Student story: How I networked my way into an internship

Being a first year Economics student, I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do in the future. I decided to go to the Careers & Enterprise Centre at Queen Mary and find out what options were open to me. This turned out to be some of the most helpful advice I had ever been given in terms of improving my CV, finding out what spring internships were available and how I could go about furthering my knowledge of economic news.

After a few weeks, I heard about an event hosted by Careers & Enterprise for the School of Economics and Finance called “LinkedUp”.  Here students would meet professionals in the finance industry who were alumni from QM. Each student met two professionals on a 1-2-1 basis and we were given plenty of time to ask questions about their jobs and if they had any helpful advice for us related to university or finding a job.

After the meeting, I felt reassured as I gained a better insight into what different working environments were like. One of the finance professionals I met  did postgraduate study at Queen Mary and now works in private wealth management. She asked me to produce a research paper on the economies of China, Japan, the US and Europe. Even though it was a tough and daunting task, I managed to get through it and after a month (it took very long, I know!), I hand delivered my paper to her. Little did I know the visit to her office would turn out to be an interview with her and the CEO of the company.  Although it all came as a shock to me, I wasn’t particularly nervous as the Careers & Enterprise Centre had given great interview advice. After a couple of weeks, I was offered a 10 week summer internship which was a very pleasant surprise!

I began my summer internship in June and have learnt so much. I understand financial terms that I never knew even existed, I can question people on the validity of economic data and I have also been able to master the Bloomberg terminal. Having a meeting or two every other day with fund managers became a normal part of my internship and was probably one of the most exciting aspects, as I got to meet incredibly intelligent and attention-grabbing people. Understanding what private wealth management is about and the different investment techniques used with high net worth individuals was what interested me a lot as it is one of very few jobs that is essentially client focused.

I have to reiterate that going to career related events and using the Careers & Enterprise Centre can really improve your job chances. Being in your first year and going to career events does not mean you have to make decisions about your future straight away, but in fact it will help shape your future and give you a better understanding of the options available to you. I am so thankful I went to the career related events at the beginning of my first year, as I was able to implement the help and advice I was given at my interview and obtain the first year summer internship. Now, I have even been offered a graduate job with the company!

Ria Shah, Economics and Finance student

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