Oliver Balchin, Sales & Distribution Apprentice, M&G
As an apprentice at M&G, Oliver is also a member of the Investment 2020 Programme and he is currently studying the CISI's IOC.
Why did you choose a career in financial services? - I chose financial services because of the career prospects. There's a 'long ladder' to climb with so many opportunities. I also find it inspiring to work in the heart of the City.
What made you decide to do an apprenticeship? - After four years I will have the same level of qualifications as a graduate, but I will have a lot more value to offer, through the practical experience I will have gained, and the professional networks I will have built.
Tell us about your role as an apprentice… - I get in the office nice and early, and have breakfast while I check up on the Financial and Business news – it's essential to know what's going on. I have various ongoing responsibilities, particularly supporting the sales directors with arranging meetings and diary management. I'll often be working on preparing presentations and pitches for upcoming meetings as well. If I have any spare time at the end of the day, I'll try and squeeze in some study!
What do you enjoy most about your apprenticeship? - Although I am the foot of the business, I sit with and work directly with senior colleagues. My team are conscious that I need to feel valued - they challenge me with tough work, and show recognition when I do it well. Even though I'm the junior of the office, I'm treated the same as any other member of staff.
How are you managing your IOC study? - As well as using the IOC workbook to study from, I also find it useful to dip in and out of as a reference in my day-to-day role. The equities and derivatives sections have interested me the most so far.
Would you recommend the apprenticeship to others? - Yes. I think apprenticeships are for a certain sort of person. You are given almost immediate, full-on exposure to working, so I think it is important you are outgoing, ambitious, ready to get on, and not afraid of criticism.