We recently caught up with James to find out how he secured his graduate role in wealth management at St. James’s Place Wealth Management (SJP). Discover what stood out for him about the firm and his top tips for members looking to follow in his footsteps.
What stood out to you about St. James’s Place?
Originally, I wanted to go down an investment banking route, but I had a mentor at RBC that introduced me to wealth management. As I started to look into the sector, and the different companies within that, SJP stood out for me as it really valued holistic face to face advice. I was motivated to understand how financial and investment advice is given to various types of people and SJP facilitated that.
How did you go about securing a role with St. James’s Place?
I attended Festival 2018, an event put on for undergraduates looking to enhance their employability, and there I participated in a skills session on CV and interview preparation. I believe going to these events and skills sessions allowed me to be fully prepared for the interview processes and understand what I was expecting. The interview process involved an initial application, video interview, online test, assessment centre day and final stage interview. I was fortunate to pass all these stages and secured the role.
Did you secure your role through networking?
I secured my role indirectly through networking. Bright Network invited me to attend a UBS networking event, I applied to UBS but didn’t end up securing the role. However, from that networking event, I stayed in contact with a Managing Director from UBS and an Apprentice, and they introduced me to SJP. This was a catalyst for me researching the company and applying thereafter.
How did you prepare for your interview and AC?
- A key part of the interview was competency-based questions, and following that what was happening in the global economy. For me, the US and China trade war was very current – I received a number of questions on this topic, however I felt fully prepared as Bright Network was very helpful and I made sure I read the Commercial Awareness Update every Monday.
- I really utilised LinkedIn. I followed a lot of graduates from SJP and would touch base with some of them to ask them questions about their career and how they ended up at the firm. Most of the time, people were very happy to help out with advice. I found this beneficial.
- I also used Glassdoor, current employees working inside the firm provide advice and inside steer on the company, it really helped with an unbiased view.
How did Bright Network help you in your job search?
Bright Network emphasised on the fact that networking is your key. It really allowed me to build confidence with people I’ve never met before. At the end of the day, people are people, you just have to be a genuine person and remember you are more than just a CV. The best thing you can do is get in front of a potential future employer.
The emails were very beneficial as well as updates on current job opportunities - there were a lot of opportunities that I did apply for and didn’t get the job, but going through the process really helped me understand graduate recruitment which informed my future applications.
Bright Network also provided the deadline for multiple graduate job applications. I mirrored these dates with my own diary to ensure I applied on time!
What 3 pieces of advice would you give to Bright Network members?
- Your network is your net worth - go out and meet everyone you can. You never know where opportunities are sitting, waiting for you to take them. Some people don’t even have to do Assessment Centres, they just click with the right people and manage to secure roles.
- Don’t take rejection badly. For my position, a substantial number of candidates applied and only 11 people got the job. I was rejected for a number of applications, but what’s important is to learn from all the rejections and read the feedback they give you. Don’t take that lightly and really build on it.
- Keep up to date with what’s happening in the global economy. Employers want to know if you have an actual affinity for your industry- so make sure you know about Brexit, Climate change, celebrity culture and how that affects consumer spends etc. This becomes an everyday conversation in the workplace. Find out what is happening in the world and use that to your advantage.