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Calum Lazarus: Upskilling to Prepare for Day 1

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Calum likes to learn through application – and when trying to decide what roles to apply for, he was finding it somewhat frustrating not knowing specifically what he would be doing on the job and how to best showcase his skills. 

Calum stumbled across the Citi Markets Virtual Experience Program as he was trying to prepare himself for the upcoming internship application season in July 2020. He was immediately struck by how relevant the content was – while he didn’t expect it to lead to a job per se – he thought it looked like a great way to build his CV and show his proactivity in learning about the industry. 

The experience for Calum was beneficial in a number of ways: 

1. It provided accurate and detailed insight as to what a markets analyst does

“Forage gives you an actual idea about what you will be doing. What I did before the virtual experience was contact different people on LinkedIn and ask them what they do on a day-to-day basis. 

This is hard because there are so many different roles, and so the responses would be completely varied depending on the area of the team they worked in. People often don’t reply because they don’t have a lot of time.” 

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2. It helped him prepare better for his application and interview 

As part of the experience Calum had to pitch a trade idea – which was a direct task that was required in his formal interview. “You can’t prepare better than that” as he then spent time in the lead up to his interview honing the required skills. It also helped to identify gaps in his skills that he needed to improve: 

“It isn’t learning what you need to know, it is finding out what you don’t know and what you need to learn in the first place.” 

3. It let him learn about Citi’s global interconnectivity, making him excited to work at Citi

Calum understood that Citi was a global bank, but the tasks in the program further emphasized the internal connectivity and global relevance of a Markets role. Enjoying the program as much as he did, he was confident and motivated to apply knowing that the role as a Markets Analyst was the right fit:  

“The program and some of the tasks were exactly what I wanted – talking about news stories and their impact on the market – that’s what I want to be doing on a day-to-day basis.”

4. His performance contributed to securing a job with Citi 

Calum was offered a position at Citi as an incoming summer analyst within the Markets division in Hong Kong. The team had reviewed his work in the virtual work experience and were really impressed with his submissions. Calum was super excited that this experience had not only helped in preparation for his application – but also played a direct role in helping him to secure a position. 

Calum is looking forward to starting with Citi and is really pleased with the positive experience he’s had through their program and recruitment process. When reflecting upon his previous experience in applying for roles throughout university, he calls for a broader industry change for companies to better showcase and explain their positions to students: 

“There needs to be a much clearer link between what the job is and what you can expect. A lot of jobs only have brief 4-5 bullet points and you can’t fully understand what it involves. 

Every firm should have a program like that – because while the roles might be the same, they have different products or cultures, juniors might have different roles on entry. So I would really, really suggest every firm, regardless of the role or the industry should have a program like this. 

It would take a lot of pressure off candidates who have to actively go so far out of their way to find out what they need to know. It would really help just bridge a massive gap between how the firm wants to train their interns and what they actually do and what the candidates want to know.

It is the one thing missing in the whole recruitment process. I’ve heard from many people that it’s not a problem that is just in the banking industry, it is in most industries, there is a massive gap between the two.” 

His parting piece of advice to future students was: 

“What I learned out of this mostly is, if you ever get an opportunity to do something productive, even if you don’t think that’s something directly will come up from it, you just never know what is waiting around the corner. Because, in my case, it directly helped with my application and they’ve recruited directly, which was not something I expected to happen, but it did so just take any opportunity, you get no matter how big or small.” 

Connect with Calum on LinkedIn here.

Follow Forage on LinkedIn here.

By Annabel Gurney – 2021-03-11