Below, Lauren outlines what life is like as a FCA Technology and Change Graduate and what makes the FCA such a stand out employer.
What is your role and how long have you been at FCA?
My name is Lauren and I'm a Risk Analyst and I've been at the FCA for two years and a half years.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
I studied Economics and Politics at Exeter University prior to joining the FCA graduate scheme, though I completed an internship at the FCA during my second year. I graduated during the COVID-19 Pandemic, so I had an interesting start to my professional life.
What inspired you to apply for this role/this company?
I made up my mind to apply for an internship at the FCA because I really connected with the FCA’s values. As a former economics student, I had seen plenty of other organisations' graduate scheme offerings online but I never felt connected to their ethos and mission. The FCA offered the opportunity to do interesting work, learn key skills, and work towards the greater good. The Technology and Change graduate scheme was exciting to me because of the great breadth of opportunity it offers to learn cutting edge data, digital, and business skills.
What has been the single most important thing you learnt so far in your job?
That not enjoying something is okay (and sometimes more important than enjoying something!). When you're a graduate doing plenty of rotations it can seem overwhelming to make choices about your future career path, however I received some great advice from a mentor in senior management. She told me that noting what I didn't enjoy, or found more tedious, was key to understanding what I did really enjoy and what kind of role I wanted in the future. Different people find meaning and interest in different tasks, and this has been really helpful for me in looking to the future of my career!
What would a ‘normal’ day look like for someone in your role?
If there's one thing you learn very quickly, it's that there is no one typical day for a graduate. Most rotations are 6 months long, leaving you just about enough time to get to grips with the work of the team before getting to jump in the deep end of another set of skills. I've undertaken four rotations as part of the graduate scheme, and each had very varied work. For a taster, I'll outline day in the life of two of my rotations:
The work in supplier management is very varied, so one typical day could consist of many different activities. Perhaps you have a supplier relationship meeting with one of the suppliers you personally supervise. This would mean meeting with contacts from the supplier, alongside FCA colleagues who work directly with their systems. Maybe, after that, you would be conducting a review of the supplier's contractual obligations to ensure they're all recorded correctly and that the supplier is performing to their agreed objectives. You may also be involved in the procurement process for a new supplier or service, or the re-tendering of an existing one. This would mean working with the Procurement team and involved colleagues to supervise the procurement process and have an eye on any incoming suppliers. Of course, there could be an incident involving one of your suppliers. This would mean using your people skills and analytical eye to coordinate messages to and from the supplier, perhaps challenging them on their responses, and acting as a go-to point of information and communication.
As with supplier management, there's a lot of different work that goes into Risk Management roles. Perhaps you start your day by building some new MI reporting functionality for the team in Tableau. Then, you might have a risk review session with a member of senior management, where you would be providing assurance and challenge on any risk updates or new risks they wanted to raise. You might then conduct a review of one of the risk registers, looking for errors or running themes in risk across product groups. Across the day you will likely have meetings with different teams across the FCA, where you will share knowledge, information, and collaborate. For example, you may have a meeting with the Risk and Compliance department, where you can build an important relationship and share information about the department's risk landscape. You may lead a larger risk meeting with a Head of Department and their manager's, facilitating their discussion on their current and upcoming risks, and providing input and challenge where needed. This means you will be learning the vital skill of speaking up when needed, building your confidence with senior leadership, and developing your analytical skills.
What do you find most interesting with the sector/industry you’re in?
In the Technology and Change graduate scheme, you’re exposed to both the Tech sector, and the Financial Services sector. There's a lot of interesting areas about each, but I am most interested in the exciting changes in Technology that can elevate how we deliver the FCA mission and make us more efficient at delivering our objectives. The FCA makes sure that you always have opportunities to learn about upcoming projects and strategy, and it's exciting to see these projects get delivered and witness their impact on our operations.
What is the company culture like?
I think the FCA company culture is very well represented by our values. There is a really good focus on work/life balance in the majority of teams, but the best thing in my opinion is the culture of collaboration. I don't feel in competition with my colleagues and everyone is always happy and willing to help.
How important is diversity to you and what is FCA doing in this space at the moment?
As a bisexual woman, it was important for me to choose a company that prioritised diversity and inclusion. The FCA delivers on this very strongly and is committed to doing more. There are network groups that organise a really interesting variety of talks and events, and individual divisions also devise their own strategies to help make the FCA a more inclusive and diverse space. I've enjoyed the FCA’s focus on psychological safety, and my division has delivered some really interesting talks on this.
Finally, any tips for anyone who’d like to apply for a role at FCA?
Don't be intimidated if you're not sure exactly what you want to do before you've had a chance to experience it. If you want to do well in FCA interviews and assessment centres, make sure you understand the FCA values and the FCA mission in advance. It's important to the organisation that they recruit people who live and breathe these values, so see if they resonate with you and take every opportunity to demonstrate them. I would also advise that confidence goes a long way in an interview - even if you're secretly very nervous! If your nerves get too high, remember that your assessor is only human and wants you to do as well as possible.#