Charlotte Smyth - Technology
“I work on projects that test my mettle – and I’ve flourished in countless ways.”
Posted 5 months ago
My name is Zain Hussain and I am in my second year studying Actuarial Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science. In my first year, I recall friends constantly applying for spring weeks and getting rejected, which lead me to believe that I stood no chance of being accepted myself. Then, during an evening in the library, I gathered the courage to apply for just one. That application was for Technology at Barclays.
I sent my CV through the Barclays website, which was followed by an online video interview. During the interview, I mentioned as many positive experiences as I had and also talked about the Barclays’ five values, which I’d researched beforehand. Thankfully, a few weeks later, I received a phone call informing me of my place at the Spring Week. That day taught me something everyone should know: never underestimate yourself. If you don’t try, you’ll never find out. Applying is the least you can do, because even if you don’t succeed, you’ll have gained experience that you otherwise wouldn’t have.
On the first day I was nervous but confident. We had ice-breaking activities, workshops for CV-writing and interview skills, work shadowing, panel discussions, networking sessions, and even a visit to Eagle Labs in Edinburgh. We were also given a topic to research in groups of four or five which then we had to present back on at the end of the week. Ours was open banking, which is a fairly new initiative in the banking industry. It’s a really exciting subject because it is both current and relates to the bank’s future plans rather than its past achievements.
There are certain activities I remember vividly. Work shadowing days gave me the opportunity to ask questions and learn about different areas. One day we joined coders and on another, we visited a project manager. We joined a conference call with Barclays employees in Pune, India. And there was one particular networking session where I got to know both my fellow spring week participants and employees from various sectors. A very enjoyable way to make friends.
Looking back at my experience, the highlight was definitely the amazing people I met. I learned so much about Technology at Barclays, and the different paths taken by my peers to get to where they are today. But what I’m most grateful for is discovering what I’m capable of. I never imagined being able to research and present a topic so unfamiliar to me to a group of senior employees at Barclays. What I take from this is a certain mindset. The strength to always venture out of our comfort zone, as this is where we learn, grow and realise our potential.