Zainab Khan

I always wanted to work in a profession where I would use mathematical skill,work as part of a team, and ultimately advise executives of the biggest companies in the world.

Having completed my Economics and Statistics degree at UCL last summer, I joined the Barclays Equity-Linked desk within Equity Capital Markets (ECM) on the graduate programme.  But this wasn’t the beginning of my journey at Barclays. That began in December 2009…

I applied for the Barclays Spring Insight Programme in my first year of university, and was lucky enough to be offered a place on the programme. I was then fast-tracked for a summer internship interview, so I had secured a summer internship for the following year before my first year had even finished.

The following summer I completed the summer internship within ECM, sitting on the Equity-Linked desk.  I absolutely loved the team and the work they did, and was thrilled to be offered a place on the graduate programme on the final day of the internship. I completed the programme a couple of weeks ago, and am now in my second year on the job.

Now, a quick 101 on the team I work in.  ECM essentially assists corporates in raising finance through equities; we sit on the private side, within Investment Banking Division (IBD) so we work on confidential transactions.  Companies can raise finance through floating on the stock exchange (Initial Public Offering) or issuing new shares (rights issue, block sale)… these are the more well-known routes, but they may also have equity-linked needs and that’s where my team comes in.  

My day begins at 7.45 for the ECM morning meeting.  A junior from ECM presents a market update on any macro events, company results or deals that have come to market.  Given the nature of our work, we have to be constantly aware of what’s happening in the markets; there could be a potential opportunity for us to pitch.

Our team is always either originating or executing deals.  Given there aren’t always deals to execute, we spend the majority of our time originating deals and pitching new ideas.  

As a junior, origination means pricing up convertible bonds or derivative structures and creating books for seniors to pitch in meetings to treasury teams or even the CFO/CEO of a company.  Given the seniority of the client, our work has to be of the best quality and this is something I love about the job; the responsibility.  There is no room for error as the work we do will end up in front of a corporate executive.  

I have been so pleased about the importance the team has placed on my development.  Many members of the team have taken time out to explain the pricers we are using and the theory behind them, and they are still answering all my questions. The on-the-desk support is fantastic.  One of my biggest accomplishments this year was pitching an idea to a CFO of a FTSE 250 company at the age of just 21!