A young brunette woman in a black sweater sitting at an office desk with her chair turned towards the camera.
Bróna Homan. Image: Aon

These are the skills you need to succeed in finance

2 Apr 2019

If you’re hoping to transition into the world of finance, you may be wondering what you’ll need to learn to succeed.

Entering the world of work is daunting for many reasons and, regardless of your educational background, you’ll probably encounter a steep learning curve.

Future Human

This certainly aligns with Bróna Homan’s experience. After completing her studies in business, she moved into a graduate role at the Aon Centre for Innovation and Analytics (ACIA). It would be easy to be overwhelmed with all the strenuous requirements to her role but Homan took it in her stride. She was helped in no small part by the consistently supportive environment at ACIA.

What did you study in college?

I studied a BA in business at National College of Ireland. I chose this course as I was unsure of which career path I wanted to take and felt that I would be exposed to a variety of modules within the business world that would pique my interest.

With this programme, are you now working in your desired industry?

I am now working in finance and I really enjoy my job. Each day is different and I am always learning new things.

I wasn’t sure what sector I wanted to work in, which is one of the reasons I applied for the graduate programme at the Aon Centre for Innovation and Analytics (ACIA) because it’s rotational. My idea was to join a company that provided me with opportunities to work on different projects and teams.

What drew you to Aon when you were seeking work as a graduate?

The first thing that drew me to ACIA was the Agile methodology. It enables fast innovation and regular check-ins. As a graduate, I think this is important because I do enjoy variety.

Another thing that attracted me was reading Silicon Republic articles. When I was applying for graduate programmes, ACIA’s strong presence online made it stand out. I was able to read colleagues’ profiles and get a real-world view of life in ACIA.

It gave me a better understanding of what ACIA was all about and made the application process a lot less daunting.

What expectations did you have before you began the programme?

I entered the graduate programme with an open mind and eager to learn new skillsets. And I also knew diversity and inclusion was actively implemented into ACIA from reading the articles and researching online, and this appealed to me.

What duties and responsibilities were you given initially?

Initially I was exposed to a variety of projects to get an insight into the different types of roles. It helped me to figure out which role I fitted into.

My first project involved working with Alteryx, which was challenging as I had never used it before but I got the guidance I needed from my manager and colleagues. I am currently on the finance team and I really enjoy what I do. I work with a variety of people and help with budgeting different projects.

Did the scope of your work change as the programme progressed?

Yes, it did. As well as working with the finance team, my role has expanded to include project management activities. Although I have been here for less than a year, I have already learned so many new skills.

Can you describe a typical day in your role?

My day is heavily based around financial activities in Aon, which closely align with project activities. I use programs such as Tableau and Alteryx daily to help me complete these tasks.

Recently, the ACIA upgraded its Clarizen time tracking system so I am currently educating colleagues about changes and helping them with any urgent problems or difficulties they may be having with new tools. It is a great opportunity to interact with colleagues that I wouldn’t normally get to work with.

How do your responsibilities compare to more experienced employees’?

Like any job, there is a lot to learn, but I receive the support that I need to help guide me through any uncertainty. My colleagues are great at what they do, they are passionate about their jobs and are always willing to lend me a helping hand. I am hoping in the future that I will be able to show new graduates at ACIA the projects and skills that I have been taught here.

Do you feel more prepared for working life after completing this programme?

Yes, I feel that ACIA has provided me with a skillset that I can apply to any project that I will be assigned to in the future. ACIA has given me confidence as an individual to share my opinions and not be afraid to suggest different ideas.

Why should someone apply to the graduate programme at this company?

There are endless learning opportunities in ACIA, and managers take a very proactive approach when it comes to graduate training. Individuals can expand their skillset while learning and working with very talented individuals.

If someone wants to be exposed to a fast-paced, agile environment, and be a part of changing how people view data, ACIA is the perfect starting point.

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