University Finance Societies - who should I join?
If you’re looking to get yourself into the top financial careers, you’re going to need real life experience and in order to give yourself some CV boosting extra-curricular stuff (all important in today’s climate), joining your Uni Finance Society should probably be pretty high up your to-do list.
Are they all the same?
Almost every Uni in the country has a Finance Society of some kind, although some are more specific, as with Banking or Investment Societies. It’s important to gear your choice or direction within that society to your career path – whilst going to talks about Accountancy are still useful, they’re not going to set employers alight if you want to pursue a path in investment banking.
When the rankings for the best Universities for getting you into Investment Banking were released recently, one thing was made explicitly clear – it was not just the academic side of these Universities that were enticing employers to candidates, but also their extremely involved Finance Societies, which were guiding students towards real world experience as well as relevant information and events.
For example, the University that topped those rankings, the London School of Economics, has the LSE Investment Society, which organises more than 50 different events every year. They also work with a load of corporate sponsors in order to help members build their skills in relevant fields. If you’re at LSE or various other institutions that are society heavy, you’ll be lucky enough to have a whole host of niche societies related to various fields within the industry, and you should find the ones that are most relevant to your career path in order to maximise their positive effect. These niches are great, but they're not as widely available in some Universities as they are at more career-focused institutions like LSE.
What if I'm at a Uni without such societies?
Employers are looking for you to impress them, so if you can show that you’ve done something of note within whatever Societies you have at your disposal, they’re going to be impressed. If there’s only a broad Finance Society at your Uni, make sure you’re attending the relevant talks and so forth, and then why not have a go at setting up some of your own events which are more related to your career path. Your entrepreneurial spirit will be noted and your desire to work in the industry will shine through – and that can only be a good thing.
What we’re getting at here is that the most important thing is getting involved and showing that you have the desire and drive to be part of the world of your chosen career. Anyone can join a society, but the best candidates show they’re made of more by actively engaging in it and making sure that no opportunities pass them by.
TL; DR: Join whatever Society you can, get involved and add as many relevant strings to your bow as possible!