For many of us, the idea of talking to people we do not know make us anxious and is something that should be avoided at all costs, with most of us opting for emails or phone calls instead. But networking at an event forces us to step out of our comfort zone and interact with people.
When Sam Hurst, a 19 year old student at Swansea University found himself at his first branch meeting for Wales’ Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments (CISI), he felt incredibly out of place. He was considerably the youngest person there, was in an unfamiliar environment; he was understandably nervous.
“I always knew that it might be hard to strike up and hold a conversation, given my relative young age and lack of financial services experience…I got chatting to a couple of very friendly CISI members who work for a large and well-known company in the UK. I discussed where I am now and my ambitions for the future. One thing led to another and I was given the opportunity to come into their Cardiff office to see how both their retail and corporate clients’ funds are invested, as well as the other departments within a financial services firm.”
Sam is now studying for his Business Management (Finance) BSc at Swansea University; he recently also passed his CISI Level 2 Award in Fundamentals of Financial Services.
Mark Evans, a member of the CISI Wales branch visited Swansea University to talk about asset management careers, it was meeting him that inspired Sam to join CISI and get qualified. The qualification would be evidence of Sam’s proactive nature and would give him access to CISI events and student membership.
“… I could tell that a CISI exam would be great fun as well as a brilliant qualification to add to my CV and LinkedIn profile. It is also a great talking point when networking with those in the profession as the CISI is a very well-regarded professional body.”
This summer, Sam has arranged a few work experience opportunities, from shadowing financial planners to going into investment companies.
Gretchen Betts CFPTM Chartered MCSI, President of the CISI Wales branch, was very impressed with Sam’s initiative:
“Sam is a fantastic example of what thinking outside the box, or going the extra mile can achieve. Although studying for a professional qualification on top of your degree can seem like a big ask, most professional bodies offer exam candidates additional benefits such as local and national events. He made the most of the opportunity and networked with us, resulting in his summer work placements. The commitment Sam has shown to his career development in this, only his first year of university, is impressive and I think will stand him in good stead for future opportunities and be attractive to employers on his CV.”
Sam plans to attend future CISI Wales branch meetings and he is clear as to the career development opportunities which could arise from this.
“Each talk put on by the CISI Wales branch will allow me to learn more about all aspects of the profession, from investing, to integrity in financial services and more… At this stage it is all about learning more and gaining an insight into the different roles available in the industry and the qualities required for each.”