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10th May 2017
Finding a competitive edge

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The graduate job market is more competitive than ever, and it isn’t just a degree that gets a student’s foot in the ‘interview’ doorway

Each student is looking for a competitive edge, and the CISI is proud to be helping students across the UK achieve this. Working with over 20 UK universities where there is a proven quality in the delivery of financial education, the CISI is helping to further develop finance students on accredited programmes.

Each university works with the CISI under an employability strategy. At CISI Centres of Excellence and CISI Partner Universities, a mixture of undergraduate and postgraduate students are offered the opportunity to achieve a CISI exam qualification that complements their area of study and career aspirations. Students achieve their competitive edge by demonstrating they not only have the academic knowledge, but are able to apply this in the commercial world through passing a CISI professional exam.

CISI exams appeal to students as they are recognised internationally and so are globally portable, they move from entry level upwards, and accommodate various career pathways.

Of course, a competitive edge is just as important for securing an internship or work experience place, and the value of work place experience to the industry as well as students themselves has been well documented.

The Graduate Market in 2017, the annual review of graduate vacancies produced by High Fliers Research, reports that the number of work experience places available at the UK’s leading graduate employers is expected to fall by over 4% in 2017, the first annual drop in work placement recruitment since 2010. Graduate recruiters were asked about the value of work experience when it comes to assessing students’ applications for graduate roles. More than a third warned that it was either ‘not very likely’ or ‘not at all likely’ that a graduate with no previous work experience would be successful during their selection processes and be made a job offer, irrespective of their academic achievements or the university that they had attended.

Mr Vince Hopkins MCIM head of investment management and chief investment officer, BRI Wealth Management

"For over ten years I have been involved in interviewing graduates nationally from Barclays Wealth, Gerrard through to BRI Wealth Management. I find a first-class degree does not always warrant an interview these days  – standing out from the crowd is now the expected norm.

Many students have started to include CISI industry exams into their learning before graduating. For me this is a key sign that the candidate is serious about the industry – just knowing the various industry exam structures shows basic due diligence."