Focus on Finance 2017 (2nd-13th October)

20161011_191511Focus on Finance is our programme of events designed to showcase the range of areas in the finance sector you can work in. Employers will be visiting the campus to highlight their opportunities to QMUL students and give you a unique insight into their work.

There are many job opportunities in this field – corporate finance, financial planning, investment banking, insurance – and this is your opportunity to find out more about the sector, and network with your potential future employer.

What’s coming up?

Visit our Events page at for the full list of upcoming events, and to register your place. Select the event title below to book on to the event.

2nd Oct: Working in Finance – QMUL Stories

The financial sector opens up a wealth of opportunities to QMUL students. Meet our alumni, and have the chance to ask questions about their experience. We will be showcasing roles in economics, consultancy, investment banking, retail banking, professional service firms, insurance and the public sector.

3rd Oct: Working in Accountancy

Accountants are financial specialists at the heart of all areas of business. They work across various specialisations, including consulting, corporate finance and forensic accounting. Hear from accountants representing professional bodies and an array of firm sizes, to learn their experiences of entering the profession and preparing for chartership.

4th Oct: Working in Investment Banking

Investment banks are best known for their involvement in trading and corporate mergers and acquisitions deals. But be aware that there are many other types of job in the industry – for example, you could be monitoring political developments in the Eurozone, helping billionaires manage their assets, or working on your bank’s business strategy. These are all important parts of the business and there are exciting roles for graduates here. Hear from a panel of QMUL alumni who have made a success of this sector.

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Graduate story: Alexander Churakov


Hello everyone! My name is Alex. In the summer, I graduated from the School of Economics & Finance with a 2:1, wearing shorts to my graduation. True story. As it may be the case for the majority of students within the school, I went into the degree thinking that I wanted to work in finance. But this would go on to change and evolve over time. I haven’t ruled it out, but I have broadened my options.

In year 2, after going to my first lecture in Econometrics, I realised that, in some form, I wanted my career to be based around this. Unfortunately, there are very few roles going around at the graduate level and the majority of employers will want you to have a masters for these roles. Nonetheless, I’ve had some interviews in the Media industry for jobs based around Econometrics and Analytics. I am still trying to find exactly what it is that I wish to do, however.

Developing my skills

To further develop my skills whilst at QMUL, I joined the Economics Society as there are always careers related things going on. I attended an event where an interview coach taught us things that can be used to manage anxiety. For example: he showed us how to stop shaky hands and voice trembling. But also how power poses can influence one’s body language, which may come in handy before going into an interview.

During the second year of university, my friend ran for Economics Society president. In a group of friends, we distributed leaflets around campus and communicated the election platform to other society members. This helped me to develop communication skills and a degree of confidence in conversation, as I had to approach people I barely knew.

Careers & Enterprise

Soon after graduation, I started sending out applications and after a month of getting no replies, I decided to turn to the Careers & Enterprise Centre. There I received in depth face-to-face coaching and advice on my CVs and cover letters.

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10 Top Tips for Banking and Finance Applications

Application Adviser Emily gives us 10 top tips for preparing an application for a banking/finance role …

  • Check closing dates: The deadlines for applying to graduate jobs in this sector are very early in the academic year – sometimes October of the year before you would start the job. Internships too are advertised in the autumn semester. Start researching job and internship opportunities ASAP so that you don’t miss out. And don’t leave applications until the deadline; some graduate schemes and graduate jobs will close earlier than advertised if enough applications from qualified candidates have been received.
  • Understand the sector: Many students have a vague idea that they want to work in finance because the industry has a reputation for high salaries and challenging, exciting work. But you need to fully understand the way it works and the type of role you would be suited to. Research on the internet, read the financial news (for example the Financial Times) and consult the resources in the Careers Information Room. Attend networking events, where you can also get first-hand advice from companies’ recruiters. Your answers to questions about motivation in application forms and at interviews will be far more persuasive if you really understand the field and the requirements of different roles.
  • Read application forms carefully: Make sure you understand what is required by the application process of each company you apply for. Banks often have similar but slightly different application forms, for example – although the difference of emphasis in a question might seem minor, it might call for a quite different response. Also, some employers ask you to fill in a form, some ask for a CV, some for a CV and form, some for a CV and a cover letter – and there are many other variations! Make sure you have enough time to answer all the questions and prepare the necessary documents.

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Guest blog: Four Unusual Finance Roles You Should Consider…

Susanna Quirke, Inspiring Interns 

Like any career path, finance has its stereotypes – not all of them fair. This is a growing industry, and not just in the ways you might expect; it’s not all accounting, insurance and banking out there. So step away from the hedge fund, and check out our favourite unusual finance roles.

  1. … in not-for-profit

That’s right. Even charities need someone to handle the dosh. The financial world is often billed as a cut-throat place – a butcher’s floor with zero empathy. Show you’re different; work for a not-for-profit, for profit.

How to find the jobs? Check out specialist charity job-hunting websites. Look for accountancy firms which specialise in charity work, like Jackson & Jackson or Bourner Bullock. Passionate about environmental issues? Join one of the many large corporations hiring environment accountants – professionals tasked with managing pollution, reducing energy costs and obeying regulations.

