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What it’s like to start work on the rotational graduate scheme at Allianz and LV= and how it helps you choose a career path

21 Jun 2023, 15:42

Nadia Begum is a general insurance graduate trainee currently working in the corporate communications team after completing a degree in politics and international relations at Aston University.

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Why did you choose to accept a role on the Allianz and LV= graduate scheme?

After graduating, like many others I couldn’t decide what I wanted to pursue as a career. The Allianz and LV= rotational scheme instantly attracted me due to the variety of placement roles you get to experience across the commercial and personal lines of the business. As you are training you can look for a role that is suited to you, which has enabled me to network across the business and try different business areas before settling into a role. Allianz is such a large organization, spanning many countries, divisions, areas and departments, and the flexibility on offer meant that if I was curious to learn about an area, it was as simple as setting up a call and going from there.

The scheme also allows you to study for an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute (ACII) qualification, which was important to me from a learning and development perspective. As I had no prior knowledge of the insurance industry it has also helped me gain a much deeper understanding of the business.

Nadia Begum, general insurance graduate trainee

General insurance trainee at Allianz

You’re in the corporate communications team – what is that, exactly?

The corporate communications team is primarily responsible for protecting the reputation of the company, with the aim of earning understanding and support for the business and influencing behaviour and opinion. Working with journalists and politicians, we promote the activities and work that the business is proud of, while at the same time protecting the company if ever things do go wrong. It’s also our responsibility to be the conscience of the business and flag anything that doesn’t feel quite right. Covering everything from media relations and government affairs to working together with our content and social teams, it’s a fast-moving, varied environment and a hugely exciting team to be part of.

Please describe a typical day.

Officially my role is supporting the head of corporate communications, the head of public relations, and the head of public affairs – my days vary according to what the team and business need. It’s a very small team so I’ve been exposed to so much during my time so far. I have been involved in multiple tasks including, but not limited to, writing press releases and briefing packs, and putting together briefing papers for the head of public affairs. In a typical day I start by producing an ‘article of interest’ email which compiles all the latest industry news in the last 24 hours relevant to Allianz, which is sent out to the entire business. The remainder of the day is unpredictable but at the moment I am involved in an interesting project with the sales and marketing team which has been insightful. After I’ve done this I can go on to another rotation.

What skills are particularly useful in your work?

Communication (reading, writing and oral), influencing , creative thinking , stakeholder management and organisational skills. I thought that my previous rotation would be all numbers and statistics, but I found that soft skills, particularly communication, were key for good customer services. Some of those skills I picked up from university and a part-time job. I would say work on being confident in yourself and what you bring to the table. When you are a graduate, although you are working with experienced people, your viewpoint is really valued and listened to. That’s about being confident and it’s an attribute that will take you far and might create opportunities you didn’t know were there.

What will your rotation scheme take you on to next?

The rotational scheme involves a one-year placement, followed by three six-month placements you choose across the business. In my previous rotation I worked as an assistant underwriter as part of the engineering, construction and power team, which involved negotiating with brokers as well as working on a Net Promoter Score project and with a customer focus group. My current placement in the corporate communications team is the first I’ve chosen, and I have two more to go. Where I go next will depend on my interests and what is available. If you know there’s a rotation you’d like to do because it is 100% your thing, your graduate manager can help accommodate that. Equally, if you find a rotation amazing and you want to stay and progress within it, Allianz will try to support you there.

Personally I want to keep exploring, as you are really encouraged to try out lots of roles and placements. I could go into human resources (HR), operations, or marketing, for example. All I would have to do is express an interest to my mentor, or a key stakeholder in the business who looks after that area, and they would put me in contact with someone who had experience in that role, such as a previous graduate trainee and the manager of that area. There is so much to experience before I go into a permanent role.

What would be the best piece of advice you would give students/grads considering which area of work to apply to?

  • Don’t underestimate the power of your voice as you bring a fresh pair of eyes to the business and can add value through sharing different perspectives.
  • Always ask questions and make enquiries – if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
  • Make opportunities for yourself; it can be as simple as setting up a teams call.
  • You are the captain of your own ship so try your best to get the most out of the scheme.

Has anything surprised you (in a good way!) about working at Allianz?

How welcoming and willing to help everyone is. Every month graduates get a chance to speak to someone very senior whom you might not usually have a chance to engage with which is organised by our graduate committee. It’s a really open and transparent environment.

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