Blogs – My Undergrad experience

Deciding what you want to do once your time at university comes to an end is a daunting prospect, especially if like myself, your interests are many and varied. This is one of the main reasons I chose to apply for the 'One to Watch' Undergraduate of the Year, as I felt the award criteria reflected my personality, motivation and wide-ranging interests.

The financial industry is also an area which I am very keen to learn more about and gain experience in, so the internship on offer by the sponsor company, First Names Group, as part of the award was an exciting prospect. In all, it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

The application process was challenging but interesting. It involved writing three small essays on questions asked by First Names Group, which required a strong knowledge of the company and its areas of interest. There were also a series of numerical reasoning and situational judgement tests to complete. The phone interview and assessment centre day stages were a good reflection of the graduate job application process, which was great practice. A definite high of the competition was getting to meet and spend time with the other candidates at the assessment centre. Although we were in competition with one another, we got along very well, went out for dinner together at the end of the day, and have kept in contact ever since!

Reuniting with everyone at both the champagne breakfast that First Names Group hosted before the main awards ceremony and the awards ceremony event itself was a pleasure. At the event, we had the chance to meet and network with finalists and company representatives from the other categories, another great opportunity. The standard of all the candidates in the room was exceptionally high, so when it finally came to the ‘One to Watch’ award winner announcement at the end of the ceremony, I was extremely delighted and surprised when my name was read out. Embarrassment was quickly added to the mix, when I realised the profile I had written about myself was going to be read out. Thankfully this part was over quickly, and what followed was a number of photographs, many congratulatory handshakes and finally, the afterparty, a fantastic way to end the day.

As part of the award, I will get to spend 10 weeks over the summer interning with First Names Group in both their Jersey and Hong Kong offices, which I could not be more excited about.

We caught up with Christina after her internship and here's what she got up to...

47 days in Jersey

My first day with First Names Group was a whirlwind of introductions to every person in the office, tours by the marketing team, new starters’ training, conference calls and meetings. One thing I quickly realised was that everyone who works in finance speaks a different language, one filled with strange acronyms and terminology that made following what was going on in the initial meetings I attended a challenge. However, everyone was more than happy to explain anything I didn’t understand, and I quickly became comfortable and confident that I could keep up in the meetings I attended.

As part of the internship, in my third week I had the pleasure of joining the Hong Kong team for an amazing week of sightseeing, cultural immersion and a flavour of how things operate differently in the Asian financial markets. Some of the things I got up to in my free time included visiting Victoria Peak; spending time at a number of local markets including Sham Shiu Po and Ladies’ Market; visiting the Big Buddha; going to the races in Happy Valley; and visiting Man Mo Temple, Victoria Prison, Cheung Chau Island, Stanley and enjoying a fantastic Sampan ride. I also had just enough time to sample some of the nightlife that Hong Kong had to offer, with bars such as Ozone and Ce La Vi becoming my firm favourites.

Upon my return, I was back in funds for a further three weeks. What I enjoyed most about my time here was learning about the processes behind funds, such as the typical life cycles of open ended and close ended funds, as well as the different types of fund structures. I even had the opportunity to attend a board meeting in Guernsey! Five weeks with this part of the business went by quickly and also involved a move to some swanky new offices, which was an exciting time for everyone.

I spent my last two weeks in private client, which was a fantastic experience. I had the opportunity to meet with a number of people who explained how different aspects of the trust world worked, sit in on lots of meetings concerning different clients and get to grips with a new array of acronyms and terminology not present in funds. From real estate, classic cars, yachts and aircrafts, to just plain old money, the trust world is never boring and the global spread of clients made it all the more interesting. Discovery meetings became the meetings I most looked forward to attending, as they gave a great insight into all the information which must be considered before a new client is taken on, for example the potential impact of sanctions and changes in the geopolitical environment.

I definitely learnt a lot in throughout this eight-week internship.

I was lucky enough to experience Jersey in glorious summer conditions, which meant that much of my free time, especially my weekends, was spent outdoors. You mainly would have found me at sea, kayaking, paddle boarding or surfing. On the occasions I spent my time on land, I was a typical tourist, visiting sites such as Elizabeth Castle and the many beaches of Jersey, of which Beauport became a favourite. During the week on sunny afternoons, the local St Helier beach was a great way to relax and during low tide (when I was felling extra energetic), the half an hour walk to St Aubin with its various bars and restaurants was an enjoyable experience. I also sampled much of the cuisine that Jersey had to offer, with some of my favourite meals being at Quayside, Sangria, Manos and the Crab Shack, all of which I would recommend. However, the Salty Dog restaurant in St Aubin earns the top spot on my places to eat out in Jersey.

Overall, my time with First Names Group has been great and I have enjoyed my summer in Jersey, not forgetting my week in Hong Kong and yes, even my day in Guernsey (Channel Island humour). Without a doubt the best part about the experience has been the wonderful people that I have met and worked with, who shared their knowledge with me, answered my many questions and let me sit in on all their meetings. There are far too many of them to name here, but I would nevertheless like to extend my gratitude and thankfulness to all of them. It wouldn’t be a cliché to say that the people made this internship so great, and I very much look forward to coming back to Jersey in the future.