Just Draw the Owl! My Graduate Job in FinTech
My Graduate Job in FinTech
In my final year at Oxford I was so focused on just getting through finals, I hadn’t really put much thought into what I would do once they were over. Trying to figure out what you want to do with your life can be absolutely terrifying. With so many routes and options to consider, it’s still quite easy to feel like the only way to start your career is at a grad scheme at a large firm in the city.
Fast forward a few months and I’m now working in a FinTech startup – an amazing opportunity for me to grow personally as well as professionally. I’ve been part of the Funding Invoice team for 2 months now. I can’t believe how quickly the time has flown by! Therefore I thought it would be a good time to start writing down my journey, and hopefully this is a good place to share the things I’m learning along the way.
To start off, I’ve chosen to share the top 5 things I’ve learnt during my time here so far.
The range of jobs I have to do prevents me from ever getting bored at work. Working in such a small team means you’re expected to be involved in all aspects of the company and try your hand at everything, constantly being moved from your comfort zone. While I joined the team to increase the deal flow from a variety of industries where we’re currently underexposed, this doesn’t exclude me from creating marketing content, building relationships with accountants & investors, or attending events with our CEO. When working for a startup it’s essential to add value wherever, and whenever, you can.
2) Initiative is everything
So this was something I struggled with the most when I first started working at Funding Invoice. My experience in investment banking did not exactly set me up well for this. I was used to being told exactly what to do, how to do it, and when to do it by. However, working in a startup means that often there are no predetermined tasks, or a predetermined way to do a project, and sitting around waiting for approval is wasted time in a fast-moving small company.
The meme ‘just draw the f*$%king owl’ never felt so relevant to my life! My first few weeks were bumpy. I constantly felt the need to check everything I was doing, but after a while I was able to take initiative and now it’s definitely part of the job that I love the most. Whether this is using my initiative day-to-day to respond to the needs of clients, or long term to think of ways of developing the business. After a few weeks I was able to carve out an effective approach to engage with new industries, creating countless organic leads for our company.
3) Idea flow
Working in a small company is a lot less restrictive when it comes to raising ideas since you don’t need to wait to get things signed off in multiple layers above your position. Not only are you more likely to have the chance to share your ideas, you’re actually expected to be constantly contributing ideas. You are also much more likely to see the ideas in action due to the quick agile nature of working in a startup. The work you personally put in will aid towards the overall success of the business – which is super satisfying (and addicting).
4) Ask and you will receive
One of the reasons I chose to work for a small company was in the interest of my personal development. Working in a smaller company means I gain more of a real insight into how a business truly operates, and also working so closely with the startup founder, Aamar. This gives me the unique opportunity to soak up all his experience.
One of the best things I have found is it’s ok to speak up and ask for certain things that I think would help advance my career development. I can express my thoughts and the outcome is usually positive. Just last week I was talking to Aamar about how I would like to develop my public speaking/pitching skills and so a few days later we went to a pitching event for entrepreneurs where I had to give a short pitch! This sort of turn-around action in such a short space of time would never be possible in a larger company.
5) Culture – work is actually fun!
Overall, working in a start up is fast-paced, energetic and creative. The FinTech industry is growing rapidly and so it’s exciting to be positioned at the forefront of this. It will be interesting to see how alternative finance develops as an option for small businesses. In the meantime, if you’ve just graduated and are overwhelmed thinking about the future, then don’t worry. We’ve all been there! Often grads are a bit apprehensive about joining a startup as it’s seen as a bit more risky, but I can vouch that the perks are truly what they’re thought to be!
Read more about Funding Invoice’s story here: http://fundinginvoice.com/our-story/