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Finance or Project Management jobs

Hi all!

I'm currently a final year student studying Geography and History at a Russell Group university. I've applied for a lot of roles within finance, and have demonstrated interest through online courses and previous experience. I've always been interested in business and these roles are more what I've thought I would be doing when I graduate.

However, I haven't got too far with them. I do well in the tests but I am mostly rejected. I have had one interview but didn't progress. I'm feeling quite deflated, and it feels like I will never get anywhere with these applications.

I have also applied for one project management role. I got an interview, did well. I was not chosen for the role but was told I was the second option and that I should apply for any other roles in the company to have a good shot. Should I look more down this route? I'm not sure if they are quite what I expect for my role in business but it could be interesting - I'm just not sure about potential earning prospects and job progression.

I might continue both, but I'm not sure if I should look more into internships in finance...

Honestly I received 2 rejections this morning and it's got me down but I'm applying for a lot more to bounce back... I don't want it to be for nothing
Original post by woshelle
Hi all!

I'm currently a final year student studying Geography and History at a Russell Group university. I've applied for a lot of roles within finance, and have demonstrated interest through online courses and previous experience. I've always been interested in business and these roles are more what I've thought I would be doing when I graduate.

However, I haven't got too far with them. I do well in the tests but I am mostly rejected. I have had one interview but didn't progress. I'm feeling quite deflated, and it feels like I will never get anywhere with these applications.

I have also applied for one project management role. I got an interview, did well. I was not chosen for the role but was told I was the second option and that I should apply for any other roles in the company to have a good shot. Should I look more down this route? I'm not sure if they are quite what I expect for my role in business but it could be interesting - I'm just not sure about potential earning prospects and job progression.

I might continue both, but I'm not sure if I should look more into internships in finance...

Honestly I received 2 rejections this morning and it's got me down but I'm applying for a lot more to bounce back... I don't want it to be for nothing


Which specific roles in finance and business are you looking for? Please do not say any. I might be able to shed some light into the situation (albeit very limited insights). Also specify the previous experience that you have.

Project management is a very versatile role that involves a lot of multitasking, tight deadlines (see:https://targetjobs.co.uk/careers-advice/job-descriptions/project-manager-job-description). See the following regarding earning potential:
https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/business-project-manager
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/project-manager
https://www.careerpilot.org.uk/job-sectors/agriculture/job-profile/business-project-manager
Reply 2
Original post by MindMax2000
Which specific roles in finance and business are you looking for? Please do not say any. I might be able to shed some light into the situation (albeit very limited insights). Also specify the previous experience that you have.

Project management is a very versatile role that involves a lot of multitasking, tight deadlines (see:https://targetjobs.co.uk/careers-advice/job-descriptions/project-manager-job-description). See the following regarding earning potential:
https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/business-project-manager
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/project-manager
https://www.careerpilot.org.uk/job-sectors/agriculture/job-profile/business-project-manager


Hey. So in terms of roles, I've applied for mostly business operations, banking and some accountant roles. I'm interested in roles which have rotations so I could get a feel of multiple areas. In particular I can see myself in banking, but I know this is highly competitive so that could be the issue there. Accountancy was more of a thought in the beginning, but I've began to shy away from this - I think it was a case of me being able to picture it because family members work in accountancy, but that doesn't mean it's for me. I've looked into analyst roles and I'm not sure that focus would be for me, and I definitely don't want to be an actuary.

My experience is mixed. I think I fall down because I don't have experience as a summer intern. I have done a virtual internship and have participated in events at my university that are related. I've been treasurer for a society I have been involved in. I have also completed online courses relating to finance and business. Any suggestions on how to boost this experience is totally welcome.

Thanks for those links, they are super helpful! I think part of my issue is that I can see myself working in finance because I know lots of people who have done it, whereas I don't know many people who have worked in project management so I am not sure what the pathway is. I could be well suited to it but I just don't know about job security/projegression etc.
Original post by woshelle
Hey. So in terms of roles, I've applied for mostly business operations, banking and some accountant roles. I'm interested in roles which have rotations so I could get a feel of multiple areas. In particular I can see myself in banking, but I know this is highly competitive so that could be the issue there. Accountancy was more of a thought in the beginning, but I've began to shy away from this - I think it was a case of me being able to picture it because family members work in accountancy, but that doesn't mean it's for me. I've looked into analyst roles and I'm not sure that focus would be for me, and I definitely don't want to be an actuary.

My experience is mixed. I think I fall down because I don't have experience as a summer intern. I have done a virtual internship and have participated in events at my university that are related. I've been treasurer for a society I have been involved in. I have also completed online courses relating to finance and business. Any suggestions on how to boost this experience is totally welcome.

