Jordan McVeigh, a participant on Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s graduate programme, never anticipated a career in the finance sector, but a few years at the global finance firm have made one thing clear – this is where he belongs.
What did you study in college?
I studied three years of physics with astrophysics in NUI Maynooth. In my final year, I switched to a double honours programme in experimental physics and mathematics.
With this graduate programme, are you now working in your desired industry?
I can confidently say I am working in my desired industry. At university, I would never have expected to be working in the finance sector, but, while I was searching for graduate opportunities, Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s graduate programme stood out to me as an interesting challenge. I had little to no knowledge of the financial services industry, but saw this as a huge learning opportunity.
After being immersed in investment banking for the past two years, I have developed a keen interest in the work the bank does and the finance industry as a whole.
What drew you to this company when you were seeking work as a graduate?
Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s graduate programme stood out above all the other programmes. It offered an environment where I could learn and grow, and be challenged too. I knew too that, because it’s such a huge company, there would be opportunities for me to grow and perhaps move into new teams in locations across the globe.
What expectations did you have before you began the programme?
In all honesty, I was too nervous to have many expectations! I felt like it would be a challenge entirely different to anything I’d faced at university. Thankfully, my nervousness was entirely unfounded; the team here are very experienced with taking on new grads and quickly put my mind at rest. They immediately welcomed me as part of the team, and my manager and colleagues eased me into my work at a manageable pace.
What duties and responsibilities were you given initially?
The bank sent me to New York for initiation with the rest of the global graduate class. I was given an introduction to the technology I would be working with day-to-day, and a primer on the business of an investment bank and the financial markets in general.
This was one of my favourite experiences of the graduate programme. I learned a huge amount about the company and made friends who I still keep in contact with from offices across the globe (Los Angeles, Charlotte [the bank’s headquarters], New York, London, Singapore and Tokyo, to name just a few).
Once settled into the office, so that I could familiarise myself with the bank’s application and coding standards, my initial tasks were very simple codebase changes. Some tasks I completed early on were changing labels and fixing tests. The tests especially were a good initial challenge for me, as they required that I read the codebase, became familiar with the application and learn the bank’s coding practices.
Did the scope of your work change as the programme progressed?
Yes, greatly. My responsibilities grew steadily to larger pieces of work until there were entire sections of our codebase where I felt proficient. The management here also like to shape the grads to be team leaders and managers of the future, so I was given some experience of leading a team and shaping the direction of our project.
Can you describe a typical day in your role?
A typical day here can vary a lot depending on our priorities. We are an agile team, so every day starts with our daily “scrum meeting”. My feature team is co-located in Dublin, Ireland, and Chennai, India, so these meetings are usually over the phone.
My main responsibility is delivering my assigned items for the current sprint on time. This will take up much of my time with planning, developing and testing these new features or improvements. If it is at the end of a sprint period, I will be helping my team lead with sprint planning and retrospectives on top of that. Another portion of my day is usually spent helping my colleagues with problems and occasionally pair programming.
I also help with technology recruitment for the team here in Dublin. Most days end with me reviewing any upcoming interviews and making sure we have interviewers assigned for them.
How do your responsibilities compare to those of more experienced employees?
Initially, I was obviously the most junior person on the team, but very soon I was considered a peer by my teammates. The teams are run as a meritocracy, so your results matter much more than the number of years you have under your belt. As a grad, you would be expected to get up to speed with simple tasks in the first couple of months, but after that time your responsibilities become the same as the other team members.
Do you feel more prepared for working life after completing this programme?
I most certainly am more prepared for working life after the programme I have completed here. It has given me an opportunity to improve my existing skills and gain a lot of new ones along the way.
Why should someone apply to the graduate programme at this company?
If a candidate is looking for a challenging and rewarding role at a global company with lots of room to grow, Bank of America Merrill Lynch should be top of their list. They will especially enjoy being in the Dublin-based team, given we’re a small, close-knit group, you can learn quickly and make a lot of friends. It has the atmosphere of a small tech firm with the backing of an industry-leading company – offering the best of both worlds really!
The application period for Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s next graduate programme comes to a close Thursday 18 February. Click here to apply now.
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