Danniella studied Accounting & Finance. Now she’s an analyst on our Commercial Banking – Business Management graduate programme. Danniella tells us what she has discovered so far.


Career planning – Start as soon as you can

I started thinking about my career at 15 – I’d pick up a newspaper and go straight to the finance section because the stock numbers looked interesting.

I knew I wanted to have something to do with the financial markets, but I also wanted career flexibility, which is why I did a degree in Accounting and Finance. I’ve joined the Commercial Banking team here, I’m on the Commercial Banking – Business Management Graduate Leadership Programme, but there’s also Mid Markets & SME and Clients & Markets programmes too.

My advice to you is to discover what drives you as soon as you can, then get career planning.

Starting work – It’s a big leap from university

There are things you wish you knew before you joined. For me, it’s the size of the leap from university to the workplace, and the learning curve that comes with it.

I like the fact that Lloyds Banking Group selects us for our unique strengths and our different outlooks, background, skills and points of views – this diversity makes it a good employer.

I’m pleased I knew this before I came for my interview, because I was able to be myself. I didn’t hold back and I showed them exactly who I am as a person.

Passions ­– Find a solution, build an app, win an award

At university I built a finance app because I love UX design. I called the app ‘Budget Hut’. It was an apt name. I only had a £50 budget so I had to do most of the work myself. I did the A to Z of the functionality, design, icons, colours and fonts, and the simple coding for the budgeting equations. I did the hardcoding with a developer, screen sharing on Skype.

Budget Hut ended up as a Top 100 app in seventeen countries – Number 2 in Burkina Faso! It also appeared on the UK iTunes Best New Finance Apps.

Volunteering – A great way to prepare for work

I was the university representative for a social enterprise that coordinates student volunteer programmes around the world. I’d interview students and ask them which skills they wanted to develop, then I’d match these to the right programme. Here at work, they put teams together in a similar way.

A full life at university, with these kind of volunteering opportunities, has prepared me for the world of work. And this is especially true when you join a group that spearheads a lot of volunteering, charity and community initiatives.

Development ­– Keep sight of the bigger picture

Our development managers keep reminding us to focus on our development. It’s important for us to make time for it, and to give it the attention it deserves. It’s easy to rope yourself into your role and lose sight of the bigger picture, but we all have a personal responsibility for our broader development as a professional.

Biggest surprise – Direct contact with senior leaders

When I was on my Financial Markets placement, I knew that some of the people on the floor were very influential in the City. If you were to Google their names, their profiles from Bloomberg would come up. For me as a new graduate, it’s amazing to be working with leaders like this.

I’ve even been in meetings where these senior people have actively sought my opinions – and I thought I’d just be listening and taking notes. Their feedback and tips, and the way they’ve involved me, have been brilliant. It’s great for a new joiner to have direct contact like this – it makes me feel valued and empowered.

Training others – Award-winning social collaboration

I’m a firm believer in the power of digital media as a work tool, so my line manager has made me a Hive trainer for my colleagues in Financial Institutions. Hive is Lloyds Banking Group’s interactive collaboration tool. We use it to work together on content, share information and crowdsource solutions.

The role means I get to provide senior colleagues with 1-2-1 training at their desk – a great opportunity for me as a young graduate. Hive makes a big difference to the way we communicate internally. When teams use it efficiently, responses and actions are much quicker.

Current job – I’ve discovered I’m a good coordinator

Basically my work entails connecting with colleagues who have a particular interest – a stake – in the task I’ve been assigned. My job is to understand the task and run with it, managing these stakeholders’ expectations and delivering what I say I’ll deliver when I say I’ll deliver it.

It’s all about communication, coordination, collaboration – keeping my stakeholders content.

Key learning – Go with the curveballs

I’ve learned that it’s nice to think that you’re in a world where everything you do is a first. But then you receive a curveball and discover you’re not the first, and that maybe you’re not developing as fast as you think you are.

I have to remember that no graduate becomes a senior director overnight. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be aiming high – of course I should. The trick is to go with the curveballs. Don’t let them knock you out – use them to learn from and find solutions. That way you’ll master the game, bit by bit.

Where next – Work across time zones

I want to get into foreign exchange (FX) solutions so that I can discover what different clients are looking for. I want to keep up with developments in regulations and technology, and to experience more client-focused working.

In a year’s time I should be completing my CFA Level 2 professional qualification. In three years’ time I’ll have completed my secondment to New York. After that I hope to be managing teams across different time zones.

Insider advice – Share your knowledge

What didn’t know before I joined? I didn’t know how willing people were to share their knowledge – it’s very open like that here and it means we communicate well, learn quicker and deliver better for clients. I also didn’t know how much everyone wants to continually improve – it’s what the culture’s like here. How can we do this better? How can we do that better? We’re always asking these questions and searching for the best answers.

Perhaps the best thing I’ve found out is that the learning and development is well put together – very thorough and very broad at the same time. This means you get to discover new things you’re good at and interested in, things you didn’t know before.

Because of this, you can see how your career plan can go one way, but equally, if you want it to go in another, it can – the choice is yours. You get a pretty clear picture of you who are, and what you want, so you can plan your next career move with this in mind.






My advice to you is to discover what drives you as soon as you can, then get career planning.