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Young Influencers Alumni: an Interview With Reece Aaron and Jayna Pankhania

Book open Reading time: 4 mins

Every summer, we welcome a cohort of students in their final year of school or college for an eight-week work experience placement, as part of our flagship CSR programme, Young Influencers.

This gives them the opportunity to experience the world of work and deepen their knowledge of the Finance industry, putting into practice the business skills they gained from the Societe Generale volunteer-led workshops they participated in throughout the previous year.

Following their exceptional performances last year while completing the work experience, Reece Aaron and Jayna Pankhania were invited to return to Global Markets this summer as interns. Read on to learn more about them and what they have gained from their experiences at Societe Generale.

Please provide a brief introduction and share an interesting fact about yourself with us.

Reece: I’m Reece, an intern currently sitting with the Economic Research desk. I’m currently studying History and Economics at the University of Oxford and am a trained first aider.

Jayna: I’m Jayna and I was on the Young Influencers programme in Global Markets last year. I’m currently studying Chemistry at Kings College London.  An interesting fact about me is that I used to be part of a drumming band.

What team have you joined for your internship at Societe Generale this summer? Can you describe some of the highlights of your experience with this team so far?

Reece: This year, I joined the Economic Research desk at Societe Generale and have had an amazing time. Everything the economists do is fascinating and being here makes me feel deeply connected with the happenings of the world. The best thing is probably when new data comes out that proves one of your views right, it’s a great feeling.

Jayna: I have split my time between FX trading and Rates trading this year. I have spent a lot of time shadowing, but I have also learnt to make market predictions and have taken part in a trading simulation which I have found to be quite interesting.

How does this experience differ to your previous work experience placement on the Young Influencers Programme?

Reece: This year has been very different from the Young Influencers Programme, primarily because it isn’t a rotational scheme. Being on one desk for the whole summer allows you to gain a far richer understanding of what they do, get stuck into some meaningful work, and make closer connections. It’s great to follow on from the Young Influencers Programme, where you gain broad exposure to lots of desks, with something more detailed and intimate.

Jayna: For me, the Young Influencers Programme inside Global Markets was more generic to the department; I spent time shadowing and chatting to people from different desks to gain a sense of how the entire department works together. This year, I spent more time at each desk, allowing me to do a deeper dive into the products and get involved with some actual work.

How did the Young Influencers programme set you up to return for your internship the following year?

Reece: Going into Finance, the most daunting thing for me was probably the prospect of networking. It’s a vital skill to develop, and the Young Influencers Programme gave me an unprecedented opportunity to do so. Now, coming back, it’s so much easier to learn and grow.

Jayna: The Young Influencers Programme allowed me to meet the people who I am currently working with and identify parts of markets that I found most interesting. Therefore, I was able to ask to explore these desks further this year.

What impact have your experiences at Societe Generale through the Young Influencers Programme had on your professional goals, ambitions, and personal growth?

Reece: My experiences at Societe Generale have really helped to focus me on my goals. Speaking to so many professionals, with wonderful and varied careers, gave me invaluable insights into life, work, change, and how to achieve what you want. Since then, I’ve had a much better idea of how to navigate challenges and opportunities.

Jayna: The Young Influencers Programme allowed me to get exposure to financial markets and get an insight into the working world. The programme meant I began to consider a career in finance which as a chemistry student I may not have thought of previously.

What advice would you give to the current and future Young Influencers completing their work experience placements at Societe Generale?

Reece: Networking is so important. Everyone I met at Societe Generale was so helpful, accommodating, and committed to training young people – it’s the perfect place to build a network. These connections may take you through life, so use the experience to cultivate them.

Jayna: Make your connections with people and once you make these connections try to maintain them. If you want to explore other parts of the business just ask and speak to people from those sections.

Thank you to Reece and Jayna for sharing their experiences and advice. We wish them all the best with their academic endeavours and careers.

Find out more about the Young Influencers Programme here.