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Blogs – Life after the Awards

Going into my final year of university with the security of a graduate job offer in place was a real relief from the stresses you encounter in the final push to graduate. While many of my friends had to balance assessment centres alongside revision, I was fortunate to have the space to focus on my studies. This was a direct result of having applied for the ‘One to Watch’ category of TARGETjobs’ 2017 Undergraduate of the Year, becoming a runner-up in the finals and securing a paid internship with First Names Group that summer.

This year, after spending a carefree summer backpacking around Eastern Europe and travelling down the east coast of the US, watching the Boston Red Sox play at Fenway ahead of their World Series win, I arrived back in Jersey in September to begin First Names Group’s new and exciting graduate scheme. A two-year programme in which I will rotate around the business every six months, not only into new and challenging roles but to different locations. With operations in 22 jurisdictions worldwide, there promises to be some exciting opportunities! This rotation approach will provide a unique experience and great exposure to different job roles, managerial styles and the diversity of cultures across the global group. Crucially for me, it suits my nomadic nature, tying in my thirst for travel with a great platform from which to kick-start my career. I mentioned this as an aspiration in my last blog post for the awards, so it’s great to already be putting it into action.

I’m continuing my journey back where I left off, with the award-winning Funds division, but this time as a fully-fledged graduate. My role is within the client on-boarding team, which performs the crucial function of incorporating new entities into the business and establishing the associated regulatory workflows. This has by no means been a simple transition; there are the inevitable learning curve hurdles and a need for resilience. I have moved away from my comfort zone of marketing work and entered into a world of highly technical structures, with terminology that at times appears as another language.

Although consistently challenging, the journey is proving to be of great benefit to my personal development. It has aided my learning in an area of the business I never thought I’d be able to comprehend, and there is great satisfaction in overcoming these challenges. My knowledge of the funds sector has grown substantially already and crucially so has my self-awareness of how I work. I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in the Group’s ‘Explorer’ development programme for high-potential individuals, discussed in greater detail in Alex’s recent blog, which has put much of my continued development and awareness into practice.

For my next rotation I will be setting up my transient home in London, taking the lessons learned from my time in Jersey with me, the experience leaving me better equipped to face a new set of challenges. My journey began with the Undergraduate of the Year awards and has continued with the support of First Names Group. This is the story of someone who was not the billboard winner, but who has benefitted immensely from the awards. With that in mind, I sincerely hope this blog encourages someone to apply who might otherwise not, discarding any weight placed on them to be the overall winner. Recognising that no matter what stage you reach, even in just applying, there is something to learn from the process that you can take forward in your own journey.