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Banking Essentials - Part I

This pathway will walk us through the basics of banks, starting with some of the different types and their main functions, then starting to look at the regulation faced by the banks, both before and after the Global Financial Crisis.

Greenwashing

Greenwashing is the act of distributing false information about something being more environmentally friendly than it actually is.

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+1,000 expert presented, on-demand video modules

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Keep track of learning progress with our comprehensive data

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Engage with our video hotspots and knowledge check-ins

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Build, scale and manage your organisation’s learning

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Tackling the Cost of Living Crisis

In this video, Max discusses the cost-of-living crisis currently enveloping the UK. He examines its impact on households as well as the overall economy.

CSR and Sustainability in Financial Services

In the first video of this two-part video series, Elisa introduces us to sustainability. She begins by looking at the difference between sustainability and corporate social responsibility, two terms that can be easily confused.

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Featured Pathways

More pathways

Banking Essentials - Part I

This pathway will walk us through the basics of banks, starting with some of the different types and their main functions, then starting to look at the regulation faced by the banks, both before and after the Global Financial Crisis.

Greenwashing

Greenwashing is the act of distributing false information about something being more environmentally friendly than it actually is.

More pathways

Book a demo

Pricing

Ready to get started?

Plans & Membership

Our Platform

Expert led content

+1,000 expert presented, on-demand video modules

Learning analytics

Keep track of learning progress with our comprehensive data

Interactive learning

Engage with our video hotspots and knowledge check-ins

Testing & certification

Gain CPD / CPE credits and professional certification

Managed learning

Build, scale and manage your organisation’s learning

Integrations

Connect Finance Unlocked to your current platform

Featured Content

More featured content

Tackling the Cost of Living Crisis

In this video, Max discusses the cost-of-living crisis currently enveloping the UK. He examines its impact on households as well as the overall economy.

CSR and Sustainability in Financial Services

In the first video of this two-part video series, Elisa introduces us to sustainability. She begins by looking at the difference between sustainability and corporate social responsibility, two terms that can be easily confused.

More featured content

Book a demo

Pricing

Ready to get started?

Book a demo

Pricing

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Sink or Swim? The 8 Things New Joiners in Finance Need to Learn in Their First 6 Months

Sink or Swim? The 8 Things New Joiners in Finance Need to Learn in Their First 6 Months

By Rob Ellison

Right now, thousands of young people are getting to grips with their new career in the world of finance. We can’t help wondering how they prepared themselves… Did they binge-watch “Industry”? Did they get “practical insight” by trading DogeCoin through the night? Did they spend the summer decoding the pages of the Financial Times with the help of a financial dictionary? None of these feel like particularly useful ways to navigate the beginning of a career in finance… How can we help them make a better first impression? I’ve been in the same position - progressing from intern, to graduate recruit and finally Managing Director over a 20-year career in banking. Many among the team here share a similar experience so I challenged them to create a guide that would help these young people to navigate their first 6 months in finance by answering the following question:

“ What knowledge do all new finance professionals most desperately need to acquire? ”

Where there’s a fit, we’ve also picked out the best Finance Unlocked content that lines up with these learning objectives. We’d love to help you to graduate your young padawans to functioning finance professionals. Get in touch if you want to learn more.

#1: The Basics

#1: The Basics

This year’s batch of interns and graduates have missed out on so much lately, it’s impossible to know what they’ve been filling their heads with to try get a head start on their new finance career, and from which sources. That’s why it’s more important than ever to maximise their opportunity to learn from trustworthy sources about the very basics of the industry they are joining. First, build a stable foundation with a strong understanding of the purpose of financial institutions. What is finance? What is a bank? What is a fund manager? What do people who deal with money all day actually do and, critically, why are they doing it? For that matter, what actually is money and where does it come from? That’s a good start. Then you can begin to delve into the more practical aspects. What is a balance sheet? What are debt and equity? How are they different from stocks and shares? What is the time value of money? How do interest rates lie at the heart of almost every financial transaction? What’s the difference between an interest rate and a yield curve?

Finance Fundamentals - Video Playlist

#2: The Lingo

#2: The Lingo

“I’m axed in half a yard.” “The client’s looking for a bridge. They’ll term out with a revolver in due course” If these sentences make no sense to you, the first few weeks in your new finance role will be totally baffling. There is a huge amount of jargon and slang which is day-to-day language in all banking and financial services organisations, but is semi-magical nonsense when you hear it for the first time. You almost need to learn a new language before you can even begin to operate in this industry. Beyond basic financial terms which you should be familiar with, such as “bonds”, “equities”, “balance sheets” etc, people throw around slang terms like “bar”, “axe”, “hedge”, “cable”, “bookie”. Even worse, many of these words have completely different meanings in real life, adding to the sense of confusion. Beyond that, many mathematical terms get thrown around very casually, for example, “yield curve”, “derivative”, and “basis points”. It all adds up to the feeling that you don’t have a clue what anyone is talking about, and that’s a very sobering, confidence-sapping experience. Henry, our CEO, started out in a hedge fund and he recalls:

“ It was almost like an unintentional hazing, you inevitably get taken down a few levels, and it hurts. ”

But it needn’t be that way. If graduate and apprentice hires are prepared with the right level of fundamental understanding, they will be able to get the gist of most conversations happening around them. This is all the more important in 2021, as remote working cannot give the opportunity for the immersive learning experience that past intakes have benefitted from. Then when life returns to normal, will they be ready for a real finance environment?

