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Andrea Contenta: Demonstrating Your Passion

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Seeking concrete work experience in the time of a pandemic 

Andrea was looking forward to gaining some practical experience through an internship over the summer of 2020. However, like many young people impacted by the pandemic, the experience was cancelled – leaving Andrea without any short-term objectives to accomplish. 

He was on the lookout for other ways to upskill during the time before starting his Masters in September 2020 when he learned about the Citi Markets Virtual Experience Program. Luckily enough, the program was sent out by his university from a former student who now worked at Citi in Hong Kong. 

Andrea immediately saw the relevance and benefit of the program: 

“I was interested because I didn’t have an internship at the time, and I wanted to invest my time in doing something for my knowledge. I thought it was perfect – the timing was perfect – because it was during summer and I could take my time to complete it.”

Andrea immediately felt more prepared and informed

In his words, “[the program] gave me the visibility that I lacked”. Particularly, as a student from a lesser known university in Southern Italy, Andrea only had a very limited international exposure, and hadn’t had the opportunity to learn about what an international career might look like. The program showcased the interconnected and global nature of Citi and how that translated into a day-to-day analyst role. 

“Forage was really helpful, because it gave me the means to apply what I knew. I had the desire to get involved in something concrete: Forage gave me that opportunity.”  

When the recruitment season started, Andrea was concerned that his lack of previous professional experience would hinder his ability to be accepted as an intern with Citi. However, in completing the program, he was able to showcase genuine interest to Citi, as well as demonstrate his skillset as a markets analyst: 

“… the program showed that through the experience I wanted to test my knowledge, I wanted to get involved… I liked the opportunity to demonstrate what I was able to do, because I hadn’t any previous experience that clearly conveyed this. I could show that I truly wanted to participate in an Morning Meeting, to talk to a client about a specific product, and try to understand the impact of the pandemic on trades. All in all, I think that the program really helped me to demonstrate my passion for financial markets”.

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The dedication to education shown by the Citi team was a stand out 

In reviewing his work, the team at Citi could tell Andrea’s passion for finance and his ability to perform in daily tasks of an analyst. Two months after completing the program, he was invited to an exclusive event with senior members of the Citi Markets team. Andrea was thrilled to have the opportunity to ask questions about the program content and connect with the Citi team. He felt that this opportunity would have been impossible without Forage, and that it helped him in his application by adding unique insights on the business line. 

Citi also stood out to Andrea as unique in how much the firm was giving back to students: 

“I had an image in my mind of someone [at Citi] thinking about how to help students who were facing a difficult time, how to solve this, and how to help them identify a solution to demonstrate their passion for finance. All the other banks just had a standard approach.”

When he was offered the position as a Markets Summer Analyst – Andrea had no doubts in accepting. He was surprised and honored: 

“Given my background with my undergrad degree from the South of Italy, and without previous experience, I was really honored they had chosen me to take part in a small group of students. They gave me the confidence, and opportunity to start a true working experience.” 

Before completing the program, Andrea had a broad idea that Citi was an interesting company to work for. After the experience, he understood more about what the role involved and what the company was like – reinforcing and confirming his interest and desire to apply and accept. 

Andrea also appreciates that the program enables Citi to make a more informed decision about who to hire. The work submitted by students through the program allows recruiters to see and assess ability beyond standardized testing or what an applicant looks like ‘on paper’. Instead, through a series of video tasks, the team at Citi could see originality, personality, and core communication skills. 

Demonstrate your passion! 

Andrea advises all future students to demonstrate their passion through virtual experience programs – he sees them as the perfect opportunity to get involved right from home, for free, in your own time. He says to believe in yourself – and get involved! 

Congratulations again Andrea for securing your position with Citi! 

Connect with Andrea on LinkedIn here.

Follow Forage on LinkedIn here.

By Annabel Gurney