Although her degree was in Geography at Southampton University (and her MSc was in Strategy and Innovation), Catherine discovered her true passion lay in consumer behaviours and marketing, so she joined our Retail Customer Products Graduate Leadership Programme. Catherine tells us what she has discovered so far.
The Internship that builds a career
At my Lloyds Banking Group Internship induction, I was surprised to hear about the broad variety of jobs that senior leaders had held, throughout their time with the bank
To me, that was really enticing because it meant you were constantly facing new challenges and learning while still working for the same company.
A supportive, learning environment
Early on within the Graduate Leadership Programme I realised just how much Lloyds Banking Group invest in graduates as the future talent for the Group.
The learning environment is really focused on trying new things. I have the full support of my line managers too, who have coached me through new scenarios and given me constructive feedback or praise on my performance. I’ve found that incredibly useful; the regular one-to-ones has really improved my confidence.
Finding the balance to juggle rugby, work, and family
There’s a really positive attitude towards work-life culture here, and it’s about being honest with your line manager.
I’m captain of a touch rugby team, and our start times change from week to week, so I’ve discussed my current working pattern with my manager to make sure I can get to all our games. Some weeks I work until the end of the day, whereas other weeks I leave a little earlier.
Also, once a fortnight or once a month I travel outside of London to see my sister for dinner. I have to leave early on those days, but I’m trusted to manage my own workload.
I lived in Kuala Lumpur from the ages of 4-17, and I definitely developed resilience in the expat environment. Even though I wasn’t changing schools, my friends often were, so every year or two I’d have to make a new set!
Although I grew resilient to the environment changing around me as a child, I’ve become incredibly resilient with every placement I’ve joined at Lloyds Banking Group too. Being in a placement for six months, you feel like you just get settled into your team and your work – then you move on and enter the unknown again. But I love the challenge of learning and trying new things each time. I’ve realised I’m a fast learner and quickly able to adapt to new roles.
The culture and working environment at Lloyds Banking Group is very people-focused for both customers and colleagues.
Our vision is to be the best bank for customers, but ‘the customer’ isn’t just one type of person. So growing up in a different culture really instilled a sense of valuing everyone’s differences.
I learnt how to understand different people and how things can mean something completely different, depending on who you talk to about it.
Working together to make an impact
A big lesson I’ve learnt from captaining a rugby team is that you are only ever as strong as your weakest player. Sport also develops perseverance and determination as you’re constantly pushing yourself to achieve.
I have definitely transferred these ideas to work. There are days when I need to persevere and get projects over the line with their timeframe. Or times when several people are involved in a project, and they all bring their unique knowledge to the task.
We’re in the business of finding innovative solutions for our customers, so working together is really important. And really, it’s the people I work with and the teams I’m a part of that make my time at Lloyds Banking Group so positive.
Looking to the future
My current role on the Retail Customer Products Graduate Leadership Programme is a creative and strategic one. It’s about exploring what’s currently out there in the market and what the customer needs, in an increasingly digital world.
I really enjoy thinking about new innovations and ideas, and blue sky thinking is encouraged within this role. The customer research and testing element is fascinating and insightful too. I really like that we’re constantly exploring and developing new opportunities to develop services for our customers.
Starting a Graduate Leadership Programme or Internship?
My advice is: don’t be afraid of stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying new things.
It’s a great opportunity to try so many things besides your day to day work, like charity fundraising, volunteering, doing a professional qualification or even activities with your graduate cohort.
Ask a current graduate your questions, on our Chat to our people platform.