Ben Hick is in his first year of the BSc (Hons) International Financial Services Degree at the Jersey International Business School University Centre. He also applied for the work support programme with HSBC in support of the degree, and was successful in passing their rigorous interview process in order to be one of the two students invited to take their first step in a career in finance with structured, paid work experience.
As soon as the opportunity came up through JIBS to gain two years’ worth of work experience with one of the world’s largest banks, I saw it as too good an opportunity to ignore. The application process was conducted as though I was applying for a full-time role in the bank and involved a formal interview, which gave me real experience of what the interview process is like with a bank. Not everyone who applied for a place got one, but thankfully I got the job.
There was a well-structured introduction process and the first couple of weeks involved getting to know the bank itself. I had a tour of the building and sorted out all the logistics such as PC logins and security passes. I also met with lots of people and found out about their roles in the business in order to gain a clear idea of how HSBC Expat works as a whole.
I have recently moved into a new team within Business Performance, where I will remain for at least the next year. I am currently in the Sales Quality team, reviewing advice that the company’s advisors have given to customers on investments since there are many laws and regulations that need to be adhered to, as well as monitoring where the bank is giving advice because there are many countries that aren’t able to receive certain advice.
I’ve learnt so much about the day-to-day running of the business and how much work goes in to making it one of the largest banks in the world. I have had the opportunity to be a part of so many things, including the creation of a tool that allows advisors to quickly check whether the person they are speaking to can be given advice, and so speeds up the whole process. This was a great project to be part of!
Obviously, working and studying both take up a lot of time. A key reason as to why I am able to balance my study with my working schedule is because I manage my time well by making good use of the weekends and also Wednesdays, which are free from lectures. Doing a degree course involves a lot of background reading and research in your own time so I try to use those days to get this done, along with any preparation for the following week’s lectures, so this then allows me to have the time for my work with HSBC.
Doing this degree has allowed me to get the best out of both worlds when it comes to education and the work place. The way my week is set out means that at the beginning of the week I am in education at JIBS attending lectures/tutorials and preparing for exams, whilst towards the end of my week I spend time in the workplace at HSBC putting everything I have learnt into practice and gaining valuable experience. I know that both the degree and the work experience will prove valuable in the future when it comes to looking for a job.
But I believe it is too soon to be looking that far into the future. I know I want to gain at least a 2:1 in my degree and also to take full advantage of the opportunity that HSBC has given me. Staying in Jersey is also my plan for the foreseeable future because I love it on the island and there are countless career opportunities in Financial Services that I could pursue BUT I just have to make sure that I work hard now to set myself up, hopefully, for a prosperous future in the industry.