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How Can I Shape My Training on an In-house Finance Graduate Scheme?

Pick your industry…

Before you even apply you can start to shape the kind of experience you’ll gain on an in-house finance graduate programme. Companies will run specific projects which reflect the idiosyncrasies and demands of the industry and markets they operate in; many of which will call on the support of their in-house finance department.

This means that you could get the opportunity to work on the finance aspects of some very niche areas. Your knowledge of the finance demands of a certain industry will end up running much deeper with a wider range experiences in that particular area than perhaps someone working for a professional services firm. 

So which industry would you most like to work in? The majority of medium-sized and large businesses have in-house finance departments, so it’s up to you to start doing your research and find out which one ignites your interest most. How about energy and utilities? Engineering? Retail? Technology? Maybe sport? Or perhaps law? The list is endless! In-house finance can really be a great option if you’re keen to unite a passion for finance with another of your other interests.

Which professional qualification would you like you study?

Different companies will have selected different professional qualifications as part of their programmes, so think about whether you have any preferences of qualification you’d like to study for.

This means thinking ahead a little more to where you might ultimately want to be when you’re into the more senior stages of career. For example, would you like to become a manager? Or even the head of a finance department?

All professional qualifications that companies choose to include within their graduate programmes will be accredited and recognised within the industry as an indication that you’ve gained a high level of training and have met industry standards. But take some time to check out the qualification progression of each of the relevant professional bodies. Are you able to obtain Chartered status eventually through the groundwork of the qualification the company is offering if this is your aim?

On the graduate programme…

There will be a structure to your programme; many of them will operate a rotational approach which means you will get to sit with the corporate finance department and also with a number of the company’s business units. This all fits in with the things you need to cover and experience to qualify for your professional qualification as well.

You’ll go into the depths of the company and work with various departments to give you a really comprehensive view of the finance needs across the whole business, coloured by the industry the company is in.

Within some companies these rotations make it possible to state your preferences on where you’d like to spend time and gain experience. This could partly be determined by company demand, but if you’re really keen to work in a specialist area like the treasury or tax for instance, then don’t be afraid to voice your career ambitions to your mentors and colleagues.  If you have a strong idea of where you want to be ultimately, then in-house finance schemes can be a great way to get this type of specialist experience.