After graduating from university with a degree in Accounting and Finance, I started exploring what career paths were available to me. I’d always had a passion for STEM- based subjects and I knew I wanted to work within the financial industry however, I wasn’t set on a specific career path.
“ As a woman and a new graduate pursuing a career in the financial industry, I thought the odds would be against me."
I recall, just after my A-levels several people in my life tried to persuade me to enter the health industry as a nurse as they thought this would be the best career path for me for obvious reasons. However, I was always determined to find myself a career in STEM and to have a role I’d enjoy.
I joined Nationwide in 2015 as a Business Analyst through a graduate scheme provided by a third party organisation. The role appealed to me as it’s an IT and Finance specialist role and so it taps into my key strengths and love of STEM.
“ The best thing to happen to me since starting here is witnessing myself develop and close the bridge between university (which is more or less theory based) and practice within Business Transformation. ”
As a BA, my team and I are responsible for effectively identifying and communicating the needs of the business and stakeholders. I really enjoy the fact that my role gives the opportunity to influence the business and interact with people in different areas. I currently work closely with stakeholders from the Commercial and Treasury space as well as stakeholders from Technical Accounting, Modelling and Testing.
“ I know this is cliché, but no two days are ever the same, I love how diverse the work I do is. I work in a team full of experts in different areas, I enjoy learning from them and tapping into their knowledge and experience. ”
My Accounting and Finance degree has certainly helped as I’m on a programme which is highly technical in financial terms. I was surprised to find out how many transferrable skills I’d learnt at university that I’m now able to use in my technical role.
The key thing that stands out to me about Nationwide is the culture and focus on PRIDE values. As a new starter in the organisation, I was fascinated by how the Building Society really cares about its members as well as the professional and personal development of its employees.
A big bonus about the headquarters location in Swindon is the great work/life balance. I know a few friends who have to work horrendously long hours in other companies and don’t get a lot of time for themselves. Whereas here, I’ve found that flexible working is encouraged and this is great because it enables me to be able to do more outside of work. In my spare time, I enjoy going to the gym and keeping active as well as going out for a drink with my friends and colleagues.
“ I don’t feel that people treat me differently because I am a woman in IT, I believe people treat me based on my merit. ”
It has to be acknowledged that there is a huge support group for women in IT in Nationwide for example, SWiN which is Swindon Women in Nationwide. Nationwide also offers mentoring to women in IT and Business!
The advice I’d give to anyone who wants to work in STEM is do your research and find a field you’re most interested in. The world is ever changing and technology is evolving, find your niche within STEM and just go for it!
Don’t take bad advice or let negative perspectives influence you, a career in STEM is what you make it. Stay determined and focus on finding a career that is right for you.
And lastly, have I made my parents proud? I approached my parents with this question and here is what they said, “when you were younger you used to sleep 24/7, we’re quite surprised that you didn’t sleep your way through your GCSEs up to university and beyond, you’ve made us all very proud”
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