Guest post: An investment banking spring week at Barclays

Theodoros Georgiadis, a first year student on the Accounting and Finance programme at LUMS, gives an interesting insight into his experiences during his spring week placement at Barclays.

I applied for my Spring Week in the middle of my first term at LUMS and I am so glad I did as the experience gave me a huge insight into the world of banking and it positions me very well for next year. My week ran as follows:

Day 1:  We had a welcome session from senior people working in Barclays and started to gain our first insight into the financial markets. We were advised there would be lots of group work and, indeed, present a group project on our final day. Additionally, it was clear there would be lots of networking sessions with the opportunity to meet current employees across all sectors of Barclays and other Spring Interns from other departments with the prospect of making lots of new connections.

Day 2: I met my Barclays ‘buddy’ and would work shadow him throughout the week. As well as seeing his work, it was an opportunity to gain a personal opinion from someone currently working in the bank about ‘life at Barclays’. I also received an introduction and overview into the Barclaycard (credit card) division of Barclays. Indeed, most days, in my group, I received an introduction and overview on a different department.

Day 3: I was introduced to Barclays Wealth and Business Banking and had group project work to complete. Throughout the week there was a big emphasis on Barclays’ values which follow the acronym RISES: Respect, Integrity, Service, Excellence, Stewardship. Clearly the Bank wants employees who can truly embrace and fit into the Barclays culture.

Day 4: An insight into Corporate Banking and Consumer Banking and further group project work.

Day 5: I had the opportunity to get involved in some filming in a digital studio all targeting  next year’s candidates applying for the Barclays Spring Week programme. I never imagined that media and marketing played such a big part within Investment Banking; I thought it was all about finance!

Importantly, also on the final day, I had an interview, CV guidance and a discussion about which division I wished to apply to for a summer internship next year. Depending on what you want to do, if your interviews go well soon after the Spring Week, a candidate can be offered a 2nd year summer internship even though he/she is still in their first year at LUMS! Indeed, I now have an interview next week for a 2nd year summer internship in Barclays Wealth Management. If I secure this position, this is the dream scenario to be in and one of the big attractions of Spring Weeks.

Finally, we presented our group project to senior employees of the bank – a nerve wracking but thrilling experience. We had been tasked to come up with a new initiative so that Barclays can attract more 18-24 year olds. We focused on the student market with a ‘Barclays Scholar Account’ concept.

Reflecting on the week, I was able to gather a lot of information on the different business divisions and associated career paths at Barclays; everything from Investment Banking, Wealth Management, Business Banking, Corporate Banking, Consumer Banking, Technology and Operations. There was the opportunity to meet new people, both from inside and outside of Barclays, as well as the opportunity to develop new skills particularly via the group tasks. Of course, I also have the 2nd year internship interview next week. The whole experience was hugely rewarding.

The First Week of Lent Term and Prepare for Chinese New Year

Hi everyone, my name is Xuanyin, Hu and I am studying MSc Money, Banking and Finance at LUMS now. I am from China.

People always say: “all things are difficult before they are easy.” There was no surprise that, from the perspective of learning, the first week was also challenging, even though I have already studied for almost half a year at Lancaster University. Even so, I was so excited the whole week because the spring festival is coming (celebrating the lunar new year).

The main challenge was the choice of optional module. Actually, the programme’s module schedule is quite well–organised since the first semester, there were only compulsory courses and after that, I may get a clue for what I would like to study in the second term. The optional modules from my programme are divided into two kinds. One belongs to Accounting and Finance department which is more related to finance, another belongs to Economics department. So the problem comes out, should I choose one that I am good at or that I am interested in. I have more basic knowledge of finance because I studied investment in the previous study, however, the economics course attracts me a lot even though I have never studied economics before. So I went to economics’ lecture in the first week, however to be honest I quickly found that it was not for me, so instead I chose the Finance course for my optional course. It was quite hard to give up a thing that you are interested in, but I cannot sacrifice all my time to study an entirely new subject which others already learned from their last three-year study.

Tips for choosing a postgraduate optional course:
Choosing an optional module in postgraduate is quite different from undergraduate. In a postgraduate study, the knowledge is based on what you learned from the previous study. To choose a course which you are good at is more important.

Although it is already 2017 now, for a lot of Asian countries’ students, the new year should be the lunar new year. Of course, for me, it is a super exciting week to prepare for the new year.  It is my first spring festival in the UK and I used to celebrate with my family. So, from the start, I was quite worried about it and did not know how to celebrate it. Fortunately, my flatmates decided to celebrate it with me. We ordered loads of stuff online and also came to downtown to buy all materials and ingredients. After that, we made the dumplings together which was quite fun to teach my flatmates to make it. What’s more, I went the CSSA (Chinese Students & Scholar’s Association ) Chinese Festival. There were many traditional activities, for instance, making paper-cuts for window decorations, writing couplets,  guessing the lantern riddles etc. I wrote couplets for our flat and also wrote the “福” characters which mean happiness for each flatmates. Even though I am in the UK, I still feel a strong atmosphere of Chinese New Year, when you come to downtown, you could see  “Chinese red” theme in different shops and supermarkets. Besides, the graduate college porter is full of “Chinese red”, like the red lanterns.

Don’t worry about that you will be alone to study abroad, you will always meet the nice and kind people!  Happy new year everyone!