Someone convince me I should take this job!(26 Posts)
If all goes to plan, will be graduating this year with a degree in Modern Languages.
My real passion has always been literature (and language). I always did well in related subjects at school and uni and really love reading for pleasure, learning and using languages, writing... It sounds so sad and cheesy written down but essentially the power of the written word! Words have always come a lot more easily to me than, say, numbers.
The rub is that, following a few holiday internships, I have just been offered a grad job in the financial sector. Will have the opportunity to get a good qualification out of it and lots of people who enter the profession have studied arts degrees so I won't be the only one. One one hand, I'm thrilled as I like the work environment and I like the people, plus the money is decent! But I've never been naturally "business minded" and I don't love numbers/learning facts as much as I love literature, or language, or film analysis or any of those things.
I guess what I'm worried about is that I won't be playing to my strengths at work. I think if I really knuckle down I am in with a chance to pass work exams but the skills certainly don't come naturally and I won't be enjoying the job in the same way that I would, for example, something more wordy and creative.
I'm quite ambitious and would like to do well in the sector where I end up. I know there's no guaranteeing anything and there's so many what ifs involved, but I'm just wondering whether anyone here has managed to successfully incorporate the two? Is it possible to have the "perfect job"? Also, does anyone share my interests - what did you go into?
Is it a graduate scheme for a finite amount of time? In that case I'd say go for it as you might learn valuable skills. Anything more than a year or 2 and I'd say life is too short, follow your passion!
Thanks - it's 3-4 years actually! 3 to take exams and 1 additional year to gain the qualification.
I think I'm hoping that someone's going to come on the thread and say that they did similar but now work in something really creative Is that even possible??
Mm. IMO that is a LONG time. I look back at 4 years ago and my life was utterly entirely different. You could make huge inroads into a languages career in that time.
But I don't know anything about that field so I'm probably not v helpful, sorry!
Don't tell me it's something like becoming a chartered accountant or something is it?
Would the role employ your foreign language skills or your linguistic/writing ability at all?
Thank you very much both!
Redroses, yes it is! But the work itself will (imho) be more suited to me than traditional accounting I think, as it is in quite a dynamic sector - it's restructuring corporate finance so working in teams, quite fast-paced and constantly changing, which I like... Are you going to talk me out of it?
Redroses - there are opportunities for secondment and there may be some scope to use languages too. But not really any chance to write, very numbers and Excel/PowerPoint-based I think. I was strongly considering applying to the same firm for Consulting (which I think is more creative/wordy) but decided against it on the basis of getting a recognised qualification - now feel like I've shot myself in the foot!
How much have you studied anything accounting/finance related (I'm thinking even A-levels?)
This is a tricky one.
Firstly, do you have any job offers doing what you love and what kind of work would that be anyway? Academia? Journalism?
I suspect not.
So take the job. You are one of the lucky few to land a graduate job.
You will learn valuable skills you can take into another more relevant role. Be careful of becoming too specialised too early.
I am very artistic and have absolutely no commercial acuity even after 15 years of work - but I became a chartered accountant. I have learned to act 'business minded', but naturally I don't give a flying fig if any company makes money - never have never will. I am not motivated by profit and always care more about the people.
I am good at writing but I don't enjoy it so much and there is a lot of writing up in auditing. There are a number of roles within the finance sector that involve quite a bit of writing and I am sure you will find them later down the track.
Ok - I've seen that you've mentioned summer internships - presumably it was within this field?
Numbers people are rarely allowed scope outside 'crunching the numbers'.
Financial research (international markets) might be a better direction for you.
It depends really on what scope for side-movement within the company would be open to you.
An accountancy background is pretty good to have in terms of becoming CEO or Head of Sales etc.
I guess my fear may be that you might look longingly at the department next door who get to do the 'fun stuff' that you'd prefer to be doing.
I just saw now you confirmed it was chartered accounting.
This is exactly what I did. Hopefully you will do auditing. I did external audit for some time and then when I qualified I went into internal audit. Internal audit is 50% writing reports on what you audited and half of the audits are not even financial. If you like writing - you will like that.
If it is a big firm I very very strongly recommend you work in the media/entertainment/industrials industry client portfolio. Ask to change at the earliest opportunity. Financial sector portfolio is the most boring auditing you will ever encounter. The most fun I had was in media/entertainment firms.
Also there is a heck of a lot of writing in your CA exams - so don't worry you will have plenty to write about - it is far harder than your degree ever was!
Thanks cuckoooo really good to hear from someone in the job!
Yes, that's what I'm leaning towards (taking the job) for all the reasons that you've mentioned. I did a few months' worth of internships with the same firm so when I was offered the job I just took it without looking back. Was so grateful for a job that I haven't applied for anything else - and don't even know for sure what this mystery "perfect job" would be!
I have always like the sound of HR Consulting, Business Development, Marketing... Hopefully there will be scope later down the line to move into a similar field.
Well congratulations in that case! Sounds like you have a promising career ahead.
Cuckoooo thanks again, just seen your second post. It's actually working within the Corporate Finance field, specifically Restructuring.
Have heard similar about the ACA exams and how tough they are - oh dear, not sure that's the kind of writing I'm going to love
OP, I read modern languages then became a lawyer. Whilst it is not always the easiest of professions for women, I have managed to use my languages, including a three year stint abroad. Whilst it isn't exactly creative, it is cerebral and challenging. The obvious upside is the money and certainty (if you work in London, it isn't always the same elsewhere). If it is something that you would consider, I would recommend choosing the firm you train at and your eventual specialism carefully if you have or would like to have a family, as there can be tremendous differences in how women get treated and progress. Good luck.
