Harry graduated from Loughborough University and joined the Allianz Management Trainee Graduate Scheme in September 2016. We caught up with Harry to find out why he applied to Allianz, his experiences on the scheme, and his current role as a Senior Operations Team Leader for the Property and Casualty Underwriting team in London.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
I graduated from Loughborough University in 2014 and joined Allianz, not on the graduate scheme, later that year. During my time in that first role I really got a feel for Allianz as a business and understood that it was somewhere that I really wanted to progress my career. A business mentor suggested that I apply for the graduate scheme as it would give me a good grounding across the different business areas and allow me to understand which direction I wanted to take my career – and that is exactly what it has done. (Not that I’m going to let them know that they were right!) I joined the Allianz Management Trainee grad scheme in September 2016.
On the graduate scheme I had exposure to different business areas, different insurance markets, difference offices and areas of the country but most importantly I’ve been given opportunities to really develop my skill base and provide tangible benefit to the business. It’s allowed me to really understand what it is I want to do with my career and then supported me in taking that forward as I came off the scheme.
What inspired you to apply for the Allianz graduate scheme? What scheme did you apply for?
I applied for the Allianz Management Trainee scheme because I wanted to broaden my understanding of the business and also build up my experience across a variety of different opportunities. Whilst I didn’t know what that meant at the time, it has resulted in projects across business functions, countries, levels of responsibilities and has meant I have engaged with members of the business across all levels.
What did you enjoy most about the graduate scheme?
It sounds cliché but the scheme is what you make of it. What I’ve therefore enjoyed most is just the sheer variety of work that I was able to get involved in whilst on the scheme. This has also meant that I’ve been given some significant levels of responsibility at such an early stage of my career.
What was the most valuable part of the graduate scheme?
Doing rotations through different business areas. There are business areas that I didn’t think I’d like before starting and have since made sure I’ve kept involved in projects in those areas. Every business area will provide you benefit whether it turns out to be where you focus your career or not – just get stuck in to it rather than avoiding engagement.
What were the biggest challenges you faced during your graduate scheme?
Constantly adapting to new teams and colleagues. The downside of the rotations is that every 6/9 months you have to start again – but this is also a big benefit to the scheme and your business awareness.
How did you go about applying for roles after the graduate scheme?
Fortunately for me, and many graduate alumni, I was very involved in a project that fed straight in to a post scheme opportunity. 6 months before the end of the scheme I started to work out and understand what it was I wanted to do in my next role. I spoke to my graduate manager, I spoke to my line manager and also got feedback from contacts and graduate alumni across the business to make sure I understood what it was I wanted to do next. From there I engaged with senior managers to outline ambitions and also with the people that would be involved with the roles I wanted. Then when the role came up, the people involved knew that I wanted to go for it and I just had to convince them I was the right candidate for the role.
What is your current role?
Senior Operations Team Leader for the Property and Casualty Underwriting team in London.
What are your career aspirations? Where do you hope to be in 5 years' time?
I don’t picture a ceiling on my career although I am fully aware there will be one somewhere. I just want the opportunity to keep pushing myself and my skill base, with my fingers crossed that doing that well leads to more and more responsibility. In 5 years’ time I hope to be pushing for a senior management level role but I don’t yet know which area that should be in.
Would you recommend the Allianz graduate scheme? Why?
I definitely would but only to those who want to commit to relocating. The scheme is not intended for people that want to stay at home (in a valid attempt to save money) and not relocate for work in different offices. It will become very clear very quickly that you need to be mobile as you could be on a rotation based in any of the Allianz UK offices across the country. If you can get past that aspect then I would 100% recommend it to anyone thinking of applying.
Any tips for those going through the application process?
Be yourself and be honest. The application process is two way, you need to understand whether Allianz is the business for you, as well as them working out your fit in the company, which you will only do if you are honest. Also, prepare for interviews. There is nothing more damaging to your application then showing a lack of preparation.
To find out more about Allianz and view their opportunities, click here.