“I wasn't really aware of alternatives to uni as they were almost shunned upon by my school”
After applying to university Mollie realised it wasn’t for her and began looking at apprenticeships and schemes. She undertook a degree vocational traineeship at Commerzbank and is now an Associate Director, Cash Management Sales at a top UK bank.
"I had applied to university, but not to top universities as my predicted grades wouldn't have got me accepted into most (I ended up with BBB). I wasn't really aware of alternatives to uni as it was almost shunned upon by my school.
After realising university wasn’t what I wanted to do. I began researching alternatives to university and found lots of schemes. I knew I still wanted to study as I liked balancing my priorities and keeping my mind busy! I was always interested in Business so knew I wanted to focus on this. I found out about a charity that gets young people into the City of London called The Brokerage. They were very helpful in helping me with my CV and they sent through school leaver jobs regularly where I could decide whether I wanted to apply for them.
I applied to two schemes, the Vocational Trainee scheme at Commerzbank which combined working and studying for a degree and the school leaver scheme at JP Morgan which didn't include a degree.
The application to Commerzbank was quite a lengthy process. I sent through my CV and cover letter and then got invited to an assessment centre. On my day there were 6 roles they were recruiting for, so I had 6 interviews which was intense! I also had to do a group task which assessed my ability to work in a group, along with some online tests assessing my maths, writing, and error checking ability. I received offers from both Commerzbank and JP Morgan, but accepted Commerzbank’s offer.
I was fortunate enough to start on the scheme with 12 other trainees where we formed a close-knit group and would socialise inside and outside of work. We studied at university between 3-5 days a month at the European College of Business and Management based in Shoreditch, but my final degree was awarded by the University of South Wales. The tutors were incredible and always on hand to provide support. I ended up with a HND in Business (Accounting), Bankauffmann (German banking qualification) and my BSc Business Studies all within 3.5 years and working full-time.
I have no regrets in the path I took, especially as it gave me such an advantage in the job market having so much experience at a young age, I wouldn’t change a thing I did for the world!
If you are having doubts about going to university, start exploring different options available and do research on what is out there. Go to the interviews being yourself and demonstrate that you are prepared to work hard."
Find out more about Commerzbank’s trainee scheme here
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Interviewed by Clarissa Ducie