Thanks redroses sorry for some reasons your posts disappeared when I first opened the thread, very helpful advice thank you
Financial research sounds really interesting, do you know how I could potentially get into something like that? Unfortunately no maths/accounting experience at all apart from a few months' worth of internships within auditing, then later tax and corporate finance!
I am also worried about being jealous of the department next door
Were you not tempted by law? Similar financial rewards but much more "wordy". I am a Mod Langs graduate and have similar interests to you; I found it a pretty good compromise. To be brutally honest, you can earn much much better money in the City than you can in most careers that would be more true to your pure interest in words and language. If you can stomach the environment and the hours in the early days (not all people can but it is not as bad as some creative types make out) then the money will make your life a lot easier, especially if you want to work in London. With a good chartered accountancy qualification you'll have a huge amount of flexibility in the future to find "wordier" niches which are still well paid.
Hmmm. Well, given that you're going to do ACCA's with a language degree, I'd say you could get your ass into anything you wanted my dear!
I guess the experience you'll gain this way, would prepare you very well.
Pretty much every bank in the city has their own research department.
Other companies specialise in research only - look up Capital Economics (they require various languages in some of their departments (e.g. - the sales team i.e. selling their research!). www.capitaleconomics.com/
They had a graduate programme some time back, but I'm not sure whether that's still open. I'm guessing they would require an Economics background for the research roles, but the sales roles would require the language skills.
My friend is an HR consultant currently working for a client in Paris and speaking French all day every day. She came from a background of HR rather than consulting though. My DH started off on the PWC management consultancy grad scheme and is now a "business architect" in a n investment bank. A lot of his job involves explaining complex concepts to people so excellent writing and analytical skills are crucial. However the problem with agency consulting of any kind is that you have to work away from home for long stretches, particularly in the early days, and it's not great if you have a partner and kids.
Are your languages particularly unusual ones? That might make a difference to how your career unfolds.
Modern languages degree (French / Italian), grew up bilingual (English / German). Graduated, first permanent job was in purchasing for a German company (UK-based), used German daily, French from time to time, Italian rarely. Technical and job/product-specific language. Stress and lack of future opportunities meant I left (the company was subsequently taken over and folk made redundant). I then taught Tai Chi part time / worked part time for a bank (employee facing IT help desk) where I was invited to take on a management information analysis role (resource planning / modelling).
15+ years later I am still working in analytics - now in healthcare. My languages? The cat, chickens, husband and son hear them all (and we Eurotrip so get to use them then)
I sort of like surprising people with my non-statistical / analytical background, and fielding the inevitable "Don't you miss...." / "Don't you feel it's a waste...?" No, uni was a great experience - I worked abroad and in the UK using languages; I actually didn't know what job I wanted to do, apart from "working with languages", so the dream lacked definition (when I graduated, working with languages = (generally speaking) working for airlines, Disneyland Paris or being a PA in the city, and I didn't fancy any of those choices!!).
In summary, no, I didn't end up where I thought I would, and that's OK! And from experience, you never lose the language - it all comes flooding back, given half a chance
If you have opportunities to do what you love, go for them. I'd also say be open to opportunities that may not initially be on your radar, because they could lead you to something new and exciting, or even towards the path you'd originally wanted to pursue, in a longer and more round about way. It all contributes to the experience and knowledge that you gain along the way.
From memory corporate finance is very maths/modelling driven - you will know within six months if it is for you. Even if you hate it, just try your best and start making enquiries/friends in other departments.
There is a lot of staff movement and lot of flexibility before you qualify.
If you are in a big firm, it is not unheard of to transfer department.
Hopefully the grad scheme will allow you six months in another department? DO NOT WAIT more than 18 months to transfer, it will be harder.
Are you doing ACCA or ICAEW chartered? ACCA is far far easier and not much harder than a degree. Both are good quals and in some professions it doesn't matter which one you do. ICAEW - only 1/4 get to the end of it - it is designed that way - but totally worth it.
PS lots of my peers went into teaching (TEFL), accountancy or law, so the MFL degree was a stepping stone to further education / training. Seems to be a natural progression.
Also - most of my analytics bosses started life as accountants. The number money crunching wasn't exciting enough for them and they fell into analytics - it's also a more creative field (you get to look at trends and in effect paint pictures and tell stories, whilst playing with data, graphs and colours and all sorts)
Incidentally, Capital Economics are recruiting currently, but are looking for previous sales experience...
If you find the job you would like (would Brussels, or Dept. of Foreign Affairs appeal at all?), look at the job description and then focus on meeting their requirements for future similar positions.
Capital Economics is currently expanding the sales team and looking for enthusiastic and talented sales people. Ideally we are looking for the following types of people:
Graduates in their first or second sales role, looking to build a career in a fast paced sales environment.
Proven sales people who have experience of subscription sales or have a good understanding of the financial and banking sectors.
Non-Graduates with a strong sales background.
We offer a very competitive salary, commission and bonus scheme ensuring that we have a highly motivated sales environment.
We would expect the right candidates to have the following attributes:
Proven track record of new business development working with both new and existing customers delivering demonstrable growth in a sales environment.
Organised, persistent and persuasive with the proven ability to generate his/her own leads.
Previous experience working within a similar field and an understanding of the financial world would be useful but not essential for the right candidate.
Excellent written and verbal communication skills that can be demonstrated within a sales environment.
Fully IT literate and technically able, experience of CRM systems is an advantage but not essential.
Proven ability to develop and utilise commercial awareness providing quantifiable business benefits.
Strong team player who shows commitment to the wider organisation working together and adding value to achieve success.
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