Most Wanted: Finance

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Graduates seek careers in the hotly contested Finance sector for more than just the money.

According to data released by, many graduates consider careers in the Finance sector above other industries. 22% of site users over the past five years have expressed an interest in Finance, putting the sector only shortly behind the top three choices of Management, Marketing and Banking.

George Camsell started his career in Finance on the Analyst Graduate Scheme at Citi Bank after studying Economics and Management at Oxford University. George is now an Investment Associate at a hedge fund, and though he admits Finance careers often offer high salaries, he believes money is not the only thing drawing graduates to the sector.

"The starting salary for a graduate [in Finance] is among the highest out there, but there is so much more to it," he says.

"The Finance industry in London is large and it hires a decent number of graduates straight from university. Nonetheless, it is also an industry that is continuously moving, very fast-paced and highly competitive so it offers graduates a wide range of opportunities."

George himself didn't plan for a career in Finance, but rather found it to be a viable choice once he started considering his options.

"I kind of fell into Finance. I was approaching the end of my second year of university without a clear plan in place for when I graduate," he says. "Many others doing the same degree took the path of investment banking and finance or management consultancy, so I followed suit. I applied relatively late and had to submit more than 30 applications but I was fortunate to get an offer in the end."

George managed to land a place on a summer placement programme, which helped him learn more about industry and prepared him to move forwards in his career.

"I did an internship in Corporate Broking, which provides market and financial advice to UK-listed public companies," he says.

"However, I asked to move divisions into Sales & Trading. This is closer to markets and involves trading rather than advisory services. After an interview I was offered a job in the Sales & Trading division."

Finance is a broad sector with opportunities for graduates with many different strengths. George says numerical skills are not always fundamental.

"There are a multitude of roles within the broader Finance umbrella. Obviously many of those are mathematically focused, but I would say there are an equal number that aren't predicated on mathematical skills."

"For example, Sales roles are typically better suited to those with good soft skills and graduates who are people-friendly and outgoing. Intelligence is the universal required factor for careers in Finance."

Many specialities are available to graduates within the Finance sector. George received broad training in different areas as part of the graduate scheme at Citi Bank.

"When I started with around 50 other graduates we did ten weeks training in London before four rotations across the different roles such as Sales, Trading, Structuring and asset classes like Equities, FX, Commodities and Rates, before finally being selected."

"I found my role in Equity Trading Strategy. This role collates information from across the trading and research floors and creates a weekly product providing summary Trade Ideas to clients."

Graduates considering the popular Finance sector need to stand out from the competition and be ready to work hard.

"[Finance] is highly competitive," George says, "and the job is usually fairly intense. Generally speaking, you put in very long hours and weekends are not sacrosanct."

"Graduates need to show that they want it. The process is extremely competitive with applicants from all over the world who have done multiple work experiences and internships. If graduates do want to go into the industry they should do their research, follow the markets and world events and be prepared to talk about them."