We caught up with David to discuss his graduate scheme with Schroders and the unique insights into asset management that he has gained from working at the firm. David also explains how to perfect your approach to the interview process and why asset management is a misunderstood industry.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I graduated from the University of York with a BA (Hons) degree in PPE. After my second year, I completed a summer internship with Schroders and subsequently received an offer for a place on their 2019 graduate scheme. I really enjoyed Schroders’ culture and that’s why I stuck around.
What stood out about Schroders?
Schroders is a family-owned business and I think that shines through in the culture. It manages to be close-knit whilst still being a huge company. If you work for a large business, it’s much easier to feel lost or out of place. That isn’t the case at Schroders – there’s a very collaborative environment. You get to form genuine connections with senior members of the company, rather than just seeing their names in email chains but never getting to meet them.
What is the culture like at Schroders?
Schroders has a very supportive culture, so you can achieve whatever you put your mind to. When a twenty-year-old joins a large organisation, it can be a very intimidating experience, but everyone at Schroders is so nice. There is definitely a big emphasis on doing different things and getting involved with as much as possible, which really suited my approach to work as I can get bored doing the same thing over and over again. At Schroders, you can try new things and experience different tasks every day, all whilst being supported by their collaborative, welcoming culture.
What is your advice for those interested in pursuing a career in asset management?
Some personalities are more likely to succeed in asset management than others, but don’t let that you put you off. I think a lot of people have a distorted view of investment banking and asset management. It’s not like the Big Short or The Wolf of Wall Street – Leonardo DiCaprio won’t be shouting into the microphone at the other end of the room. Certainly, for Schroders, that isn’t the reality. Following on from that, so many people have come up to me and said, “I didn’t study a finance-based degree, can I still work in asset management?” And yes, you definitely can! I studied PPE, so economics was only a third of my degree, and there are lots of very successful people here with non-economics or finance degrees. I think this shows that your degree subject isn’t relevant to your future career and that it’s more about the applicable skills you learned from your university experience.
What are your top tips for the application process?
I don’t think there is one single good approach to follow, as there are so many different methods for success. But, I’m a big advocate for interpersonal skills, and they are definitely essential to the interview process. You probably won’t succeed if you can’t hold a conversation, don’t come across as friendly or appear arrogant. Everyone has something to offer and something they're passionate about. Think of the interview as your moment, let your personality shine, and then you’ll come across as confident that way. Also, you must get the basics right. It might seem obvious, but they really do stack up and you don’t want to make a bad first impression, they can be hard to recover from.
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