Society profile: Banking and Finance Society
The QMUL Banking and Finance Society was founded in order to help educate and inform its members on financial careers, and help those who were struggling to identify what jobs they wanted to apply for by helping them understand their future career options. We caught up with President Nicolae Lojecico, and Vice-President and Treasurer Shahzaib Asif to see what opportunities are available to their members, and hear about recent workshops provided by key industry sponsors.
17 November 2017
It’s great to meet you guys! Could you start by giving us an overview of the society and what it hopes to achieve?
The QMUL Banking and Finance Society (QMBFS) was formed in February this year. We felt that there was a need for a society that would provide an insight into the financial industry and explore the different career options within the banking sector. Coming in as first year students, we struggled to identify what positions to apply for, as we had relatively limited knowledge and exposure to the industry. We wanted to solve this issue and hence created the Banking and Finance society, where members come together to build a professional network and find the right career path for themselves. Our membership fee is just £3 for one year and includes free entry to all events and weekly sessions.
What useful activities do you run for your members to help improve their knowledge of the industry?
We offer our members many ways to get involved and improve their knowledge of the financial services and banking industry. We invite speakers from different backgrounds in finance to provide insights into these areas. Every Tuesday, we cover a particular division within a bank or financial institution at our seminars and meetings. Our aim is to ensure that by the end of the year, our members should know about as many of the different departments as possible, and how they are different from each other. This is useful for when they are applying for internships or placements, as they can include this information in their cover letters.
We also provide constant updates regarding opportunities available in the industry such as insight days and summer internships. We provide networking opportunities through monthly industry events, weekly seminars and social events, as well as providing help with applications, CV and cover letter writing, and general support at any time.
How do you offer support to members applying for opportunities?
In terms of our application support offering, we provide tips and advice for what to put in their application, what they should talk about in the interview and what to expect on the day. Committee members tend to look at one or two CVs per day, giving almost 30 minutes to each person. We sit down with them, have a look over their cover letter or get someone with insight to the professional industry to do so. Almost everyone on our committee has had some sort of internship within banking or finance. For example, Nicolae has already completed an internship with CMC Markets and holds a summer analyst position at PWC; our Operations Manager, Bharathy, is an ambassador for Goldman Sachs and also holds an internship. Similarly, most of our committee members have had work experience in different areas ranging from Finance to management consulting. Therefore, each member's CV is analysed by the committee member who has an experience in that particular division.
What sort of background do your members have?
Based on our statistics from when people joined the society, we found that 40 per cent of our members were from an economics or finance background and the rest were from a wide range of various other disciplines such as engineering, maths and history. We have an overview of our members’ disciplines that we analyse, and base decisions for new topics and guest speakers on how best to serve these groups.
Our committee is very diverse, with seven women and holding positions and each committee member having a different nationality. This helps with making people feel comfortable within the society and with other aspects such as language. We also have a variety of discipline backgrounds and work experience, with each member of the committee wanting to go into a different area (audit, investment banking, research, consulting, operations etc). There is always someone on hand with specialist knowledge to provide assistance and advice to our members.
Do you have any big sponsors?
We are always looking for sponsors to help build relationships with firms going forward, so we can then approach them when we want to run talks and events. We managed to secure sponsorship from BP who run CV clinics for our members from time to time, and they attended our first industry event of the year, which you can read about here.
We recently secured sponsorship from a company called Go Get Coffee. They have a network of advisors from around 100 different companies with whom they can put you in touch. Say you had an interview at company next week and you wanted to meet with someone from the particular department you are applying to ahead of your interview. You can become a member of Go Get Coffee and be connected with someone from that department. You can then meet with that person over coffee and get insights into the interview process, getting answers to any questions you may have. Our members receive a 50 per cent discount for their services, so this is a great opportunity for networking.
What have you been up to recently and what’s on the books for the society going forward?
Over the summer, we built our website and got our emails set up so that everyone has their own personal QMBFS email address. We recently had a meeting with various restaurants as we are looking to host an end of term party, and set up networking opportunities for everyone to get to know each other. Our aim is to have everyone in the society know each other by the end of the year.
We held our first meet and greet in Kitchen Pizzeria at the start of term, and we are currently planning to hold and end of term party in December. We are also in talks with the UNICEF Society to hold a charity football match in January, complete with a BBQ and plenty of opportunities to have some fun. We take social events very seriously, the same as any financial institution, as we believe that this creates a wonderful opportunity for members to network and get to know each other.