Harriet graduated in Classics from the University of Cambridge and began at Deutsche Bank in July 2015 as an Analyst in Internal Audit. She provides an insight into what it's really like to work at Deutsche Bank and what's surprised her the most.
Why did you pick Deutsche Bank?
I went to so many different career fairs, it wasn’t until my second year at university that I started to get serious about deciding upon a career path.
'Deutsche Bank genuinely stood out to me amongst the crowd.'
Having always wanted to work in some kind of city job, I decided upon banking and internal audit. Having done that, I went to the university presentation evenings for almost all of the banks.
Deutsche Bank genuinely stood out to me amongst the crowd. It’s hard to articulate the ‘culture’ that appeared to be different but it seemed to be less brash and more about long-term relationship building and strategic planning, all of which are much more suited to my personality and the way I work. I thought the vision it had of itself as a truly global, European bank was unique and offered something different than the other banks. Its European roots also meant that the focus of the investment banking side of the bank was in Europe rather than the US appealing to where I wanted to work.
Additionally, the people I met at the presentation evening and throughout the interview process were so impressive, very smart, very genuine and really interested in my application and wanting me to succeed. I was holding other offers and waiting on the Deutsche Bank final round interview because I knew it was the most suited for me and I’m still so happy with my choice, over a year on.
What skills or experiences at university best prepared you for your career at Deutsche Bank?
Like many people at Cambridge, the time spent studying and playing sport left very little room for anything else. I had done no banking work experience or related clubs and societies up to my second year, when I applied for and got an internship at DB. However, this did not disadvantage me for the role I’m in. The analytical skills and close eye for detail which hundreds of pages of Ancient Greek and Latin translation, as a humanities student gave me, transferred to my new role. As did the ability to think in a structured yet creative manner when trying to solve problems and present arguments in essays has proven to be fantastic skills for this line of work.
Above all, the hard work, need for constant self-motivation and ability to perform under high pressure while putting in sustained long hours of work at Cambridge prepared me better for Deutsche Bank than any detailed financial knowledge would have.
What has surprised you about your role or the firm, since joining Deutsche Bank?
The way the graduate training programme prepares you for the job. The volume of work that I, as someone so new in my career, can complete has surprised me. Despite having little financial knowledge and understanding of banking, I’ve been able to make a valuable contribution to the work of my team. I’ve also been pleased by the amount of time and attention you get from your colleagues, both those in your immediate team and others at all levels at the organisation.
How would you describe the culture and working environment?
It is definitely a corporate job and we are most certainly not a start-up, so don’t expect table tennis tables and jeans in the office. But for me, I wanted a corporate, traditional city job that inspires ambition, focus and hard work which Deutsche Bank definitely is. The people are fantastic and have been so welcoming and fun to be with every day and work is definitely not boring, being both challenging and good fun on a daily basis.
Tell us about an average day at Deutsche Bank?
It’s hard to describe a typical day in Group Audit to someone who isn’t an auditor but my typical working day would normally include meetings with members of the business (in my case Corporate Finance), carefully going through documents and making sure processes have happened as they should have, thinking along with my team about whether controls are effectively managing the risk etc. Audits are effectively a specific kind of project so my working day includes all the kind of things that you’d expect from working as part of a project team just with a particular focus on risk, control, process and testing.
I’m learning a huge amount every day.
What is your current role like?
As an analyst, I do a lot of the implementation of the audit work as well as collating and administrating the project as a whole. I work very closely with the head of our team and we are in constant dialogue as I help him with a lot of his other tasks, outside of the immediate audit. I’m really enjoying the work so far. I’m learning a huge amount every day. I have friends who have started in a variety of city jobs at the same time as me, and I find very few who remain as enthusiastic and happy in work as myself. I see a long term future with the bank and am very positive about the next few years.
Want to join Harriet at Deutsche Bank? Check out their profile for all current opportunities.