Learn from the experts.

Finance Unlocked content is presented by finance practitioners, who use real finance terms, in context, and explain terms properly as they arise. Our experts are the ideal mentors for your 2021 grad intake.

#3: Role-specific skills

#3: Role-specific skills

In any area of finance, there are specific skills and knowledge needed, not necessarily covered by your general training.

“ Investment bankers won’t need to know the intricacies of how to price an interest rate swap, they do need to be very comfortable building a financial model.  ”

Says Prasad Gollakota, CFA charterholder and head of content here at Finance Unlocked. Grads and apprentices don’t need to show up knowing how to do the job, that’s what their training is for, but we can make them infinitely more confident if we arm them with a skills headstart, ready to progress.

#4: How not to go to prison

#4: How not to go to prison

Unfortunately, many young people have been inspired to work in finance by films like the Wolf of Wall Street, which glamorised a gung-ho attitude towards financial law and professional integrity in general. Working in finance is nowadays much less like what you see in those films, and new starters need to realise on day one how serious their organisation is about sticking to the law, and promoting a culture of integrity. Compliance training is much maligned and often dismissed as pointless and boring. Perhaps because of the way it’s traditionally delivered. It needs to be made more engaging, more interesting, and better contextualised than it has been in the past to ensure that it really sticks.

Our compliance courses

Compliance
Pathway

Compliance

9 Videos • 1 hour 41 minutes

Conduct
Pathway

Conduct

13 Videos • 2 hours 36 minutes

GDPR: Compliance
Pathway

GDPR: Compliance

10 Videos • 1 hour 52 minutes

GDPR: A Legal Lens
Pathway

GDPR: A Legal Lens

4 Videos • 41 minutes

SFTR - Part I
Pathway

SFTR - Part I

7 Videos • 2 hours 1 minute

#5: History

#5: History

Speaking of context, you’ll be missing a lot of it if you weren’t around for the global financial crisis. 2008 changed everything, especially regulation in banking and financial markets. 21 year old grads today were 8 years old when the financial crisis happened so they stand zero chance of having any idea of what happened, and what changed as a result. Most of their context probably comes from watching The Big Short. The financial crisis was an extremely sobering experience that everyone in your organisation older than 35 lived through. There’s a whole load of finance you cannot understand if you don’t understand the financial crisis. Once grads are comfortable with the language people are using and what’s going on around them, the best context they could ever get is a real lesson in what happened during the financial crisis, how things changed so radically, and how close to the edge of armageddon we actually got. Once you understand that, then so much more of what’s happening around you will make sense. Knowing this stuff doesn’t just help a grad or apprentice to situate themselves in the context of their new workplace, it is essential knowledge for the leaders of the future.

Learn financial history on Finance Unlocked

#6: Who matters most?

#6: Who matters most?

The finance world is a very hierarchical place. Grads or apprentices are at the bottom of a very long ladder, and as such can be given something to do by almost everyone around them. Knowing who to prioritise helping is an essential skill to avoid burnout in your first few months. This means understanding the hierarchy and what a person’s job title means for their level of seniority. Who should you prioritise, a Managing Director or a Vice President? It’s easy to slip up when job titles are so counterintuitive. No, a Vice President is not the second most senior person in the organisation, it’s someone who’s really only just moved into a leadership role. They know the pecking order, and so should your grads and interns.

#7: Why is everyone doing what they’re doing?

#7: Why is everyone doing what they’re doing?

The question you always want to ask when starting out in finance is “Why?” However, asking these “Why?” questions is a very dangerous thing to do. Why? Because, the truth is, pretty much everybody has a very thin veneer of understanding of “why?”. Don’t get me wrong here, most people have a great understanding of what their role is and what they need to do to succeed in it, but very few finance professionals have a good understanding of the deeper "why". And it’s not a great strategy to go around embarrassing your new colleagues and bosses by asking the most difficult questions. It’s frustrating because, "why" is what you really want when you start out in any new field because understanding "why" is the most illuminating. It’s much better to try to get an understanding of the deeper why questions by studying with the real experts: people who can explain deep questions well.

Trusted by:

Trusted by:

#8: Your role in the great project of your generation

#8: Your role in the great project of your generation

We have 10 years left to save the planet, according to Christiana Figueres, the lead U.N. negotiator of the Paris climate agreement. And the huge role that banks and other financial institutions have to play cannot be overstated. A thorough grounding in ESG is essential for anyone entering the industry (or anyone already in it, for that matter). If you want to help make them thoughtful, creative and aware, then help them understand how they as finance professionals can really move the dial. If your main interest is in sustainability training, be sure to check out our sister platform, Sustainability Unlocked.

A selection of our ESG courses

ESG Essentials
Pathway

ESG Essentials

16 Videos • 2 hours 57 minutes

Climate Change Economics
Pathway

Climate Change Economics

8 Videos • 1 hour 39 minutes

Whether you’re running an internship programme, a grad scheme, or are an aspiring finance professional yourself, I hope this article has given you some insight into the challenges of starting out in the industry. Stay tuned for more content useful for aspiring finance professionals and the teams who nurture and develop those new to the business. Get in touch if you would like a demo of Finance Unlocked with a member of our sales team. Or if you are an individual, click "join now", above.
Deliver the best possible finance education to your new joiners - contact us to today to learn how.

Deliver the best possible finance education to your new joiners - contact us to today to learn how.

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