Graduate Case studies
We’ve talked a lot about our teams, opportunities and all of the different things you’ll do here. But what’s it really like to go through our assessment process? And does our graduate experience live up to expectations? The best people to tell you are our current cohort of graduates. Here are their stories.
When I started looking at different graduate schemes, I wanted the opportunity to lead projects rather than work on them. I also wanted exposure to senior colleagues and something that combined analytical thinking with practical application. This leadership programme has delivered on all counts. It’s exceeded my expectations.
I genuinely didn’t think I’d have the level of opportunity and exposure to senior leaders that I’ve had. None of my friends who are on other graduate schemes with larger employers have enjoyed the same level of sustained exposure and the personal approach I’ve experienced. If you can learn quickly in a constantly changing environment I’d really encourage you to apply.
As well as taking on real projects on my placements, I’m studying towards my IIA accreditation via distance learning. All of the materials arrive by post and I also attend very well managed and structured workshops. The timeline for completing all of my exams is flexible, which is good. I aim to be chartered in 5 years.
I think I’ve developed a lot as a leader since starting on the programme. There are many good role models and opportunities to develop your leadership style. You’re encouraged to manage meetings and stakeholders on your own. But you always have the comfort of knowing your colleagues are there to support you if you need it. The thing I’ve been most impressed with is how genuinely friendly and approachable people have been – if they can help, they will.
In Finance, one of the cornerstones of your career is your qualification. And at The Co-operative Bank, you can choose to study CIMA, ACA or ACCA, which is something a lot of employers don’t offer. I chose CIMA as I’m more interested in the industry side of accounting. The study leave allowance is generous and the support from colleagues and line managers has been great. Balancing the demands of college, home study and exams with day-to-day life requires self-discipline - but I still managed to find time to have a social life and plan my wedding.
I’m also really enjoying the rotational side of the programme. It’s fascinating to find something you looked at briefly in one placement, become a larger part of the picture in the next.
Product & Marketing
On my very first day I was assigned my own project. My challenge was to create a strategy that would increase the number of customers we can communicate with via email. It was a bit daunting at first. But it was an invaluable experience. My confidence and knowledge grew rapidly and it was great to know the team had that level of trust in me.
The programme has exceeded my expectations in so many ways, from the level of responsibility I’ve been given to the support I’ve received. The opportunities I’ve enjoyed so far have gone way beyond what I ever envisioned when I first applied. I certainly didn’t expect to meet our CEO and the Board on day two. Let alone work on a project for them alongside other graduates in my first year!
A lot of the work I’ve been exposed to has been related to risk and there’s a lot of crossover between the Audit and Risk schemes. On my rotations I’ve learnt all about what audit is and the great scope we have across the Bank. I’ve also been working with my fellow graduates on an insight study for our CEO. It’s been daunting, but really enjoyable.
I can’t believe how much I’ve learnt in such a short space of time. That’s the beauty of being here during a big transformation. It gives you so much scope to learn. The programme is also really flexible. If you’re interested in an area, you’re encouraged to pursue it. I’ve been so impressed with the programme it’s made me want to work hard to repay the investment in me.