Presented by Monocle Solutions

Industry Insights for Go-Getter Graduates

 ·18 Jun 2024

Each year, hundreds of freshly minted graduates hope to start a career in financial services.

This illustrious industry consistently attracts the top talent from a diverse range of academic backgrounds, from finance and accounting to engineering, mathematics, economics, and information science.

Despite differing specialities, graduates will likely face the same challenge as they enter the working world, however – that of having to balance a myriad of factors when choosing to accept job offers, internship opportunities or positions in graduate programmes.

As a new graduate facing this challenge, there are questions you should be asking yourself that you may not have considered before, but which will help to provide clarity on what you are seeking in a job, and whether a company would potentially be a good fit for you.

To demonstrate the importance of this step in your decision-making process, we have outlined four critical questions below, with responses provided by international management consultancy Monocle Solutions.

With offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Amsterdam and London, for over two decades Monocle has worked with some of the most prominent financial institutions in the world, executing crucial change projects at the centre of the international financial system.

The company’s comprehensive graduate programme has consistently been a top choice for driven young individuals wanting to launch their careers in management consulting and as an industry standout, it acts as a useful benchmark for graduates entering the workforce.

Four questions to consider:

What type of work environment would you like to find yourself in?

Every company ultimately lives and dies by its culture.

The core beliefs enshrined in a company’s value system will govern your daily life. Consider whether you want to work in an environment that fosters camaraderie and collaboration, or whether a fast-paced, competitive atmosphere suits you more.

A company’s website and social media platforms provide a valuable window into their culture. You can also consider reaching out to current employees to get an idea of what the working environment is like beyond a company’s graduate programme.

Monocle, for example, places a strong emphasis on promoting strong interpersonal bonds between employees.

As such, the firm hosts numerous social events throughout the year and offers employees a variety of sports clubs, including padel, golf, indoor soccer, indoor cricket, and running, as well as an arts and culture club.

Click here to see Monocle’s website and LinkedIn and Instagram pages.

What does fair remuneration look like?

As a recent graduate, you may be uncertain of what you can expect in terms of renumeration from your first job, especially if you are joining an internship or graduate programme.

Your skills and qualifications should be compensated appropriately. Do market research to ensure that you have a ballpark figure in mind and approach the hiring company with transparency.

If the company reciprocates and presents a fair offer, this is a good indication that it values you and is willing to invest in your potential.

Related to this question is the issue of job security. Does the company offer you secure employment or are you back to square one when the internship or graduate programme ends?

This is one of the most enticing features of the Monocle Analyst Graduate Programme, as graduates are ensured permanent employment and industry competitive salaries from day one.

Where does your passion lie?

While the perfect cultural fit and a fair salary are both paramount for a thriving career, if you are not passionate about the work you are doing, you may remain unfulfilled in your role.

This is why graduate programmes offer you a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the financial services industry, which is incredibly diverse, offering many opportunities and avenues for specialisation.

Monocle boasts an unparalleled number of projects with varied scopes, ensuring that employees can be easily placed on projects that suit both their skillsets and interests.

Monocle also takes a robust approach to immersing its graduates in numerous practical scenarios over several weeks to help them find their niche.

Will the company invest in your development and aspirations?

It is imperative that the graduate programme you choose is aligned with your career goals and aspirations. You should have a clear career progression path in mind and ensure that the company understands and accommodates these goals.

Often this process will require you to expand and refine your skillset over time, so it is important to look for companies that prioritise mentorship and consistent upskilling.

This is an area where the Monocle Analyst Graduate Programme shines. Graduates are provided comprehensive training in a range of fields, including coding in SQL and Python, and mastering business analysis, and they also receive ongoing guidance and mentorship from the company’s executives.

Uniquely, at Monocle, graduates are also exposed to specialised courses such as “The Fundamentals of Banking” and are encouraged to advance their critical thinking skills through textual analysis, poetry and abstract thinking.

In sum, there are several key factors that should be weighed as you prepare to enter the workforce.

Ensure that the company you choose provides an environment and culture that align with your values, empower yourself by knowing what remuneration you deserve, learn more about where your passion lies, and assess whether your employer will actively invest in your development to make your aspirations a reality.

Monocle’s Analyst Graduate Programme checks all these boxes and more, Click here to apply.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter