Autumn had her first formal introduction to Aon at their 'Females of the Future' event in 2017 and immediately knew it was a company she'd love to work with. This year the event has had a makeover, now being titled 'Aon's Women of the Future'. What hasn't changed is that it's a brilliant way to gain insight into this unique and ever-expanding company.
Autumn is from Lancashire and studied Mathematics at Durham University. She is currently on the Graduate Launch programme at Aon, working in the Portfolio Risk team in their London office, whilst also studying for her actuarial qualification. We interviewed Autumn to get an insight into what she thought about the days, what she took with her and why this event could be the perfect start to your career.
What inspired you to apply for Aon’s Females of the Future Event and what did you think of the event?
I applied for this event because I wanted to understand how I could apply my problem-solving skills in a professional services firm. This three-day event was an opportunity to learn about Investment Consulting and decide whether I would be a good fit with Aon's culture.
The event itself was amazing! We had a tour of the Leadenhall Building and I was impressed at how progressive the workplace was, with break-out areas and standing desks to cater for different working styles. The highlight of the experience was the Q&A session with female senior leaders. Through their personal stories, I learnt about the wealth of opportunities there are at Aon to develop professionally including workshops, online courses and rotations. I remember feeling in awe of what these women had achieved in their careers, and I felt inspired to really own my career development.
What was the single most important thing you learnt at the event?
People at Aon really care about your wellbeing. This event reassured me that I could relocate to London and excel. Since joining Aon, I am now a member of Gender IQ, an informal group set up to discuss gender-based issues. This is one of Aon's many business resource groups, which aim to promote diversity of thought in the workplace. Gender IQ provides me with another support network outside of my immediate team, and I enjoy attending the events they host.
Tell us about the process after the event and how you ended up in your role today?
Aon were very good at keeping in touch with me after the event, and I spent a morning at the Manchester office to gain an insight into the regular work that graduates do. This experience highlighted to me that Aon ensures you have the same professional and personal opportunities wherever you choose to work in the UK.
What was the application process for your role like?
The application process was straightforward, with an assessment centre and final interview. The interviewers were very supportive throughout all stages of the process, challenging me to consider different viewpoints and use my analytical skills to solve problems.
I particularly enjoyed the individual presentation, where I shared my thoughts on topical issues in the pensions industry. This is the best opportunity to show the interviewers that you can communicate ideas clearly and structure your arguments.
The most difficult part of the process was my technical interview, where my understanding of pension schemes was tested. I would strongly recommend conducting your own research about the job role you are applying for, to help with this stage of the process.
What do you find most interesting with the sector/industry you’re in?
I work in Delegated Consulting Services, where we engage with clients on the possibilities relating to their pension schemes. We offer bespoke solutions, focusing on the administration and delivery of client's pension schemes. I find it fascinating that using our BigBlue Touch systems, members have control over their savings, see the potential effects of their investment choices, and can choose to delegate key investments decisions to Aon experts. It is amazing that using our technology, we can help members to make informed decisions about their future finances.
What is the company culture like?
I have a very supportive team, who value my contribution and respect my work-life balance. I am encouraged to get involved in exciting and challenging projects to develop my technical knowledge. It's very important that so early on in my career, I am surrounded by people who believe in me and my potential.
Have you had the opportunity to get involved in any activities outside work?
Aon has a brilliant induction programme for graduates and participating in the structured social events meant that I already had friends before my first day in London.
Also, there are two balls in the year, featuring a three course dinner and often live entertainment. The entire department attends, and it is an amazing night to celebrate the team's successes. This year, I even got involved in organising the Christmas Ball!
I'm looking forward to attending the "Aon United" days later this year, where colleagues volunteer and have a positive social impact in the local community.
Has anything surprised you since you started?
When I joined, I was surprised by how friendly and supportive everyone was. People are so willing to give you their time to explain difficult concepts and give you advice when you need it. I think the hotdesking system in London contributes to this, as it allows you to approach senior leaders with confidence and build genuine relationships with colleagues in other departments.
Do you feel university prepared you for what is expected of you in your role?
During university, I learnt to manage my time efficiently and to be systematic in my approach when solving problems. This is especially useful as I am currently being supported by Aon to take actuarial exams. I have access to the latest study materials and plenty of study days to focus on revision.
In the first couple of months as a graduate, I was exposed to a lot of new information. However, the team understands that I didn't come from a background in finance and always explain things clearly. To excel at Aon, all you really need is a positive mindset and a good attitude to work.
Finally, any tips for anyone who’d like to attend a similar event with Aon?
- Learn as much as you can and don't be afraid to ask questions.
- Invest time in building personal connections, after all, the people you meet may be your future colleagues.
- Have fun!