William JohnsonBanking and International Finance BSc (Hons)
"My greatest experience to date has been the opportunity to grasp and embrace the truly international community of City University."
What has been your greatest experience at City so far?
My greatest experience to date has been the opportunity to grasp and embrace the truly international community of the university – you will find someone from literally every corner of the globe. It’s a great way of being able to build an international network from a young age and meet people you would otherwise not have the opportunity to meet.
What is your dream job once you graduate?
Upon graduation, I want to enter into the finance industry as an M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions) Analyst which assists companies with corporate takeovers and other related financing needs. Ideally, I would like to work for a large integrated bulge bracket bank which provides an opportunity to work on some of Europe’s largest transactions and change industry landscapes in the process.
What appeals to you most about this profession?
Primarily, it is the variety of transferable skills you gain as well as the learning curve around business and finance valuation. From the outset, you get lots of exposure to large companies and their challenges. I think the most exciting part, however, is the interaction you get with senior members of the team and the ability to learn from very experienced professionals. Furthermore, being able to work on deals that involve high profile clients sets you up well for the future and keeps plenty of doors open going forward. Ultimately, the stimulating work and the fact that no two transactions are the same is what makes this path stand out from others to me.
What kind of qualities do you think you will need to succeed in this role?
To succeed in this role, you need a balance of skills combined with a stellar work ethic and willingness to grow as a person. The most important lesson I’ve learnt and a point I think a lot of students miss is that you have to be well-rounded and quite well-developed in terms of your skills before even applying – these are aspects you need to work on while at university where there is more than enough opportunity. To succeed, you need to work on softer skills such as team working with a large variety of people from diverse backgrounds, leadership and excellent written and verbal skills. In terms of more technical aspects, you clearly need to be comfortable with numbers, financial theory and working with problems or insufficient data. Finally, you need to actually have a passion and a desire to do it – which is something that will develop as you progress.
How has City helped you towards achieving this goal?
City also run a student ambassador and tutoring programme where they link you with partner schools which I would highly recommend because not only are they enjoyable but they look great on your applications. There is also the “Employability Skills Programme” every week for the first term of the year which is where top employers, mostly from the City, come and talk to you about careers available and how best to position yourself – this is alongside the standard career fairs. You should try and get on their radar as soon as possible, even before university.
Ultimately, the best part of the courses within the business school is that they are extraordinarily specific and applicable to the real world. If you ever have to go through rounds of technical interviews, you will feel a lot more at ease than others talking about financial concepts and current events. This for me was a big plus compared to studying more abstract subjects such as pure economics.
What are your hopes for a future career?
For my future career, for now at least, I will keep an open mind and make the most of any opportunities that come my way. I think today careers are a lot more volatile than they have been in the past and people tend to switch careers and even whole industries a lot more frequently. In my idealistic world however, my long-term ambition is to do something that combines both my interests in finance and strategy and become a leader in a top global organisation. For now, I will simply focus on learning and development whilst pushing myself as far as I can go towards that goal.