Economics degree from a top 3 placed University, internship(s) completed within a multi-national organisation and a skill-set of other well regarded competencies.... now this might be what you think you would need to obtain a place on a graduate programme ....but you couldn’t be more wrong! Some people believe that you need a finance related degree from a leading University backed with an internship to secure that graduate position within a multi-national financial services institution. However, you don’t need a financial background and it’s the other critical and valuable factors which can separate you from your peers when applying to graduate programmes.
Looking back at my time through the application process for the Retail Management programme at HSBC, my business-finance degree, internship at Panasonic and going to an average University never came into play throughout any stage(s) of the application process....so what exactly did secure me that position? Well one strong way to start is to really look back at yourself: what you have achieved, how have you achieved them, what makes you the person you are today, and what value you can add to the prospective organisation? I think understanding yourself fully and the qualities you possess (which you may not have instantly thought of) are crucial. Leading on from these points, you have to think about aspects such as non-academic achievements which are becoming more and more important to make yourself stand out from other graduates and key competencies that you have demonstrated during attaining/participating throughout these non-academic achievements/competitions.
Let’s have a more practical look at this....a pool of graduates all have the required degree classification for a graduate programme, so where do you start to separate them? Well people argue, they went to a top University so they will get selected, they possess a finance related degree then they will get selected etc but I can guarantee you that the graduate out of these 10 individuals who demonstrates confidence, strong communication, team working and leadership qualities from academic and non-academic achievements, will shine within the room and will be offered that precious job contract!
During a recent Discovery Day in our HSBC HQ, it became apparent that several of our current graduates across all of the programmes actually joined their respective graduate programme without a financial or even numerical degree. Two of the most common were actually Law and Geography! However, the skills and potential that they demonstrate illustrated why HSBC had invested in them and also why they chose HSBC; to realise their potential.
To conclude, do not believe what other people might say about having to go to a leading University with a finance related degree backed up with an internship to secure that position within financial services...you can be an aerospace engineering graduate from an mid-table University with no internship position held before and possess all and more of the qualities required to be on one of the HSBC graduate programmes and excel.
If you believe you can achieve!