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ICAP Graduate Scheme Review

  • Work/Life Balance

    8
  • Practical Skills Learnt

    8
  • Live Up To Expectations

    9
What does a broker do?

I get in at 7am and I will check the rates as well as seeing what has happened in other markets overnight. The team will have a meeting, which will form the basis of our strategy for the day as well as market analysis for clients. I will then get on the phone to clients for the majority of the day in order to generate sales. My role is a combination of sales and execution however there are roles that are based more on the execution side only.

Can you earn bonuses in years 1,2,3?

Yes, these are discretionary and depend on your personal performance.

Is there much you don’t like about your job?

No, not that I can think of, You get a great deal of exposure to some of the biggest players in the market. You also get both a macro and micro view of the market, which you don’t get in many other jobs. As a sociable person I like the fact that the role is entirely client focused and you are given a great deal of independence from the day you walk through the door.

I always hear people work ‘market hours’ what does this mean?

I currently work market hours! So about a 60 hour week, it means when the market is open your at work…but in reality it means from 7am – 7pm.

Are there times of the year that are busy/quiet?

Yes, Both Xmas and during the summer are typically quiet.

What skills do you need to do your job?

You need to have attention to detail and be strong with numbers as broking is a highly numerate environment. Being good with people and having the ability to forge relationships is important if your role is client focused as mine is. You also need to be able to work well in teams. Finally an understanding of markets becomes important as you progress in your career as it will help you to generate ideas to put to clients.

How many people in your team?

14.

What sorts of social activity goes on at ICAP?

There is a lot on offer and activities to suit all… I have participated in a few sports teams and events also I go out with clients/colleagues at least once a week.

Do you go out much with work colleagues?

Yes, there are always drinks or a desk night out and they are usually great fun.

What's it like commuting everyday?

My commute isn’t too bad, I usually use the time to read the FT in the mornings.

What is the culture of the organisation, is it all sales as some people have suggested broking is?

There is a real work hard/play hard culture. In the office people are also encouraged to be entrepreneurial and think up new ideas or alternative solutions to existing methods of doing things. There is quite a focus on the bottom line too so if your good at what you do and generate revenue for the company you will go far.

How much formal training did you receive?

About 6 weeks formal classroom training, learning the basics of finance; however, I would say that the real training takes place on the job as you learn a great deal from those you sit with on your desk.

Where are most of the other graduates from?

About 50% are from the UK, 20% US, 20% EU and 10% Asia. All from top universities in their respective countries.

What was the interview process like?

Fairly standard to those at other financial institutions, there was an online application, online aptitude tests, a phone interview and an assessment centre.

Is it easy to move into other departments?

You get exposure to a range of desks and then get to select a preference, but if you are unhappy HR will help you move.

Have you taken any professional exams?

Yes, I took the FSA exam which is regulatory and then a specialist FSA exam in derivatives.

Can you name a client/deal you have worked on and outline your role and the teams role?

I can’t say much other than that I have worked on deals in the market that have been talked about in the media.

Where would you like to be in 5 years time?

Doing the same role but with larger clients.

What, are the office facilities like? And is it true that you can run up nightclub bills for “Client entertainment”?

The office facilities are pretty good. You are able to comp client entertainment so you get to go to sports events or nice restaurants but reports of huge bar tabs and vintage bottles of wine are wide of the mark. The great thing about client entertainment is that you are often able to learn a lot about your client in a more relaxed environment.

What/where did you study at undergrad?

Nottingham.

What did you get?

1.1

You said before that broking required you to be fairly numerate so what skill do you wish you had or could take a course in that would make you better at your job?

Being an excel wiz would make me better at my job, however its not essential . Fluency in a couple of languages would probably allow me access to a more diverse pool of clients so knowing either French or Mandarin would be helpful.

How does what you do differ to the perception of your job?

There is a lot of responsibility given to you very quickly as a graduate, it's not a case of reconciling trades for the first few years watching the senior brokers. People also respect you no matter how long you have been at ICAP if you are good at what you do.

Do you get to travel? Or can you move abroad with ICAP?

I personally haven’t travelled but there are a number of opportunities available abroad as ICAP are in a number of countries around the globe.

How many days holiday do you get a year?

21 days but that increases to 25 days after 2 years of working at ICAP.

Is it easy to book time off?

Yes, its not a problem as long as you give some advanced warning and it doesn’t conflict with other people's holiday.

 

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