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Sometime back in the latter end of 2012, I was sat in a room
in the middle of the Spanish plain, hugely regretting my choice to pack shampoo
rather than Marmite in my year abroad suitcase(s). I was despairing at my lack
of ability to remember the gender of the word for ‘class’ in Spanish, but more
than anything, I was wondering what on earth I was going to do with my final
summer as an undergraduate.
Last year’s plan to get some experience was launched rather
half-heartedly some time in March, so I knew I had to get my act together
earlier this year – this really was the last chance saloon. I spent hours
scrolling through internships and looking for “the job” that would be the
perfect fit for my skills and interests. I looked through the usual big
graduate recruiters with internship programmes, but the more I saw that asked
for “a mathematical degree”, the more despondent I got.
Surely the skills I had gained through my study of English
and Spanish counted for something?
One thing I did manage to do in Spain (if not perfect my
grammar) was read my emails, which was where I heard about the Undergraduate of
the Year Award. I remember reading about it in first year, but seeing that the
requirements were asking for a penultimate year student, hadn’t entered.
I cut myself a large slice of manchego cheese, and sat down
at my computer. I looked through a few of the different awards, but decided on
the Arts and Humanities Award since I am studying a language degree. What
really interested me about this award was the prize of a 10 week summer
internship at Barclays. In the past I
had thought I may not be suitable for a role in financial services since I
don’t have an economics, finance or maths background. The fact that Barclays were sponsoring this
award clearly meant they wanted to hear from students with an Arts and
Humanities background so I decided to find out a bit more about them. Despite
my lack of economic knowledge, the financial crisis (and accompanying bad
press) hadn’t passed me by, and I have to say that I was sceptical – especially
given that I was living in a country where even the word “bank” would raise the
hackles of every person within half a mile.
I’d heard of Barclays before, but what was the wealth and
investment management bit about? I googled, wikipediaed and read the website
from top to bottom, and had a slightly better idea. It was a bank, yes, but it
was a private bank. It dealt with wealthy individuals, charities, entrepreneurs
and many more. But what interested me most was how much change was afoot – I
began to realise that the financial crisis had really changed the industry, and
this wasn’t the same bank that I had seen before.
I put in an application, dreamt a bit, and forgot about it.
Marie will be back blogging on Wednesday 11 September