Mountbatten Institute - Aisha Barakat

Name: Aisha Barakat
Job Title: Analyst
Company: Mountbatten Institute
Sectors: Banking, Finance, Human Resources, Insurance

Aisha has a 2.1 in Managerial and Administrative Studies from Aston University. She works at Bank of NY Mellon (Through the Mountbatten Institute Internship Programme).

How did you find the application and interview process for your job?

The application was fair and no different from applying for a typical job role. The cover letter asked to outline some basic criteria including your background and motivations for applying for the program. The interview process with employers is given at short notice but the important thing to remember is that those interviewing you are very busy people. No interviewer is there to catch you out; they want you to be yourself and see if you fit into the organization. Being open minded and flexible will certainly help you through the interview process.

Why did you decide to work in this industry?

I applied to work in finance because I wanted to gain experience working in a challenging and competitive industry. There are a of wealth of opportunities working in this industry beyond spreadsheets which I think it is important for people to realize. Lastly understanding finance is imperative particularly if you want to progress your career to a senior level.

What do you enjoy most about working in this industry?

Working in one of the biggest financial capitals in the world has been the best thing about working in finance in New York. Working on Wall Street has been a great experience as it has a wealth of history but also people who are experts in their industries. I have been fortunate to work with people who run some of the biggest corporations in the world and get an insight into how they do that.

What have you struggled most with since starting you career, and do you have any advice on how to overcome it?

The biggest challenge since starting my career has been to get experience in an industry where I have no experience. My advice to others is to be persistent and open minded. Every organization allows you to develop your current skills set and to network with your colleagues. Utilize your resources and use your initiative to find opportunities. Lastly from experience employers hire people not resumes so just be yourself.

Do you feel diversity is an issue in the Industry you work in?

Working in New York I have been fortunate to work with people from a multitude of backgrounds which I would expect. However I feel there is always room for diversity regardless of what industry you work in.

What's the best career advice you've ever received?

Do a job you enjoy. This sounds very cliché but the reality is that you spend more time in work than with your family or friends. Secondly don’t be afraid of failing things. Often the mistakes you make are the ones you learn the most from. Lastly don’t take yourself too seriously; a good sense of humor never hurt anyone.

What advice would you give to other aspiring graduates looking to work in your field?

I feel a lot of graduates assume they will secure a great job when they graduate because they have a strong degree from a reputable university. The reality is that a degree alone is not going to guarantee you that. Carry out as much work experience as you can throughout university and get involved in lots of different activities to boost your resume. You will never get a better time to network than while you are at university so use all the resources that are available to you.

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