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Graduate Scheme Structure: Banking, Finance & Accountancy

Graduate schemes can vary from employer to employer in their structure. Here are some of the key differences and features to expect…

Non-rotational programme

A large number of graduate schemes in banking, finance and accountancy follow a non-rotational structure. This means that over the course of your programme you will work within one team in your area. You could be on a particular trading desk on an investment bank front office scheme, for instance.

You’ll get to work on a variety of different projects which ensure you gather a wide range of experiences. The more you aim to vary your experience during a programme, the better idea you’ll have about your career direction.

Rotational programme

Some graduate schemes in finance or accountancy may focus on a core area, such as assurance and business services, technology or tax. However, the time could include some spells with another department within the company, or even a secondment with a client or another of the firm’s offices.

This could be the case particularly in an in-house finance graduate position. You may sit with a variety of different teams across the business throughout your programme to gain an understanding of different functions, how finance adapts to other departments’ needs, and how it affects and supports those departments and the business as a whole.


Buddy elements and regular mentoring will guide you through your learning and answer any questions you will inevitably have along the way. Mentors will also help you to shape your career progression. You’ll be able to inform them of your ambitions, for example a role you’d like to work up to or an a specialist area of expertise you’d like to develop, and they will advise on what you can do within your role and within the company to achieve your goals.  

Professional qualification study

Graduate schemes in the finance industry usually involve a number of exams throughout the period to earn a relevant professional qualification for your industry area.

Many employers give their graduates study leave around exam season. You may also get a day or so every few weeks to attend college in preparation for modules.

Depending on the qualification you’re studying for, you may sit either one exam at a time, or you may study to take exams for more than one module around the same time period.


By Jos Weale, Editor,

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