Shyam is on our Commercial Banking – Clients & Markets Graduate Leadership Programme. Shyam tells us what he has discovered so far.


Getting on – It’s not about long hours

Basically my work is about relationships, and that includes my relationship with myself. I want to be the best I can be, but that doesn’t mean working unnecessarily long hours. It’s not like that here – the culture is open and relaxed and we have lives outside of work.

Improving – I love challenging myself to perform better

I’m a powerlifter in my spare time, so I’m often looking to squat a few extra pounds in the gym, or shave a few seconds off my training runs. And at work I make sure I arrive at meetings five minutes early, so I can get to know my clients better as people. I think this matters in relationship building – connecting with people.

It’s in the little things where I love challenging myself to perform better. Get them right and the big things have a way of taking care of themselves.

Coaching and support – I get masses from my mentor

A winning powerlift isn’t just about strength and effort, it’s also about expert coaching and support.

In my programme I get masses of support from my mentor, who’s developed a lot more client relationships than I have. He’s showing me that every situation is different, and that it’s important to structure, shape and present analysis with each client’s individual needs in mind.

I’m discovering that this tailored approach leads to deeper understanding on all sides. That way, everyone’s winning.

Learning – A good manager means great development

I’ve been involved in real work, with real responsibilities, pretty much from the start – my line manager has already involved me in three or four significant transactions with clients. He’s a good manager, and for me that means great development. I’ve had first-hand experience of the transactions process at different stages, and even started to tailor products for clients.

I’ve also been working with Legal teams in the transaction execution stage, where I’m discovering another part of the process.

Passions – I also love maths

As well as powerlifting and running, I also love maths, and I’m encouraged to keep this passion fuelled by going to evening classes at the Royal Institution of Mathematics. It keeps my mind sharp, and even though my work isn’t pure maths, it’s good for my development as a whole person.

Current placement – Front line communication is vital

On my current placement I’m managing relationships with our clients, listening, understanding their needs and offering the banking services most appropriate for them.

Communication is a vital skill on the front line and I’ve has a lot of opportunity to develop it through all the client meetings I’m attending. I’m definitely getting a feel for it.

There are plenty of mergers and acquisitions happening in the market at the moment. Part of my job is to scrutinise the due diligence data for these, usually provided by the Big Four accounting firms. Every day I assess it, summarise it, and make it available to our team. I’ve discovered that it’s really sharpening my analytical skills.

I’ve also discovered that answering a client’s questions often means tapping into the expertise of colleagues, right across the Group – this collaborative approach is great for learning and for making new contacts.

Immediate plans – Develop my strengths and discover new ones

Each of my placements has given me very different opportunities to learn, and I think that’s invaluable at this early stage in my career. I’m developing my strengths, and discovering new ones all the time.

Five years from now – Keep discovering more

A year from now I’ll be doing my final placement. And five years from now? I plan to keep discovering, challenging myself, developing my strengths and my passions and discovering opportunities across the Group.

Even after my internship and the graduate placements I’ve done so far, I’m still amazed by how big the Group is and how many opportunities there are to learn and develop. It’s mind-boggling really.

Advice – Network, network, network

My advice to you is to get some experience here while you’re at university – ideally in an internship. Then start exploring – and network, network, network!

Once you’re actually physically here, you can start to meet people, doing your research, asking lots of questions and find out who’s who and what’s what. It’s much easier to plan your career when you have an insider’s view – at least that’s what I discovered.

And finally – Discover what most interests you

Make sure you get involved, ask questions and discover what most interests you. It’s much better than going into a career ‘blind’, committing yourself to something you’re not sure about or just have second-hand experience of.

All the managers I’ve worked with have been only too happy to share their views, and to provide me with contacts in areas I may find interesting.

At the end of the day, when you step back and look at it all, it’s about relationships – with your managers, with other graduates, with your mentor, your clients, and with yourself.

I wouldn’t be a Relationship Champion if I saw it any differently.






What gives me a lift? Seeing happy clients, knowing we’ve done a good job for them.