Associate blog: Fatima on how upReach helped her secure a dream internship

 

“I cannot emphasise enough how much upReach has helped me!”

King’s Associate and Spring Insight Programme convert to Summer Analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Fatima explains what upReach means for her.

How has your experience with upReach helped you?
Being an upReach Associate has been incredible! Being the first in my family to go to university, I was not aware of all the opportunities out there for people like myself. Since being an upReach Associate, I was able to attend a KPMG Insight Day where I was able to interact with employees and learn more about the sector, and understand service lines such as tax, pensions, audits and consulting. I was also able to secure an offer for the Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML) Spring Insight Programme for first year students and then a conversion to the Summer Analyst internship!

Working with Programme Coordinators that are passionate about helping you is what makes upReach unique. They have helped guide me, nurture my motivation and instil the confidence I lacked to apply to all the opportunities available.

How valuable was upReach’s support in helping you secure your conversion to the Summer Analyst internship at Bank of America Merrill Lynch?
Massively! I could not do it without upReach and the continuous support I received. I didn’t think I could secure an opportunity, so was not even going to apply in the beginning. But the team encouraged me and prepared me by helping me attempt the Situational Judgement Test (SJT) on my.upReach, upReach’s website for Associates. They also explained to me what each division entailed before applying and making my selection. I have no contacts in the corporate world, so after securing a place on the Spring Insight Programme, I feared not knowing what to expect. However, I was prepared before I started thanks to upReach. I made sure to ask questions and be seen.

What did you do with your Programme Coordinator and the team to help you achieve this?
Stephanie (my Programme Coordinator) was incredible! She helped improve my CV by making it a lot more presentable and targeted to the corporate world. I was told what test to expect on the SJT, and so I made sure I practiced using the tests on my.upReach. At first, I wasn’t great, but after a Skype call with Eugene I was a lot clearer and confident on how to attempt the tests. I practiced and made sure to attend all the Video Forums I could. Stephanie also had a mock interview with me before my official phone interview. We drafted responses based on my skills, and most importantly she made me very comfortable with my CV and the transferable skills I could take with me to BofAML!

I would definitely not have been prepared for my interview if Stephanie had not helped me understand the format of an interview.

When I received my Spring Insight offer from BofAML, I attended another Video Forum with Eugene on how to prepare for and make the most of my Spring Insight. I asked questions, networked, worked well in a team and stayed true to myself. I was nervous in the beginning, but gained confidence from the advice I received from the team.

How did upReach make you more confident to apply?
The mock interviews were extremely helpful before the Assessment Centre. Knowing the layout of the week and being encouraged to ask questions was extremely helpful.  What I love about upReach is that they believe in you and want you to succeed. The entire upReach team provided invaluable workshops, calls and advice.

Why do you think upReach and social mobility are important?
Coming from my background, I was never exposed to the financial sector. Attending state schools and not having the right environment to be able to secure the top jobs out there can feel daunting, as you are competing against thousands of people who it feels are a lot more prepared than you are. I believe upReach helps bridge the gap by helping people like myself land the top jobs that are normally only limited to a certain few.

Through upReach, I was able to make friends with people just like myself who share the same aspirations and dreams and refuse to be tied down because of their background.

Would you recommend upReach to a friend?
I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone out there to go ahead and apply. The team at upReach are an amazing group of people who only have your best interest at heart, and only wish to see you succeed. You are normally assigned to one Programme Coordinator, but the whole team is on hand for help. My Programme Coordinator shared her wealth of knowledge and helping me prepare for interviews. The way I see it, upReach is more a family than an organisation.

For more information on how you can help students like Fatima, contact john@upreach.org.uk

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