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Essential student skills for a career in finance, banking or insurance

You must have curiosity, adaptability and a love of learning to carve out a great career in finance, banking or insurance – that was the message from our panel of experts at The University of Law’s Business School’s ‘Careers in the City’ event held at our Bloomsbury campus, one of many events organised for students as part of their employability provision.

Business and law students heard first hand from a panel of experts about what it is really like to work in the financial services sector. The panel shared their own career stories and insights into the industries they work in. There were also top tips for students on how to succeed in their careers.

Brian Kirwan, CEO UK of Allianz Global Corporate and Speciality, shared his views on why a career in the insurance business can sometimes be a hard sell. “There is a perception that the insurance industry is very traditional and perhaps not that interesting. In reality we’re talking about global, complex risks and negotiations.”

Brian emphasised how the industry is about face-to-face interaction as much as detailed analysis, and spoke about how the new uncertainties and disruption made the insurance world an exciting place to be.

“It’s an industry that’s going through dramatic change and transformation. For Allianz a significant proportion of our revenue is driven by motor insurance. With the rapid development of technology and automated vehicles we have to start readdressing what risk even looks like in the next five to 10 years and we need intelligent, curious new recruits to help us navigate these challenges,” he said.

Mark Wonnacott, Business Manager for Global Compliance and Anti-Financial Crime Audit at Deutsche Bank, stressed that “putting your hand up” and “taking the opportunities that come along” were essential for those who wanted to build a rewarding career.

Mark highlighted the benefit of a compliance role in understanding how any business fits together, and the need to recognise risk and, most importantly, how to work with colleagues across the business to effectively mitigate these risks.

Mark has travelled to “20 countries in the last ten years” as part of his role and he spoke about how understanding different cultures, working practices and environments had given him further opportunities to learn – something that every graduate should be looking for in a career.

Jacob Schmidt, Chief Investment Analyst of NLP Financial Management, spoke about his experience with asset management. “For a successful career you need to stand out. Whether it’s your knowledge, your personality or even the clothes you’re wearing – you need to make an impact.”

Jacob told students about the devastating impact of the global financial crisis in 2008 and how this had forced the industry to reinvent and regenerate.

Mathew Dixon-Clarke gave an insight into his career at Barclays. He joined as part of the graduate scheme and worked in six different teams across the bank.

Mathew said: “People often ask me why I went into investment banking. Perceptions can often vary. For me, it’s a fascinating industry which is changing rapidly and full of challenge.”

Mathew told students: “Know your skill set and research the roles that are available. The Investment Banking industry isn’t just about the client facing roles but a wide range of interesting and challenging areas including legal, compliance, operations, risk and technology.”

The University of Law Business School is committed to employability and has an active series of events throughout the academic year open to our current and prospective students. Find out more about our Accounting with Finance undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and check out our events schedule.