Insight into Schroders: Ajibola's Internship Experience

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We spoke to Ajibola to discuss her 2022 Summer Internship Programme at Schroders. Ajibola shares a great insight into the application process and explains why knowledge about the company culture is key to success during the interview process.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

Hi, I’m Ajibola a law graduate from Nottingham Trent University. Initially I had my sights set on commercial law, however after completing both law and finance internships I realised I wanted to do something that amalgamated the two, so that’s where compliance came in! I found it difficult to find a compliance internship that was the right fit for me, but when I was allocated to Schroders by 10,000 Black Interns I noticed they had a compliance function. It was exactly what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be, so I applied!

What stood out to you about Schroders?

One thing that stood out to me about Schroders was their culture. When you hear about finance, you might hear about this scary, rigid environment but Schroders diverse and collaborative culture differed from this. I’ve always had the mindset that I never just wanted to be a cog in the system, and although I hadn’t started at the company yet, I felt that Schroders could offer me exactly that. Schroders was somewhere I could thrive – I didn’t want the feeling of being at the bottom, just getting administrative tasks or feeling unfulfilled in my career. Along with some great recommendations from others who worked there, it was Schroders culture that drew me to apply.

What would be your top tip to members going through the application process?

From the test stage of the application process, I could see that Schroders want you to see if you align with their culture from the start – it’s not simply about how quickly you can answer a question or how smart you are. They ask questions specifically tailored to their values, it’s important to research the company as both you and they can gauge whether you’re the right fit. So, the most important thing is knowing the values and culture – don’t play exactly to them but a clear understanding of them will definitely help you at this stage!

The assessment centre was actually on my birthday so luckily, I enjoyed it! My one-to-one interview was with my now manger and I remember thinking that he wasn’t trying to catch me out. Try not to enter an interview with the mindset that they’re trying to trick you, they want to get to know you, so be natural! Of course, my commercial awareness was tested but I don’t think anything I practiced came up. I was joking with my manager recently that I read everything in the Financial Times, but he didn’t ask me a single thing about it! It’s all about the ability to apply what you know to wider scenarios. For example, he asked me a question about Amazon and because I had this wider knowledge, I could apply my thinking to a more niche situation. Having a wider commercial awareness, helped me to secure the role!

On reflection, for the individual and group presentation task I was very pressed for time, so I’d recommend keeping an eye on the time, to make sure you finish. Plus,

look at all the different angles of the case study, it’s not just black and white, so include what others may not thought about, try to be unique and stand out.

What is your favourite aspect of your role?

During the internship it was being able to network with so many different people, there really was no limit and everyone was willing to get to know each other. Also getting to know exactly how my role applied to the wider company was something I found really interesting! Before I joined, compliance seemed like this magical place that no one I knew really knew what it was about. During the internship, I was able to see how tasks I did impacted the company as a whole. I understood how things that may have seemed like admin or small tasks, such as a looking at a spreadsheet, actually had a wider contribution to the company.

What have you found the most challenging?

There are so many branches within the company and so many different types of compliance – I work in the central compliance team but there’s investment compliance, financial compliance and more. My internship was fixed within central compliance and I would’ve loved to spend more of my time between different teams. Although, when I did ask my manager about working with other teams, he was great at looking at my strengths and fitting me in with others, so I did get to work on some different projects!

How have you used Bright Network in your career search?

I absolutely love Bright Network I even told my manager and various friends to become members! I used it every single day when I was looking for a job, especially the deadline tracker as it made everything so digestible. There were times where I’d get fed up with searching for compliance companies, but I’d remember I could just go on Bright Network and filter the sector and company, and everything became much easier.

Anything else to add?

Schroders is incredibly collaborative and diverse, in any other internship or work experience I’ve done I’ve been the only other Black woman. So, when I joined Schroders, I was amazed to see such diversity – it’s not just a quota for them. For example, I recently joined the Schroders Black Professionals Network which is something I’d never had the opportunity to get involved in at another company. Schroders try their absolute best to include everybody, you can email the most senior team member and they’ll be more than happy to book in a chat with you. Schroders wants everyone to do well, and I can confidently say it’s been the best place to start my career.