Charities and NGOs are constantly struggling with financial challenges – your efforts will not go to waste, should you choose to apply yourself here. And let’s face it: you’ll feel like a superhero, too. Everybody wins!

  1. … in fashion

Love fashion? Style in the financial sector goes deeper than ice packs and brown shoe controversies. There are loads of jobs in this industry that call on financial skills and qualifications.

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*Business & Finance Fair next week* and other upcoming events

Business & Finance Fair, 11th October, 5-7.30pm, The Octagon

Do you want an internship or graduate job in the business or finance sector?  Want to connect with employers and find out the inside track so you can impress at interview? Interested in seeing which companies offer jobs for QMUL students?  

Organisations at the fair include: Bloomberg, CIMA, PwC, Willis, Towers Watson, HSBC, ICAEW, Lloyds of London, EY, FCA, Civil Service Fast Stream, Teach First, Moore Stephens, Mistubishi and more to be confirmed!

Come along to our Business and Finance Fair and find out about the range of work experience and graduate opportunities for you, whether you are a first year, finalist or postgrad. 

Book at


See these other great Focus on Finance events, and register below:

Business Game led by PwC, Thursday 6th October, 1-3pm

Employers are looking for you to have commercial awareness.  This business game will give you a unique chance to really develop your commercial acumen ina practical way, in preparation for work experience and grad job applications.  This game is similar to what you might have to undertake at an assessment centre – so it’s fantastic way to practise.  

Book at

Data Analytics Case Study led by Barclays, 12 October, 1-3pm

This workshop, run by a data science team at Barclays will cover a couple of real case studies drawn from their work.  It will be participatory and will give you a chance to see what a career in the growing industry of data science involves.  

Book at

Focus on Finance (3rd-14th October)

Focus on Finance is our programme of events designed to showcase the range of areas in the finance sector you can work in. Over 40 employers will be visiting the campus to
showcase their opportunities to QMUL students and give you a unique insight into their work. From Accounting to Investment Banking and beyond, this is your opportunity to find out more about the sector, and network with your potential future employer. 

What’s coming up?

Visit our Events page at for the full list of upcoming events, and to register your place. Here are a few highlights below, but see the link above for all events.

Tuesday 4th October: ‘Careers in Insurance – Discover Risk’ with The Chartered Insurance Institute

This session focuses on insurance and wealth management – it will include an overview of the Chartered Insurance Institute with case studies from graduates and a Q&A at the end.

Tuesday 4th October: Careers in Accountancy

There are many different strands to accountancy, and this session will look at the types of area you could work in at a large or small firm. The session will also take you through the qualification process, and look at topics like how you fit in ACA qualification with a working life. The event will be led by ICAEW and KPMG.

Tuesday 11th October: Applying for Insight Days and Internships

Attending insight days, and undertaking internships is more or less mandatory for a successful application to a graduate role in the finance sector. This session will go over the essentials of finding relevant work experience and will feature a discussion with current students talking about how they found their placement and what they did. 

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Bloomberg: top tips for success

We recently attended a university open day at Bloomberg to find out more about their graduate schemes and what they’re looking for in candidates. They recruit around 250 graduates a year (throughout the year), and about 100 students for summer internships. As with all graduate schemes, competition is fierce, with them receiving around 12,000 applications a year – so yours really needs to stand out!

Bloomberg’s graduate intake is spread across several key areas: Analytics & Sales (majority start here as Analysts), Global Data, Global Customer Support and Technical Support, and the application process consists of: 

  1. Online application
  2. Online numerical test
  3. Telephone/video interview
  4. 3 final interviews (with team leader, manager & head of department)

We’ve outlined some of their key bits of advice for students, and much of this can be applied to other schemes you may be applying to.

  • You don’t need to have a finance background. The key recruitment message is that they recruit from any degree subject (for most roles). However, candidates must have an interest in finance and be inquisitive in nature.
  • Tailor your CV to the job description and show evidence of the key skills required. This is crucial with any job application. You should always target your CV to the role you’re applying for, by matching your skills and experience with what the employer is looking for. Always send a new CV with each role you apply for, which is specific to that particular job. 
  • Keep your CV to one page. This goes against the usual rule of two sides, but does apply to finance roles. Bloomberg told us the strongest CVs they see are a single side in length, and clearly highlight your IT and language skills. 
  • Language skills are valued highly. Bloomberg officially supports 15 languages, so if you’re fluent in a second language, make sure this stands out in your CV and applications. Key languages required are: Russian, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Japanese.
  • But don’t over-exaggerate your language skills. Recruiters sometimes switch between languages in an interview situation, so don’t get caught out!
  • Do your research. Interviews will test financial knowledge, i.e. you should know key terms and processes. Developing your commercial awareness is essential as you may be asked about a recent financial news story. This applies to any interview – you should always research the organisation, role and sector thoroughly to demonstrate your knowledge and motivation for applying. Top tip – for a financial role, research financial market news and explain why it is of particular interest to you/your background, rather than stating obvious and general topics such as Brexit.
  • Demonstrate proactivity. The candidates who stand out are those who have used their time at university to develop key skills – through internships and work experience, but also by joining clubs and societies, and generally getting involved in activities and opportunities. For technology-based areas of Bloomberg, again you do not need a specific degree, if you can demonstrate technical skills through a hobby or society for example.

Where to look for further advice and information: