MThree Alumni Pro Scheme - Software Dev in Finance

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jjharrison
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https://www.mthreealumni.com/alumni-...ni-pro-pathway

wondered if anybody has any experience of the 2 year Mthree consultancy scheme, that aims to introduce developers into the Banking/finance industry with no previous experience of doing so.

I'm also after an insight into being a developer at a financial institution in the city as apposed to say a smaller software house and any experience anyone may have here. Trying to figure out if its something for me and if I'm interested for the right reasons.

Any help appreciated
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winterscoming
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I don't know anything about MThree, but I'm working at a different consultancy and have been at a couple of financial clients as well as some in healthcare and retail, so I'll try to answer.

Realistically speaking, 90% of the job of working in software engineering doesn't really change between different industries; ultimately it's all about creating working software which serves a real business need then delivering that software into the hands of customers/clients/users, and maintaining its quality by responding to user feedback, user support requests, etc. Generally speaking any consultancy in any industry will havea lot of clients whose businesses are highly dependent upon technology, and they have all kinds of different projects which focus on different parts of that business.

Financial software can be all kinds of things - for example, you might be working on systems which do things such as
- Analyse financial transactions to identify potential fraudulant activity
- Montors market trends to help identify opportunities for new business
- Automation of administrative/data processing tasks
- Analyse data about the business' activities to ensure that it complies with various laws and regulations in the country(ies) where it's doing business.
- Helps "front office" workers interact with customers to answer their queries (e.g. call centre staff or staff on the high street)
- Integrations with external service providers such as paypal/amazon pay/sage/etc.
- Generates reports for accountancy - e.g. profit-vs-expenditure, tax calculations, tariffs, currency conversions, etc.
- Web and mobile apps for customers to manage their account/services.

In reality, there's no real problem if you don't understand finance before you start because the majority of software engineers working in finance are not economists nor are they any kinds of experts in finance -- 99% of the time you'd be working in a team with at least one Business Analyst and/or Subject Matter Expert who would understand all the financial/economic/legal/commercial stuff, and they'll be responsible for writing software requirements specifications which a software team can use to convert into working software.

It's much the same thing in other industries too - healthcare, retail, aviation, telecommunications, etc. It's almost entirely unheard of to ever meet a software engineer who is an "expert" in the field that s/he is working in -- at best someone who has many years working in the same industry will pick up all kinds of stuff that they've learned from the projects they've worked on, but their knowlege would be dwarfed by someone who works on the business/commercial side of things.

On the topic of working at a consultancy versus working at a dedicated software house, any decent software house would generally have a very stable core team of people who probably stay at the same company for at least 2-3 years, and then a few who have probably been there for 10+ years or more. People in smaller software houses often gain a massive amount of expertise in a very small number of software products, because most software companies usually only have one or two products which serve a 'niche' corner of a market, so everything is very specialised and a lot of the software tends to be highly customisable and bespoke to some very specific purpose.

The culture of a small software house can often be quite close-knit and familiar; e.g. you might be working somewhere which only has 20-30 engineers for the whole company, and you'd probably end up being at least on friendly first-name terms with everyone in the whole company - most of the time they're usually good, friendly places to work with very little bureaucracy or other overheads, and the the people at the "top" (e.g. CEO/Managing Director) often working very closely with all their employees.

Big companies can be quite the opposite - huge management structures, loads of bureaucracy, often more like a large group of different companies and different divisions/teams who happen to work under the same business but are basically separate from each other and don't necessarily talk -- more like being a cog in a machine (which can be great or not so great depending on the business). Big companies will probably offer more structure, and might throw a lot more money into various reward schemes, training schemes, and usually have plenty of scope to choose to work on lots of different projects, maybe moving around to different jobs.

Consultancies are an interesting one - big or small you'd usually never be on the same team of people for more than 6 months - you'll be on a lot of client sites, maybe get some good travel opportunities (all expenses paid - hotel, food, travel, etc.) , but maybe also getting some horrible commutes (although a decent consultancy will generally try to minimise that to keep people happy). Consultancies can be a really mixed bag - you could get to work with some really good people and interesting projects, or you could pull a short straw and find yourself in the project from hell. With that said, consultancies often pay fairly well, the variety leads to gaining a lot of different kinds of experience, although the constant 'project switching' can be hard -- sometimes it's like getting a brand new job every 3-6 months.
Last edited by winterscoming; 1 year ago
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jjharrison
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(Original post by winterscoming)
I don't know anything about MThree, but I'm working at a different consultancy and have been at a couple of financial clients as well as some in healthcare and retail
Can only really thankyou for this reply. Very insightful.
I think it's something id actually quite enjoy since ive been part of a smaller development team for a few years now.

