James Lean

"Read thoroughly the topic you are studying and understand how a technical area fits into real business"
About my career

During my last year at Manchester Metropolitan University, I applied for two graduate schemes both with banks. I had decided that I did not want to be an accountant directly but did want to be in a finance related role. One of the schemes was advertised at the University's career fair and the other I saw in the Sunday Times.

I started work in London at JP Morgan after graduating, as part of the graduate in-take. The role was a three year management programme. Since then, I have moved to Barclays Bank plc where I now hold the position of Relationship Director.

I selected a wide variety of modules throughout my degree that gave me a broad foundation of knowledge for reading accounts, corporate law, IT, corporate strategy and financial institutions. I learnt the need to read thoroughly the topic you are studying and understand how a technical area fits into real business. The wide range of business knowledge de-mystified the move to work.This knowledge has made professional study a lot easier.

The independence, confidence in meeting new people and social skills (it really is essential to be able to get on with others) that you gain while at University is invaluable. I use all of these skills in my current role at Barclays.

My top tip for students is…

First impressions are important, preparation is key for most things, be good at and enjoy working with others and keep a positive mood wherever you can!

I’m inspired by…

Many people. Since I was young, I have always wanted to achieve things for myself and so I have taken interest in friends and colleagues who have done well, and more importantly how they have done it!

Why I love Manchester Met

For the first time in education, I actually felt like I was working toward a professional career. The lecturers particularly were mostly from industry and had directly experienced it, which I found to be greatly beneficial.