I’ve applied to the Investment Graduate Scheme during my last year at university. The application process consisted of a video interview, face-to-face interview and an assessment centre. At the the face-to-face interview, I could immediately see that the environment at M&G was very different compared to other London firms. Everyone was very relaxed and friendly, and the interview was more of a discussion, rather than a questioning. I didn’t have any prior work experience when I applied, so it was relatively surprising to receive the offer – especially considering how competitive the process is.
Early in September all the grads received a 4-week introductory training programme. During this period we had some basic introduction to financial subjects (e.g. accounting, financial maths…), as well as some more practical courses – like Presenting, for example.
This initial period is a great opportunity to get to know the other grads. There are lots of events both with current and previous year’s grads – and lunch is always provided!
This is what sets this programme really apart. Rotating through different business areas gives you the opportunity of understanding how different parts of the business work, finding a job you really like and building a network of contacts throughout the organisation.
I personally rotated in Fixed Income Asset Backed Securities, Prudential Portfolio Management Group, Equities and Infrastructure Finance.
Having a mostly quantitative skillset, I had no issues finding useful work that I could do for the different teams. Therefore, I ended up enjoying all my rotations quite a lot. Also, every time I joined a new team, I had the opportunity to see how they thought and approached problems, and include this into my skillset.
Rotating every 10 weeks can be a bit challenging at the beginning. The moment you understand how to do a job, you’re moved to a completely different team. After the second rotation, however, you tend to get the hang of it, and it actually becomes quite enjoyable.
The thing that probably surprised me the most is how much responsibility managers are willing to give you. After a week I found myself in meetings with investment banks, talking about large deals in exotic asset classes. You are treated as a true member of the teams you join, and your opinion is always taken into account.
The firm structure is also very flat (for example, the CEO sits on the floor) and everyone is ready to talk to you. This is also helpful when trying to plan your rotations – as most directors are ready to sit down with you to understand whether their team could be a good fit. Working hours are also great – normally in the 9am to 6pm range (air conditioning turns off at 7pm; we interpret that as M&G inviting us to leave).