
Executive Management Trainee at HSBC, since September 2012
What has been your path from graduation to your current post?
I was offered my current position after completing a Summer internship with HSBC during my penultimate year of study. This meant I could have started my career straight after graduating. However I thought it was important to take a break between studying and working so I spent a month travelling around Eastern Canada and a month in Spain before taking up my current post.
What are your main responsibilities in your current role?
My role varies widely from placement to placement. I am currently working as an Executive Assistant to the regional management team in the Corporate Banking division. This involves collating, analysing and presenting internal management information, organising regional meetings and working on various projects. Alongside my main role I am also learning how to analyse company accounts in order to be able to put together lending applications.
What are the most rewarding and most challenging aspects of this role?
The most challenging part of my role is managing my time effectively. I sometimes work to tight deadlines, and with complex information. I am also studying for a banking qualification, whilst constantly learning new skills at work. Despite these challenges, the satisfaction of completing a project successfully always makes it worthwhile.
How has your social science degree helped you at work?
Studying economics gave me a helpful insight into financial markets and the banking industry. I gained a lot of valuable knowledge and important tools which have helped me to pick things up more quickly at work. Combining economics with German also gave me an international perspective which is important when working for a global company such as HSBC. However the most important skills I picked up were the analytical skills, because these are more difficult to develop.
What do you think social science graduates can offer to employers that other graduates might not?
Rather than being a pure arts or science subject, economics combines a broad range of skills from numerical, to verbal reasoning, to analytical. Upon graduating, students have a large, transferable toolkit of resources they can take with them into a wide range of professions and sectors.
Any advice for sixth-form students considering studying social science at degree level?
A degree in social science will equip you with a wealth of skills to help you throughout your career, whatever you want to go into. The opportunities open to you upon graduation are far reaching, and in my experience looked upon well by employers across many professions. If you are not sure if it is for you then I would advise reading around the subject. In the case of economics it is also important not to be put off by the maths!