Rebecca is in her second year of the Economics Graduate Programme at the Financial Conduct Authority.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background before starting at FCA
I undertook a four-year Economics degree at Loughborough University which included a sandwich year. During this year I worked as an Economist for a macroeconomics research firm in London. This experience gave me an insight into a career in this field.
What drew you to pursuing a career in your field?
I started studying economics at GCSE and loved being able to apply what I learned in the classroom to the real word. Being an economist equips you with a lot of transferable skills to access a variety of paths and opportunities within financial services. I chose to pursue economics because I enjoy analysing how behaviour drives our decision making as a society and the dynamics that shape the wider economy. As a career, I enjoy the complexity of the work and the fact every day is different and stretches me both personally and professionally.
What attracted your about FCA specifically?
I was attracted to the FCA initially because of their values and commitment to deliver in the public interest. Knowing that the work you do is impactful and helping people in society is very fulfilling and motivates me every day. I really enjoy the project-based nature of the work which focuses on what is happening in the world right now. Working for the regulator allows you to learn and experience the technical aspects of the world of finance whilst being able to enjoy a healthy work-life balance. This was especially important during lockdown!
In particular, I was drawn to the graduate programme as it was rotational which gives me an opportunity to explore different business areas. The programme encourages you to invest in your own development by undertaking extra qualifications. On the economics scheme, the FCA funds your masters, a great investment in the long run!
What does a typical day in your role look like?
I’m currently on my second rotation at the FCA and depending on what role you’re in means your days can look quite different.
Rotation one – Economist
As an Economist a typical day was centred around providing economic advice and analysis to Policy teams. Key to my role was undertaking economic research to support policy development in the FCA. In the role I was able to contribute towards publications that consulted on new policies - it is really fulfilling to see the work you’ve done get published. I interacted a lot with policy and supervision teams, which are also teams that you could do rotations in, so it was good to see how they worked.
Rotation two – Regulatory Sandbox
In my second rotation I have joined the Regulatory Sandbox within the Innovation department. In this team we work with firms to test innovative propositions in the market with real consumers. My role involves interacting directly with firms and analysing their business proposals to assess whether they meet our eligibility criteria to enter the Sandbox. I really like the firm facing aspect of this role – something I did not experience in my first rotation. The team is very forward looking and place a big emphasis on keeping up to date with emerging trends in the FinTech space. I spend a lot of time attending conferences, webinars and workshops to learn more about all things FinTech.
As part of the graduate programme the FCA also fund you to undertake a part-time master’s course over two years in economics and finance if you don’t already have one. For graduates who do, there are other qualifications available. The organisation is invested in you and value your development, so there’s a lot of flexibility at work and the culture really supports it. I’ve found that I’ve been able to apply what I’m studying to my work on a day-to-day basis.
I would say to anyone considering applying make sure you understand what you’re getting signing up for and be prepared to dedicate your time to it. This role alongside studying has taught me how to balance and manage my workload, as well as communicating to people when you need help.
Any tips you'd pass on to future prospective applicants?
- Do your research. Make sure you understand what the values of the organisation are as these are central to how an organisation operates I think it’s important on a personal level to make sure you align with the mission and values of the organisation because this is what will help keep you motivated day to day.
- Make sure you are genuinely interested in the work. Read and understand the job description. Be picky about what you really want to do as this will make you more motivated and stand out as a candidate when there’s clear passion and understanding of the role.