Undergraduate Careers Manager, Hilary, shares her advice on how you can develop your employability skills whilst at university.
This summer James completed two internships, the first at Invesco Perpetual, the second at KPMG. In this blog, James discusses the process he went through to gain those internships and the advice that he would give to others looking for work experience.
I know that internships and work placements may not be your idea of the most exciting summer holiday but believe me; they can prove to be an invaluable addition to your CV and future job prospects!
A little bit about myself: I am James Kariuki and I am in my final year of a BSc Management with Finance degree. As you can probably tell by my course, I am keen on the world of finance! This summer I have been lucky enough to secure two internships in this field. The first one was a two week internship at a London-based asset management firm called Invesco Perpetual in July, while the second was a longer two month internship at KPMG East Africa, which I am currently working at. For both firms, I held title of ‘Analyst Intern’, but what I did at the two firms are as different as can be.
While at Invesco Perpetual, I would often be carried along to meetings with Directors of listed European companies, and formed valuation opinions from their financial documents. I also attended the Henley Royal Regatta. It was a really exciting but highly demanding experience. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my internship at Invesco Perpetual. I was part of large deals and got to witness mergers and acquisitions first hand, which was great.
My second internship this summer is at KPMG East Africa, and it has been just as intense. However, it is geared more towards consultancy services to large institutional clients than it is to investments. This means that I research on potential risks and outcomes of projects on behalf of other organisations and form recommendations to relay back to the clients. My internship at KPMG is so far going well. I have been exposed to all the regulatory workings of the finance world as well as the different categories of consultancy projects.
Now comes the interesting part, how did I manage to get these internships, and how can you do the same for yourself? Well it is not as hard as you may think!
I know it may seem a bit daunting to go through the entire process of several rounds of interviews, online tests and assessment centres just to secure a summer internship, but believe me; it is worth it in the end.
I attribute a large amount of my success in securing these internships to the Warwick Careers Service and the WBS CareerPlus team. Unfortunately, I did not start using these two amazing services until late into my second year at Warwick. The wealth of resources available on the WBS CareerPlus website is invaluable. The workshops that they hosted changed how I applied for internships almost overnight. In fact I first heard about Invesco Perpetual through the Career Plus web portal that all undergraduates have access to at the business school. It is very important that you set time aside in your calendar to visit the web portal and review any relevant opportunities.
You can hear more about the WBS CareersPlus team in the film below.
Another important resource available to business students is an online CV checker that WBS has. This has been an invaluable tool in aiding my career opportunities. It provides real time CV feedback and relevant information on how to modify your CV. Before I used this service, I thought my CV was perfect. That was until the CV checker algorithm ranked my CV in the lower quartile! I took it on the chin and made changes to it as recommended and now I have a high ranking CV. The difference a good CV can make definitely became apparent as I continuously improved it whilst I was applying to different firms.
I first started to apply for summer internships early in the year. One thing that I have learnt from this is to definitely tailor your CV and cover letter for every company you apply for. This may seem like a tedious job but it makes you stand out amongst all of the other applications they receive. The rejections were not easy either! I applied to over 30 firms, but only got into the final stages of three. The funny bit is, those three were the last three companies I had applied to. It is imperative that you do not give up when you are faced with rejection; if I had decided not to continue completing applications then I would not have gained a place at KPMG or Invesco Perpetual this summer.
Another key ingredient to success is networking. Attend all the networking events that you can and make sure to add everyone you met on LinkedIn. You never know when you may run into them again. Whenever you meet someone, ask if they have a business card or if they are on LinkedIn, and then later in the evening e-mail them and ask to keep in touch. I have received invaluable advice and guidance from these networks which has helped me reach where I am now. Warwick Business School host networking events which can really help when it comes to meeting people in the industry such as their Employer Day event.
If I can offer any advice to current and prospective WBS students, it would be to apply as early as you can. Many companies hire on a rolling basis, and so you may be the perfect candidate for the role, but there are no more vacancies at the time you apply. So keep an eye out for when the internships are advertised. Finally, I would recommend to make the most of the career support here at WBS, the WBS CareersPlus team can really help you when it comes to finding the right internship.
As a Warwick Business School Undergraduate, you gain access to our dedicated WBS CareersPlus team. They provide specialised career services solely for WBS students; this includes 1-2-1 careers coaching, application workshops and employer-led presentation and skills sessions. You can find out about all of the Undergraduate Programmes at Warwick Business School here.