Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background
I grew up in Ashtead, Surrey, a village I lived in my whole life prior to University. I finished school, and after a gap year, I went to the University of Southampton to study BSc Business Management. I joined Allianz (virtually) on the Allianz Management Trainee Scheme in September 2020.
What inspired you to apply for this role and this company?
During my second year University summer I had an insight into the Insurance industry by completing an internship at a brokerage. After my internship I was aware I had only seen a very niche part of the insurance world so I wanted a graduate position that would allow me to rotate around an organisation to see the different jobs and opportunities in the industry. I went back to University for my final year and started applying for rotational graduate schemes. The Allianz AMT scheme was perfect for this. With the chance to do 4 different placements ranging from 6-9 months in 4 different areas of the business: Underwriting, Claims, Sales or Marketing or Operations, I knew this scheme would give me a great insight into the whole business and guide what I was looking for in my role and career post scheme. I also applied to Allianz as it has a real focus on progression as well as learning and development. I was keen to continue studying whilst working so the chance to gain the ACII qualification stood out. At Allianz, there is a breadth of opportunities and projects to get involved in alongside the graduate scheme and after, and support throughout for external exams and qualifications.
What is your current role and how long have you been at Allianz?
I have been at Allianz for a year now since joining in September 2020. My current role is my 6 month Claims placement in the Procurement Team in GHO. I am sitting in the Strategy, Performance and Enablement Team within the Procurement Team that works as a support function. This current role is allowing me to work on my time and project management skills, as well as work on my presentation skills and public speaking. I was given responsibility in this role from day 1 and felt trusted by my manager and new team to get jobs done successfully. Prior to this I was in the Southampton Branch in the Motor Fleet Team for my Underwriting placement, this placement developed my technical skills and meant I gained a real understanding of the foundations of an insurance company.
How have you found working from home?
Overall, I have enjoyed working from home. It was a daunting task starting a new job from home however I have been well supported by all my teams in the virtual world. Allianz has adapted well to the remote set up. All training and internal exams can be sat remotely, so our learning and development has not been hindered by the remote conditions. There have also been a number of remote social events organised by both my branch and graduate community such as bingo, pub quizzes, escape rooms and a Christmas event, which helps to recreate the social side of work that we are currently missing!
Tips for an assessment centre
My main tip for an assessment centre is to come prepared. You should know why you want to work for Allianz, what stands out about the company and why the specific role you have applied for. If you have a good understanding of the industry and the company then the assessments on the day will be much easier.
At the assessment centre just be yourself! It is a chance for you to find out more about Allianz and see if it is the right fit for you, as well as you being the right fit for Allianz.
Has anything surprised you since you started?
One thing that has surprised me at Allianz is how willing people are to help you. The CEO and senior leadership team all have calls with the graduates in the first week working for Allianz which makes you feel really valued within the business. Managers and Senior members of staff are always happy to meet graduates and answer any questions you have about the organisation, the industry, changes or opportunities. Everyone is always willing to put time in the diary (meeting for a virtual coffee) to help with placement opportunities, exam queries etc., which is really helpful when coming into a new industry remotely!
Do you feel that university prepared you for what is expected of you in your role?
As cliché as it sounds, the transferable skills I learnt at University are definitely relevant on this graduate scheme. The project management and leadership skills I learnt at University have been utilised when working in teams and for the graduate project. I would not worry if you have studied a subject that isn’t relevant to the industry, the skills you learn at University on any course can be used in this role. There is a real range of degrees across my graduate co-hort including philosophy, economics and music.
What are your career aspirations after going off scheme? Where do you hope to be in 5 years' time?
This scheme is great as it allows you to see so many areas of the business in your first 27 months. One benefit of this is that it allows you to see what you enjoy in a role and what you don’t, which will help work out what to do at the end of the scheme. I am not 100% sure what area of the business I want to end up in yet, but I do know I would like to be in a leadership position in 5 years’ time leading a successful team at Allianz.
Would you recommend the Allianz graduate scheme? Why?
I would definitely recommend the Allianz graduate scheme. It is a great opportunity to work in a large global company but also have a real impact in the work you are doing, as a graduate you get real meaningful work and have responsibility from day 1. I would recommend to people who have a desire to learn, are self-motivated and are willing to put in the extra hours outside of your 9am-5pm day to complete the ACII qualification and Level 6 Apprenticeship alongside working.