Hear from Ha Linh about her journey from our e-mentoring programme to becoming a business analyst apprentice at M&G.
Why did you decide to join the Urban Synergy e-Mentoring programme?
I was initially encouraged by my careers coach in Sixth Form, but I applied for the opportunity to improve my employability skills and hopefully gain insight into the financial services industry.
What was the best part of the mentoring programme?
Whilst I enjoyed preparing for the mock interview at the end of the programme, the best part was building a relationship with my mentor and learning about her career path. We often had different discussions each session which focused on my employability skills but also talked about school, my hobbies and options after Year 13.
Is there anything you’ve learned or any specific skills you've developed?
I learnt the importance of properly preparing for an interview. When it was time for my mock interview, it was very clear that I had not prepared enough for the interview.
Since then, my communication skills have improved, and I ensure that I thoroughly prepare for any future interviews.
Were you facing any particular challenges before joining the programme?
I would say I wasn’t proficient in my interview skills and did not have much work experience in finance. Joining the mentoring programme meant I could build on my skills and gain access to the resources and opportunities hosted through Urban Synergy.
How did you feel at the end of your mentoring compared to the beginning?
I felt more confident in both my public speaking and interview skills, having participated in the mock interview and presentation in front of business professionals. But I also made some amazing connections through the Urban Synergy community, and I still stay in touch with my mentor.
Did the e-Mentoring programme help you decide on your future career?
100%. With my mentor sharing her own experiences, I became more fixated on working in the financial services industry which led me to research more about apprenticeships that had a focus on ESG or sustainability - this was something that both my mentor and I shared an interest on.
We know you have now joined an apprenticeship at M&G; tell us a bit about it.
It’s been roughly six months since starting as an ESG Business Analyst Apprentice, and I have learnt so much so quickly. I have had the opportunity to really build my stakeholder management skills and knowledge of ESG.
How did you find transitioning from education to employment? How was the interview process?
I think I have been really fortunate to join M&G which has a brilliant culture. My manager made it a very smooth and welcoming start to my apprenticeship, making the transition not as scary. And whilst the interview stage can be nerve-racking, I ended up enjoying my interview. The recruitment process was great as they made a decision for the role that evening of the interview.
What are your goals for the future?
For now, I have my eyes set on taking the Investment Management Certificate after I complete my Level 4 Business Analyst qualification. Despite being in the industry for only six months, I strongly believe I would continue to grow in to my role in the asset management industry.
What has been your proudest achievement so far?
My proudest achievement so far has been my involvement in updating M&G’s Stewardship Report for the asset owner. This involved a lot of engagement with different stakeholders across the firm and had been submitted to the Financial Reporting Council to gain signatory status.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your experiences with Urban Synergy?
I’ve had an unforgettable experience with urban synergy. As a graduate of the mentoring programme, I still stay in contact with everyone I met through the programme, and I always look forward to attending any events they host. Urban Synergy has truly been a great community and support to me and will continue to stay involved.
What advice would you give future mentees?
Make sure to set a goal for the end of the programme - either something you want to gain or learn from the mentor programme. Be prepared to ask specific questions so that they can be entirely related to your own interest and used to navigate your career choices.