Sales & Trading Applications Integration Engineer, Morgan Stanley
BSc Computer Science (2012)
Working for a large financial organisation has certainly improved my soft skills, understanding of commerce, as well as my general professionalism. My career has developed steadily since graduating from the University, as there is a lot to learn once you begin full-time work. I started out in Morgan Stanley's Technology Analyst Program, which is effectively the renowned entry-level graduate position for technology opportunities into the firm. At this level, you are fully integrated into the day-to-day running within the Technology division, working on real application development, production management or infrastructure projects. As your experience grows, so does your responsibility and rank.
What is the best thing about what you are doing now?
I really enjoy working in a team that provides knowledge and expertise to help produce efficient solutions to issues. Technology can bring efficiencies and improvements to many industries, requiring a diverse and technical skill-set. To this day, I really value having studied Computer Science at the University of Birmingham, as it has given me a great platform to understand the foundations of technology in the industry.
Why did you originally apply to Birmingham?
The University clearly displayed its strong ethos as a great place to learn when I was applying to different institutions during my A-Levels. Computer Science was growing more popular and climbing in the university league tables year-on-year. The campus and the facilities available to students were very good, and I'm very happy that I studied there.
What are your fondest memories of the University?
Meeting so many new, interesting and like-minded people was definitely one of my fondest memories. I took for granted how much there would be to learn and develop as a person prior to university. I just thought that it would be like GCSE and A-Level teaching, but harder, in a set of buildings in a different city. Sure, I'd be living away from home for the first time, but how different could it be? Well, in retrospect - EXTREMELY!
How did you grow as a person by coming to University?
Personally, I came out of University as a more driven person by the end of my studies. I'd say this was mainly down to two things. Firstly, I felt that by the end of my BSc, I had gained the most out of formal education up to that point in my life. Secondly I wanted to progress professionally in a working environment. This second pivotal point came about as a result of my year-long placement between my second and third year. This experience helped me understand how I wanted my post-University working life to be, and so far, it has been a very rewarding time for me!
What did you think of your learning experience within the University?
Personally, I found most of the taught content very worthwhile. The technical skills I learnt from the modules over my Bachelor's degree were no doubt a help in my life, but there is only so much a student can be taught about the world of work from university. If I'm being entirely honest, I don't believe university is there to prepare you for work, but rather to 'teach you what to think' in order to work effectively at solving issues of a technical nature when faced with them at work. The social skills I learnt from University were immensely important, but these came from the people I met whilst at University and my experiences with them.
What advice would you give to current students studying on your degree programme?
Modules: When given the choice to pick modules in your second-year onwards, ensure you study areas in which you are genuinely interested. This will not only keep you interested and challenged, but it will keep your average marks up!
Accommodation: Stay in halls in your first year, it will help you get to grips with all the changes, as everyone is going through the same thing. You will also hopefully meet lifelong friends, and have fond memories of all manner of silliness throughout your freshers year in halls. Second-year onwards - live in Selly Oak. You'll be going back and forth to University a lot, so it may as well be within walking distance.
Extra-Curricular: If you have time, do something you enjoy and that builds leadership and organisational skills. It'll give you more 'well-rounded' soft skills to discuss when it comes to looking for full-time work post university.
Careers: DO NOT KEEP PUTTING THIS OFF! It's only getting more competitive to get good graduate jobs, and if you have your heart set on landing a graduate role immediately after University, do not wait until you graduate to start looking. The majority of graduate positions in the financial industry are completely filled six months prior to the role starting.