Thanks for those links, they are super helpful! I think part of my issue is that I can see myself working in finance because I know lots of people who have done it, whereas I don't know many people who have worked in project management so I am not sure what the pathway is. I could be well suited to it but I just don't know about job security/projegression etc.


Banking is incredibly competitive, as you have said. However, it's not usually that common that you can get in via application alone. It's more common to have people introduce you into the role i.e. you network like crazy. Having said that, a number of the banks do have management graduate schemes and they do visit Russell Group universities when they have Graduate Fairs.
In terms of the types of roles that give you rotation, you are likely going to be looking at management oriented roles since you would need to be a jack of all trades. So bank manager would be a fitting job: https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/bank-manager
I don't think you would necessarily need specific qualifications to go into the role, and I couldn't find any specific qualifications you would need specifically in banking (there are plenty for finance and accounting according to the FCA, but not necessarily banking).If the sort of roles you are looking for do deal specifically with finance, investments, and pensions, then you would need to see the FCA requirements and qualifications you would need for the role: https://www.handbook.fca.org.uk/handbook/TC/App/4/1.html. Alternatively, you can look into: https://www.libf.ac.uk/study/financial-education/my-financial-career/a-z-job-profiles

The most credible bodies fpr banking qualifications would be the London Instittue for Banking and Finance (https://www.libf.ac.uk/study/professional-qualifications/banking) and the Chartered Banker Institute (https://www.charteredbanker.com/our-qualifications.html). I wouldn't necessarily do online courses unless they are professionally accredited (usually mentioned or recommended by recognised professional bodies like LIBF, CBI, ICAEW, etc.)

Should you wish to get the full chartered accreditation with LIBF (not necessary as far as I know), see the following: https://www.libf.ac.uk/docs/default-source/cpq/banking-framework-09-21.pdf. Should you wish to get the chartered banker status with CBI, https://www.charteredbanker.com/membership/routes-to-membership-faqs.html (if you're purely going by qualification, Professional Banker Certificate -> Professional Banker Diploma -> Associate Chartered Banker Diploma ->Chartered Banker Diploma)
I don't know how much help these certifications would be for banking, but they are a big help for finance roles. Personally, I would focus on networking my way into the sector whilst sending out applications.

Alternative jobs that involve a bit of rotation include Credit Manager: https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/credit-manager, and Financial Officer/treasurer: https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/finance-officer. If you do decide to become a treasurer, you are likely required to take an accounting qualification. In which case I recommend either CIMA or ACA. ACA would probably give you the most options in terms of job rotation since you can go into a number of other accounting and finance related roles.
For other banking roles, see the following:
https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-categories/business-and-finance
https://www.careerpilot.org.uk/job-sectors/finance-accounting/job-profiles

Irrespective of the role, employers are more concerned about your achivements and your experience (since the role is not specifically technical, you can get away with not mentioning skills too much unless they're soft skills).

With project management, you don't need any specific qualifications (like banking, you can go in with virtually no qualifications). Employers would care more about your experience and what responsibilities that you had (like with banking) than what qualifications that you have. It will be difficult to secure an entry level role, since it's competitive (but nowhere near as much as banking). It would also depend on which sector that you want to go into, which can also determine which entry level job you should be aiming for. (You can try to secure a graduate role in project management, but they come around once in a blue moon as far as I know.)
Should you wish to go for a professional qualification (they're usually more credible than degrees in project management), there are those that were recommended on the job profile pages:
https://www.apm.org.uk/qualifications-and-training/
https://www.pmi.org/certifications
APM (PPQ) is widely recognised in industry in the UK, whereas PMI (PMP) is more US based. Neither really go above a bachelor's degree in equivalence, so they aren't that difficult to pass.
In terms of progressions in project management, there's no corporate ladder that you can climb as far as I know. It's usually a case of finding more and bigger projects to work on. The more responsibility it entails, the bigger the pay and the more experience you would need.
Corporate structures are becoming increasingly flat, so it's not like you would be able to find an organisation with a very tall hierachy to climb.

In terms of getting 'relevant experience' outside of industry, I think I can't really top the treasurer role in your society for banking. For project management, you could describe some sort of big side project that you had tight deadlines with and you have to coordinate a large team with (doesn't need to be in university, but it's easier to find projects and people within a uni environment). I think it was these things that you have mentioned that brought you the employers' attention. In particular, they would definitely pay attention to students who have done anything entrepreneurial.
Having said that, there's nothing stopping you from applying for internships after uni (unless they specify that they strictly are only looking for students in perultimate years of their degrees).

Please do get a second opinion on the above from people who have worked in the sectors/roles, since I'm only regurgitating what I know about the jobs.

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