The Benefits of Completing a Placement Year with FinTrU




Kiera McKay

FinTrU Placement Student 2019/20

Tuesday 13 October 2020
FinTrU Placement Opportunities

The benefits of the completion of a year in industry for your professional development, personal growth and future career prospects. 

“As the number of graduates leaving university and entering the workforce each year continues to steadily rise, placements will become an invaluable way for young people to make a name for themselves in an increasingly competitive marketplace.” (1) 

First-hand Experience of a Professional Working Environment 

Undertaking a placement year provides students with the opportunity to personally experience what is required from an employee in a professional working environment. The  period of placement enables a student to gain first-hand insight into professional socialisation and behaviour, the correct way to communicate with clients and colleagues, and the expectations which are placed on employees in a professional workplace. Learning how to adapt to this new environment, and having 12 months to do so as a placement student, means the idea of entering a professional workplace after graduating is a lot less daunting. 


Gaining Valuable Skills 


A key takeaway from the placement experience is the significant development and enhancement of valuable skills. “Placements give students the opportunity to gain skills specific to their subject or industry of choice as well as the employability skills required for real-life work.” (2)  The theory of these skills may be taught as part of their degree but implementing the skills in practice in the workplace is hugely beneficial and often will assist in a better understanding of theoretical principles when they return to University for the final year of their degree. The most significant development of skills, in my experience, has been my technical ability. I have gained a better understanding of programmes such as Excel and PowerPoint which are widely used throughout the financial industry. Introduction to, and use of, new software and systems has enabled me to expand my skill set, making me a more employable candidate in the future.  


Establishing and Expanding Industry Network Connections 


The opportunities for a student to expand their professional network throughout their placement year are endless. This can be achieved through attendance at networking events or by joining company clubs/societies. FinTrU places great emphasis on its social culture and it supports a long and varied list of clubs, societies and events. These clubs and societies provide students with the opportunity to create friendships and develop contacts outside their immediate team, which can help to grow their network of professional contacts.  


Placements can also provide the opportunity for a student to form professional relationships with clients and third parties and allow for the possibility of collaboration with international colleagues across the globe. Taking advantage of this exposure to industry professionals can massively benefit a student’s professional development and future career prospects. Building a strong and supportive network will open up opportunities for career advice, mentoring and the development of a deeper understanding of specific departments within the financial industry.  


Obtaining Professionally Accredited Qualifications 


Specific to a placement at FinTrU, placement students are provided with the opportunity to complete professionally accredited qualifications. The Investment Operations Certificate is a widely recognised qualification throughout the financial industry and provides an in-depth insight into processes and regulations within the financial sector. The topics covered in preparation for these qualifications can be applied to real-life tasks and will also be beneficial to the understanding and learning of any business or finance-related modules in the final year of university.  


Increasing Your Employability and Career Prospects 


Completing a placement can often lead to a subsequent job offer if the company has been impressed by your attitude and work ethic throughout the year. Specific to a placement at FinTrU, if a Junior Analyst is offered a graduate contract to return to the company, they will be fast-tracked through the graduate programme. This means the graduate will skip one year of the two-year programme and re-enter the company as an Analyst 2. The graduate’s career progression will therefore be accelerated, resulting in an immediate career benefit from their previous placement at FinTrU.  




The prospect of graduating a year behind their peers may deter students from embarking on a placement year. However, the benefits of a placement year for a student’s professional development and personal growth, as well as the advantages to a student’s future career prospects, in my opinion, cannot be overstated. Over one third of recruiters who took part in the ‘High Fliers’ research into the graduate market stated that “graduates who have had no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be successful during the selection process for their graduate programmes.” (3) This highlights the importance of gaining relevant industry experience and the advantage that this can give to a student over their peers who have no such experience. The financial industry is becoming increasingly competitive and it is important that students take every opportunity to optimise their chances of obtaining a job after graduation. There is no doubt that undertaking a high-quality placement year in industry is one of the best methods of achieving this. 







About FinTrU


Founded in December 2013, FinTrU is a multi-award winning Financial Services company that is committed to giving local talent the opportunity to work on a global stage with the largest international investment banks. FinTrU provides its clients with high quality, cost-effective, near-shore resourcing solutions. FinTrU’s products are: Legal, Risk, Compliance, KYC, Operations and Consultancy. Its clients are all Tier 1 Investment Banks based in London, New York, Tokyo, Frankfurt and Paris. FinTrU currently employs 500 staff at its two Belfast city centre offices and Derry/Londonderry.