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Careers Guide

Student Success Story: Isabella and UBS (Applied Finance)

We're really excited to have Isabella talk to us today about the Global Banking apprenticeship she recently started with UBS. A talented student from Farnborough, Isabella got 3 great A-Levels in Maths, French and Spanish before progressing to becoming an apprentice with this leading investment banking firm.

Isabella UBS apprentice

Tell us a bit about you

I went to a Sixth Form in Farnborough and I always wanted to go to a top university. I hadn’t come across Uptree until later on in my final year of A-Levels in early 2020. I began attending online workshops and I also used the website a lot during lockdown as part of my preparation before apprenticeship interviews.

The content Uptree offers gave me a huge boost in confidence before my interviews and showed me anyone can achieve an apprenticeship

Tell us about your apprenticeship

I am fortunate enough to work as a Global Banking Apprentice at UBS. As a degree-apprentice I work 4 days a week at the bank in London and 1 day a week from home studying with the University of Exeter towards a degree in Applied Finance.

Exeter campus

One of the University of Exeter's campus

It is great to have the support of the university and my employer. I am also fortunate to have the support of fellow apprentices in my cohort of which there are over 30 this year, including another Global Banking Apprentice.

How did you find the UBS application process?

I applied for this role in January and went through different stages which included: the initial application, online tests, video interview, phone interview and an assessment day. 

In my opinion the final stage was the hardest as it included one-on-one interviews with two bankers over Skype. I found it harder to express myself over Skype as opposed to in person as I found it harder to engage as well as there it isn’t a mutual environment.

I recommend practising a Skype interview with family and friends before doing one for real

This will help you establish a suitable quiet space to use and allow you to get to grips with how you can express confidence during the video call! 

I struggled when answering a few of the interviewers questions; however, I made sure that I always corrected myself and owned my mistakes.

It is important to show you can take on criticism and portray ownership as much when you are wrong, as when you are right

How has your induction been so far?

Despite not being able to come into the office until recently it has been a very smooth transition joining UBS.

Isabella and Bonnie studying

Isabella and Bonnie working from home on a sunny day!

UBS has a very broad support network that are always there to answer any questions you may have may it be IT, job specific or HR queries. Also it has been great speaking to other apprentices and building up relationships as it's so important to have a support network within your team and within the apprentice cohort.

I am loving getting involved in many different tasks and finding my place within my team, so I can support them much as possible: learning on the job is very rewarding.

Do you have any advice for students interested in a similar career path to you?

My advice would be to network, network, network. The more resources and contacts you have, the more knowledge you can show in interviews!

If anyone has any further questions feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn like I said above I think it is super important to never be afraid to ask for support or guidance... without speaking to people I know in the industry myself I wouldn’t be where I am today!

Uptree thanks Isabella for taking the time to share her experience with us and we wish her all the best as she continues on in her brilliant degree-apprenticeship.