This sector has always been a very popular career choice for Exeter graduates, and organisations recruiting in this sector have a high profile on campus, with the ‘big four’ consistently featuring in the top 10 employers of Exeter graduates.
This sector encompasses careers in banking, accountancy, insurance, financial planning, investments and pensions, and tax and offers a wide range of job opportunities.
Many roles and graduate schemes are open to any or various degree disciplines and the skills required vary. You might be a Maths or Computer Science graduate with a PhD working in a highly analytical post. On the other hand, you could be from an Arts or Humanities background. Some roles are much more about relationship building, though most will need a combination of skills and you will often need to show numerical aptitude during selection.
A common thread to succeeding in any role within this sector is strong commercial awareness and a keen interest in finance. Every news story of the day has a potential impact on the world of finance, so you should be interested in following those, listening to opinions and developing your own ideas.
Competition can be fierce and for areas such as Banking and Investment, early planning is advisable. Many Investment Banks, for example, will use short vacation programmes and internships as a way to select for graduate roles, making it more difficult if you apply as a finalist or graduate without that experience.
Career Zone Employability Schemes
These can help to increase your work experience and networks in this area.
- Career Zone Internship schemes: Internships can be extremely useful, so try to get relevant vacation work or placements.
- Ask an Alum: A fuss-free way to connect with University of Exeter alumni to ask careers questions.
- Career Mentor Scheme: A popular employability scheme which matches a student or graduate with an experienced professional, for sector insight and one-to-one careers advice and guidance, over a 6-month period.
- Professional Pathways: a suite of sector specific training courses and paid week-long internships that take place in June.
Have a look at the following brief videos for an overview of this sector and roles.
- Banking and Finance – My Career Zone Digital
- Accounting – My Career Zone Digital
- Accountancy and Financial Services – icould
Take a look at this blog post interviewing Raniah, an Exeter graduate, about her route to becoming an Acting Credit Manager in Jordon.
To see if there are any Exeter alumni working in this sector that you can get in touch with, go to the LinkedIn Alumni tool.
If you would like to do further research into this sector, the following webpages may be very useful:
- Prospects: Overview of the UK’s Financial Sector – A summary of different financial careers, information on top employers, internships, and skills.
- Target Jobs: Financial Services and Insurance – An overview of the jobs, internships, events, and employers in the sector, as well as industry specific advice for career progression.
- Bankers by Day – of guides on banking and finance, with a focus on early careers.
- The Unofficial Guide to Banking – put together by Deutsche Bank, a great guide for getting to grip with what banks do and where you might best fit.
- The Actuary – Magazine of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.
- The Government Actuaries Department
- efinancialcareers – Particularly useful information for asset management and investment banking, including current news and views.
- Financial Times – Keep up to date with the latest information on current affairs and companies within the sector.
For general information about finding graduate opportunities, please visit our Graduate Jobs page and for a list general job search engines please visit our general job sources page. For sector specific job listings, the following resources may be particularly helpful:
- Accountancy Careers, Actuarial Careers, and Insurance Careers – Specialist job boards, with guides on each role and employer directories.
- Hays Recruitment Agency – Online source of accounting and finance roles.
- Econ-Jobs.com – Roles in economic and related financial fields.
- The Actuarial post
- Job listing in The Actuary publication of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.
Some of the many professional bodies listed below have vacancy pages.
You could also have a look at a list of Employers of Exeter graduates in the finance sector.
If you have studied a related degree, check if your course is accredited by one of the professional bodies, or if you can gain exemption from some exams. Being a member of a professional body is voluntary however, it can be valuable for developing networks, continuing your professional development, and generally keeping up to date with what's happening in the sector.
- Association of Accounting Technicians – Provides practical accounting and finance qualifications.
- Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) – Access to employer resources, and advice on booking exams.
- Association of Insurance and Risk Managers – Offers training workshops, a technical library, and annual conferences.
- Association of Taxation Technicians – A professional body for UK tax compliance services, where you can register as a student.
- Chartered Banker Institute – The largest professional body for bankers in the UK, offers study programmes and professional banking qualifications.
- Chartered Financial Analysts UK – Offers opportunities to study, events, and a professional learning platform for personal development.
- Chartered Governance Institute UK and Ireland – Work experience, jobs and professional development.
- Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) – Professional qualifications, CPD and networks.
- Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy – The site includes training vacancies relating to accountancy.
- Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI) – Offers qualifications in security and investments, and merged with the Institute of Financial Planning (IFP), so also offers qualifications in Financial Planning.
- Chartered Insurance Institute – Insurance and financial planning, including apprenticeship vacancies.
- Insolvency Practitioners Association – A body to licence Insolvency Practitioners.
- Institute of Asset Management – Offers qualifications and professional development in asset management.
- Institute of Certified Bookkeepers – Offers professional vocational qualifications to become a bookkeeper.
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW) – Site includes career support and vacancies.
- Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) – Site provides training vacancies, qualifications, and professional resources.
- Institute of Credit Management – Virtual training and qualifications in credit management.
- Institute and Faculty of Actuaries – Site discusses early actuarial careers, includes apprenticeships, training, and graduate roles. There is also a directory of employers.
- Institute of Financial Accountants – News and professional governance.
- Institute of Internal Auditors – Training and job vacancies.
- Institute of Legal Finance and Management – Site provides training, professional qualifications, and job vacancies for legal finance professionals.
- Institute of Money Advisers – The only professional body solely for money advisors, provides training and job opportunities.
- Institute of Risk Management (IRM) – Offers training, qualifications, and events in Risk Management.
- International Compliance Association – A professional body for the global regulatory and financial crime communities.
- Investor Relations Society – Supports personal development in investor relations, which includes professional qualifications and career mentoring.
- Pension Management Institute – The largest body for pension professionals, which provides qualifications and hosts events.
- The Personal Finance Society – Provides qualifications and e-mentoring for the financial planning profession.
If you would like to pursue postgraduate study before entering your chosen sector, please visit our Postgraduate Study information page for more information about choosing further study.
It can often be useful to gain postgraduate qualifications in the relevant subject area if your undergraduate degree is in a different topic but, beware, there are many courses on the market, and they are not all equally successful in getting you that "dream job". You can always complement your degree with professional qualifications to show your commitment towards the industry (see Professional Bodies section).