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When I decided to leave the military, I knew I wanted to move into a career that would give me a high-level view of the business world and detailed skills in finance. I attended a business school recruiting fair, and after speaking with an Army vet who was also a second year associate at Barclays, it quickly became evident that a career in banking would give me that opportunity. He told me about some of the deals he had recently worked on and he gave me the contact information of a number of veterans throughout the organization who were more than willing to speak to me about their experiences.
By the time I arrived at Barclays for my summer internship, I had spoken to a number of people at the bank, spent many hours studying finance and even purchased a brand new calculator. On paper, I felt ready to go. However, anxiety remained as I walked into the bank for my first day on the desk. My strategy was to use the same approach that had made me successful in the military: maintain a positive attitude and a willingness to learn. I quickly found myself immersed in everything from term loans to corporate mergers.
I developed many skills during my time in the military that helped me transition successfully. My engineering job in the Navy required me to deal with complicated logistical challenges on a regular basis. Exposure to these complex math-related problems every day provided me with the ability to better understand and analyze the numbers I encounter in banking. My position overseeing submarine maintenance also equipped me with great management experience. These operations required me to handle the expectations of senior military officers while overseeing the work of military and shipyard personnel. The leadership skills I gained during these operations have proven useful while working with everyone from Managing Directors to summer interns during my time at Barclays.
I didn’t always have the answers that first summer, but my fellow Analysts and Associates were eager to pass on advice and happy to see my contributions grow as the summer progressed.
Having returned to Barclays as a full time Associate, I can now better understand the firm’s dedication to recruiting veterans. Finance is a challenging industry, filled with tight deadlines and demanding projects, and my military experience provides an excellent skill set to manage these pressures. The firm's commitment to training and mentorship support the steep learning curve that many encounter when transitioning out of the military. For any other veterans looking to make the transition, I would pass on the advice that you are in good company. There are many military veterans already working in finance, especially at Barclays, who would be happy to help you succeed.