Name: George Cunniffe
School: Westcliff High School for Boys
Job Title: Investment Operations Apprentice
Please give an overview of your role and what does this involve on a day-to-day basis.
I currently work in the Instrument and Index Data team, concentrating on the index side. My day-to-day work involves monitoring the flow of index data from a variety of different vendors, including Factset, Bloomberg and Merrill Lynch. The data is used to make investment decisions and to assess the performance of funds, meaning that we have a fairly important part to play in ensuring the business runs smoothly. I gain a large level of transferable skills from my role, as it involves liaising with various teams in the business and understanding how they use these indices. As well as my everyday work, I’m also currently studying for the Investment Operations Certificate.
Why did you decide to apply to a traineeship/apprenticeship?
Although I started sixth form with the intention of going to university, I soon realised that this wouldn’t be for me. I didn’t feel inclined to put in the extra work, and I wasn’t prepared to pay over £30,000 for something that wouldn’t guarantee me employment anyway. As well as that, I’d always known that I wanted to work in the city in some way. Hence, I started looking at apprenticeship schemes. I applied for a couple of programmes and, in the case of the Schroders scheme, the more that I went through the application process, the more I felt that this would be the company and career for me.
What did you study at school?
I studied Economics, History and Politics at A-Level.
What was the recruitment process/assessment centre like?
I found the application process as a whole fairly challenging. The initial questions and aptitude test did make me think. However the video interview required a higher level of concentration, as you only had a limited time to state your answers and had to try your best to be professional; hard to do when you’re speaking to a screen. The assessment centre itself was tough, as you’re up against people who have roughly the same skills as you, and you have to go the extra mile to prove your competence and ability.
What training do you get on your programme (external and internal)?
The training that I receive on my programme is extensive and wide-reaching. In preparation for my Investment Operations Certificate exams, I receive external training in the form of online classroom sessions and have access to a personal talent coach. Internally, we are provided with a large level of soft and hard skills training. Events are also organised to meet senior individuals at Schroders, which gives us an insight into their careers and the internal workings of the firm.
How much support do you get from your employer/team/manager?
I receive a high level of support from both HR and my team. HR are always on hand to help with any enquiries that I might have and work tirelessly to organise training and other events. I’ve a great relationship with my manager and my team, who help me with any enquiries that I might have, as well as encouraging me to do the best that I can in everyday work. Furthermore, my manager is highly supportive of my career and encourages me to broaden my horizons beyond the team. Other people in different teams are also generally happy to help with any questions that I might have.
What has surprised you about working at Schroders?
The people. I thought that the transition from school to work would be difficult at first, as the office is a completely different place from the classroom. However, my team are very sociable, and from the minute I arrived my colleagues were friendly, chatty and funny, as are most people at the firm. I highly enjoy working in such a pleasant environment and this has aided my performance.
What has been the highlight of the programme so far?
The highlight of the programme so far has been the knowledge that I have acquired a variety of new skills. When I started, it was like trying to learn a foreign language due to the amount of new terms and processes that were being used. It took me a few weeks to understand at least some of these. But, although I am still learning, I now genuinely feel like I am a valued member of the team and make a valid contribution to its performance.
Any advice or tips for those applying?
Be brave, confident and open-minded. Sell yourself well and write a good CV.
To read more about the opportunities available at Schroders and apply please clickhere