Discover Finance Graduate at Vodafone UK
MSc Financial Management, 2020
What does your role involve?
I graduated from the University of Birmingham with an MSc Financial Management (Merit) in 2020. I’m a Discover Finance Graduate at Vodafone UK, working in the Cost Transformation team that looks after and consolidates OpEx and CapEx (Operational and capital expenditure, respectively), which are essential to the development of business activities. I am enjoying my role very much, as it gives me exposure to a wide range of people from different parts of the business, and it is diverse in terms of tasks. It is also challenging, as new tasks or problems can appear at any time, requiring a quick response, and frequently I have to coordinate with many people to get things done, such as reports, according to certain specific requirements.
Did you know what you wanted to do before you started University?
I had decided to pursue a career in Finance back when I was a Management undergraduate student in Portugal, but my lack of experience in the area was a considerable drawback. My only experience consisted of working in my parents’ bakery, and also a virtual internship much later, in 2020, already during the pandemic. I learnt how important it is to draw strength from whatever learning opportunity there is available, even if it isn’t a typical work experience. Transferable skills are increasingly important in many different jobs and can be obtained from various experiences, for example.
How did your time at Birmingham help you prepare for this role?
I was very fortunate in having the support of the University of Birmingham whilst searching for a job, particularly the Careers Service of the Business School. It organised many sessions about topics such as graduate schemes or careers in finance, and it also organised career fairs (I saw Vodafone in one of them for example) but most of all, some of its experts sat down with me, on a one-to-one basis, and helped me with things like my CV or my LinkedIn profile. They also helped me to think through my next steps, based on what I wanted to do with my career – their advice was invaluable to me!
What are your career plans for the future?
What next? I am happy in a Commercial Finance role but I am curious to try other areas of Finance such as Revenue and Margin, Audit or Treasury, which is a great advantage of the graduate scheme I’m currently in. I want to see Finance in action in different areas of the business. Essentially I’m keeping an open mind, and I will pick whatever opportunities are available in the future with enthusiasm.
What advice would you give to students who are interested in getting into your industry or role?
If I can offer advice to students who are currently looking for a job in Finance, I’d say: Stay positive – it is likely that you will receive some rejections along the way, that happens to most people but you will find a job that satisfies! LinkedIn can be a very useful tool to connect with people in the area/ sector you’re looking for – don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions! And make sure there are no significant gaps in your time; even if you aren’t working, try to do something, or participate in something, that might help you to develop some skills and build up your profile. Finally, if you are interested in a particular company, do as much research as possible about it, and be prepared to show why it interests you and why you would be a good fit for that company!
All in all this is a tough, challenging process but it will be worth it for sure! After all, as the University motto says, “Per ardua ad alta”.