Careers Service


Hassan Aslam: Dealer Fixed Income Bonds

  • Degree: BSc Management Accounting and Finance (2012)
  • Home country: Pakistan
  • Now working: UK
  • Role: Dealer Fixed Income Bonds at JSBL

My story

If you are an undergraduate student then make the most of your time here to build a portfolio of work experience. Although current visa restrictions affect your chances of securing employment in the UK but always remember the employers place a strong emphasis on work experience, academic achievement is no longer enough, so you will have to be determined and proactive in sourcing opportunities. Ideally, employers are looking for applicants with relevant work experience. After all, this demonstrates motivation and understanding of the business/professional culture. But don’t despair if you don’t get the chance, I didn’t get one also. But the key here is to stay focused and strive for the right targets.

My “wide-net approach”

My first job offer was from Swiss Finance Corporation (London) and it was a product of sheer networking. Right after my first lecture in the final year I dedicated myself to online-applications. My target was investment banking. I name the approach I adopted, “a wide-net approach”. This included making at least 1 application in two days. By the time of my mid-year examinations I had applied to a couple of dozen financial institutions. During the winter break, I started getting interview calls. I got in touch with professionals working in SFC through social media websites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor. Connecting with the employers served as a three-way gain:

  1. Identifying the current “real” opportunities within the company
  2. Pinpointing the right skill-set and experience required to make me more employable
  3. Helping me out with the recommendations and interview process. I remember visiting London almost every week to either attend SFC’s annual event, an employee’s birthday party or my to-be-boss’s reception! But at the end it was all worth it…

My time in Manchester

The Career Service was my best friend from day one and I would advise others to prepare the same. May it be regarding part-time work, graduate job-fairs, online applications, telephone interviews, assessment centers etc, they always have their doors open. Moreover, even after you graduate they remain with you throughout your careers thick and thin. Since I have graduated I have been in constant touch with my alumni coordinators at the careers services and I’ve never really felt any support lacking.

Suggestions for other students

If you are an undergraduate student then make the most of your time here to build a portfolio of work experience. Although current visa restrictions affect your chances of securing employment in the UK but always remember the employers place a strong emphasis on work experience, academic achievement is no longer enough, so you will have to be determined and proactive in sourcing opportunities. Ideally, employers are looking for applicants with relevant work experience. After all, this demonstrates motivation and understanding of the business/professional culture. But don’t despair if you don’t get the chance, I didn’t get one also. But the key here is to stay focused and strive for the right targets.

Making the decision to study abroad is brave and bold

Moving thousands of miles away from family, friends and familiar surroundings is a pretty big deal, so give yourself credit for getting this far. Studying abroad can be a rich cultural experience but like everything else in life, you’ll only get out what you put in. Embrace any opportunities that come your way and get into the habit of saying ‘yes’. Do this and you’re well on your way to acquiring the flexible attitude and global mindset that employers value.

Think of your job search in global, not local, terms!

Although you may have aspirations to work in the UK or mainland Europe, it’s important to temper these aspirations with reality. Apply for graduate roles but don’t invest all your energy (and hopes) on a successful outcome. So please, stay connected to news and developments back home as this may inform your career choices and help you plan your next steps.

Returning home after an experience abroad is a mixed bag of emotions. Many face reverse culture shock, accompanying feelings of depression and anxiety about what they left behind. Others just can’t wait to talk about it! I belong to the latter lot. The return of skilled young graduates is crucial to the development of any country or origin. When there is mass migration of skilled youth, countries are most likely to suffer the impact of “brain drain” in critical sectors.

Stay connected to news and developments back home as this may inform your career choices and help you plan your next steps. Hassan, 2012 graduate