Rebecca Dan is studying BSc Finance and Investment and took a Year in Industry at tech company, Oracle.
‘I was only 13 when I got work experience with Barclays. It was two weeks of being amazed by the operational activity that goes into a working Retail Street bank,’ says Rebecca, who grew up in East London.
‘There was just so much going on behind the scenes – small things that you wouldn’t recognise if you were just a client strolling in. I was fascinated by the mechanics and all the cogs working together. I decided I wanted to work in finance.’
After sixth form, Rebecca knew she needed a course that helped realise her aspirations. The University of Kent was ideal, just a short train ride away from her home city but different enough for a new experience.
‘The BSc in Finance and Investment looked right for taking me in the direction I was then hoping to go in – to get into the major banks.
‘But it was being able to take a Year in Industry between study that swung it for me. I have no family connections to the corporate world – it fell upon me to get the experience.’
Rebecca loved campus life and threw herself into extracurricular activity like working as a Student Ambassador.
‘In the first year we crossed over with other courses like Business and Management so I was able to expand my network.
I really enjoyed modules like Introduction to Data Analysis and Statistics as well as the Quantitative Methods for Finance. Both offered me the analytical and data-centric perspective.’
Enthusiastic about work experience, she relished the opportunity to apply for a placement during her second year.
‘The Employability Team are so useful. They took me step-by-step through my CV and cover letter. I found out that the first rounds of the selection process are AI based so you have to include key words. That alone made a big difference.’
Going through what she calls ‘the rejection phase’ (‘you have to just pick yourself up and keep applying’ she says) Rebecca was relieved to secure a Year in Industry at tech giant Oracle, at their London offices as Sales Development for Finance Intern.
‘Oracle is a cloud software provider. My role was to work with their sales managers to progress their pipelines, participate in demand generating activities, and manage the sales stories depository platform. It wasn’t as financial as I expected, but it was intriguing.
‘It was daunting at first, I thought everyone would hate me because I didn’t know anything. But everyone was supportive and there were around 40 interns sharing the same experience.’
Rebecca saw her confidence and ability grow immensely over the year and made lifelong friends.
‘At university, we learned the practices and theories of the business world, I was able to take this and apply it.
‘I even suggested an analytical activity that I thought the team should use to standardise their case studies in a data-driven way – my manager asked me to present it to the Senior Vice President of EMEA and it was implemented!’
By the end of the year, Rebecca went back to her studies with fresh perspective and a new desire to work in tech.
‘I am just so much more confident. I will always speak up and share my opinion on things. I also understand how a business operates and things like communication within a busy corporate environment.’
Having secured a graduate role at sustainable giant Veolia as a Finance Systems Analyst, Rebecca strongly believes her Year in Industry paved the way to this next exciting step.
‘The knowledge I gained from the process for my placement year meant I took these applications in my stride, I knew what to do and expect. It didn’t stress me out.
‘This, coupled with all the things I’ve developed during my final year of study, helped me secure a role at a business that is tech and sustainability focused – I couldn’t ask for more.’