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Beyond financial services: Identifying alternative career paths

22 February, 2017Nadim Choudhury

So many graduates miss out on opportunities because they are often too narrow in their focus. I’ve heard the phrase “I want to work in Investment Banking” countless times. While having specific and strong goals and aspirations is admirable, it's important for young graduates and job-seekers to manage their expectations.

It is a reality that not every banking and finance graduate will start work in a front office role. This doesn’t mean to say that you cannot have extremely successful careers within other sectors that are closely aligned with financial services. Here are three sectors to consider applying to where the transferable skills gained from banking and finance degrees are highly sought after:

Consulting

Be it management consulting or strategy consulting, consulting offers a fantastic career path for graduates who have strong analytical, problem solving and research skills combined with interpersonal and communication skills. The hours are long in consulting but the work can be very rewarding. Consultants are usually brought in companies to help them address a specific work issues such as improving the business performance or assistance with their marketing strategy or implementing a change management initiative. Some of the top graduate recruiters in consulting are Accenture, PwC, KPMG, CapCo.

Insurance

Insurance has recently gone through a huge culture shift, gone are the days of old boys clubs and the sector has really started to diversity in its recruitment practices. Opportunities exist for graduates who display strong numerical and relationship management skills. In a nutshell, insurance exists to safeguard individuals  and corporations against financial risk. This is an existing industry, constantly changing where the global macro implications play a strong role in shaping the demand for talent. The sector also offers the scope to specialise.

Typical entry level roles include working in claims management, or loss adjustment to faster paced roles such as insurance broking. Top graduate recruiters in this market include Lloyds of London, Aon, Zurich.

Professional Services/ Accounting

Graduate careers in accounting have completely changed in the last 15 years. Many more accounting firms style themselves as “trusted advisors” and even provide legal advice and much of their revenue comes from non auditing type of functions. Careers are diverse and range from business advisory to audit to company secretarial services.

The key players in this sector are the Big 4, known as PwC, KPMG, EY and Deliotte. A good tip here would be to apply for graduate positions outside of London – you stand a better chance of being selected. Think about applying for roles in Leeds, Manchester and Edinburgh where there is big investment in the financial services industries.

If you are unsure about your career path and need support in identifying different sectors, please don’t hesitate to contact the Careers & Employability Services for a 1-2-1 career coaching sessions via email: careers@edu.libf.ac.uk