Carly Thomas (BSc Chemistry, 2015) tells us how she's adjusting to graduate life at Nationwide.

I was really sad to be leaving Birmingham when I graduated in July; it was the place I had called home for 4 years. It stood me in good stead as in February I was lucky enough to secure a position on the Customer and Employee Experience Graduate Scheme at Nationwide Building Society. This enabled me focus on my finals for the remainder of the second and third term and to recharge my batteries in the summer before starting. I spent most of my summer at home in South Wales with my friends and family.

Having studied Chemistry at Birmingham, I have often been asked ‘Why Banking and Finance?’ Although I absolutely loved my degree I felt I suited to a faster paced, more people focused job as I would often feel unenthused after a whole day in a lab with only a gram in return for my efforts! I also feel my degree has set me up well for the financial world as I’ve been able to utilise my analytical and problem solving skills on a daily basis.

In September I moved to Swindon, (which wasn’t as bad as everyone thinks!) to start my career and it was so exciting! I’ve actually been placed in the Emerging Talent team within HR, looking at the recruitment and development of Nationwide’s graduates and apprentices. As part of my role I’ve been attending lots of events across the country, meeting with other employers such as Boots and Accenture, local schools and universities, including coming back to Birmingham a few times. It’s been great to expand my network, share best practise and I’ve met some fantastic people on my travels.

I’ve also had the chance to get involved with Nationwide’s wider Citizenship agenda, and was involved in a record breaking Afternoon Tea event for Macmillan back in October, have fundraised for Great Ormond Street Hospital and took part in Ada Lovelace Day, getting girls interested and inspired by STEM. I’ve also recently been tree planting for our Woodlands Creation Project.

Being on a graduate scheme is great as it provides you with lots of support, development and the chance to push yourself outside your comfort zone and challenge the status quo. I feel really lucky to have made some great friends through the Emerging Talent network here at Nationwide and settle into a new town so easily. I think for me the hardest part initially was how tiring 9-5 is. You don’t appreciate 9am starts at university - I am still getting used to being up at 7am every day and I’ve been working for a few months!

I’m really grateful to the University of Birmingham for setting me up for working life so well and supporting me throughout my degree; I will always think of Selly Oak as home.