Greetings from London. Most of my placement year with Fitch Ratings has successfully passed, but still I don’t know what to expect each day. Even now, I am always learning something new about the company and finance, and I hope my experiences are insightful and helpful.
Let’s start from the very beginning – the application process. In order to find the best company and role for you, it is good to be aware of available opportunities and to be open to different options. In my case, after around 30 different applications, I found the vacancy in the careers email from Lancaster University Management School. The LUMS Careers team helped me master my CV and cover letter, actively prepare for the interview and try out an assessment centre. And here I am with Fitch Ratings, having gone through successfully all the application stages.
My main advice is to not be afraid to ask for help. In my case, it was the Careers team in the Management School, but you can also message other Lancaster University students on LinkedIn, or have a chat with your subject society members. You never know which advice you will remember during the interview.
The placement year itself has been special compare to other internships, as the start was delayed and everything was online due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, there are many benefits from this: I got to know and work with senior analysts not only from my office, but from all over the world – Italy, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Russia – and everyone just one click away.
All of my colleagues are open-minded, friendly and ready to share their experiences, and this was my main source of knowledge about the finance sector in general and the ratings process specifically. In addition, my proactiveness and involvement in many meetings, events and training helped me to be fully engaged in company insight processes.
As soon as I sufficiently improved my understanding of the rating criteria and rating producing process, step by step I moved to the real analyst responsibilities – starting with attending committees up to working on analysis for ratings. All this allows me to step into the analyst role and understand if expectations match reality. I have started to consider an analyst career after graduation.
The best thing about the placement year is not the boost to my CV, but that I was able to identify my weaknesses, which I will improve in my final year of university by picking modules to help me become an even better analyst.
The placement year was not something I was considering when I started my studies, but I am glad I changed my mind. This year has not only given me lifetime experience and knowledge, but it has also helped me to grow as a persona and make life-changing choices.