Interesting point on the close knit vibe of a software house compared to bigger institutes. I'd like to think that a team environment still exists within the 'cogs' as you described them and that developers weren't just machines churning out code.

But it looks like Mthree is a great way to get into such financial/ banking development roles that I otherwise might not get.

Thanks again
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winterscoming
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(Original post by jjharrison)
Can only really thankyou for this reply. Very insightful.
I think it's something id actually quite enjoy since ive been part of a smaller development team for a few years now.

Interesting point on the close knit vibe of a software house compared to bigger institutes. I'd like to think that a team environment still exists within the 'cogs' as you described them and that developers weren't just machines churning out code.

But it looks like Mthree is a great way to get into such financial/ banking development roles that I otherwise might not get.

Thanks again
The 'small knit' vibe definitely exists within individual teams as long as the team itself is reasonably stable; I think you misunderstand the "cog" metaphor though. That's not about developers being treated like machines who churn out code -- it's more about the amount of bureaucracy and lack of communication between different teams/tribes/areas within the same company.

For example, one part of the company might decide to choose Java and build a system which solves some generic problem, albeit in some non-generic way; but then another part of the same company indepedently decides to choose Python to build another very similar system which solves exactly the same generic problem in some other completely different generic way. Then a couple of years later someone asks the question "Why have we got two different systems which do almost exactly the same thing..?". In other words, it's a lot more like many sub-companies within one company; often a lot of wasted time and not enough people who see the big picture or communicate with each other


There are quite a few large companies who rely heavily on contractors however - one thing that you'll often find is that companies will suddenly find a "pot of money" for an urgent project which needs to be completed within some absurd timeframe and they simply don't have enough people to do it -- so the team could suddenly swell in size for a few months until the project is done, then everyone disappears off -- I've seen both sides of that happen and it doesn't always lend itself to a great atmosphere (constant revolving door of people moving all over the place).

Obviously that's a management problem which is more likely to occur in larger companies (somehow it seems easier for incompetent managers to hold onto their jobs in big companies), but definitely not a case of "all big companies are badly managed" - you'll always get a mix of good and bad people though; I guess when you have a company which measures its value in billions, then a few wasted millions here-and-there isn't really noticed.

Anyway, good luck with the consultancy - finance and banking is definitely a well-paid sector.
- By the way, did you see the related threads on TSR?
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=4864060
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=5050752
Last edited by winterscoming; 1 year ago
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jjharrison
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(Original post by winterscoming)
The 'small knit' vibe definitely exists within individual teams as long as the team itself is reasonably stable; I think you misunderstand the "cog" metaphor though. That's not about developers being treated like machines who churn out code -- it's more about the amount of bureaucracy and lack of communication between different teams/tribes/areas within the same company.

For example, one part of the company might decide to choose Java and build a system which solves some generic problem, albeit in some non-generic way; but then another part of the same company indepedently decides to choose Python to build another very similar system which solves exactly the same generic problem in some other completely different generic way. Then a couple of years later someone asks the question "Why have we got two different systems which do almost exactly the same thing..?". In other words, it's a lot more like many sub-companies within one company; often a lot of wasted time and not enough people who see the big picture or communicate with each other


There are quite a few large companies who rely heavily on contractors however - one thing that you'll often find is that companies will suddenly find a "pot of money" for an urgent project which needs to be completed within some absurd timeframe and they simply don't have enough people to do it -- so the team could suddenly swell in size for a few months until the project is done, then everyone disappears off -- I've seen both sides of that happen and it doesn't always lend itself to a great atmosphere (constant revolving door of people moving all over the place).

Obviously that's a management problem which is more likely to occur in larger companies (somehow it seems easier for incompetent managers to hold onto their jobs in big companies), but definitely not a case of "all big companies are badly managed" - you'll always get a mix of good and bad people though; I guess when you have a company which measures its value in billions, then a few wasted millions here-and-there isn't really noticed.

Anyway, good luck with the consultancy - finance and banking is definitely a well-paid sector.
- By the way, did you see the related threads on TSR?
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=4864060
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=5050752
Again thankyou, those threads are fairly useful. Guess there are decisions to be made. All in all I can't really see any major disadvantages so I think I may give it a shot in the coming months.
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