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Strathclyde student takes a bite out of the Big Apple

By Jamie Cooper-Higgins - Posted on 2 August 2013

Jamie Cooper-Higgins, a 4th year BA Business (Hons.) marketing undergraduate, at Strathclyde Business School. Here he discusses his summer Undergraduate Internship Programme with the Saltire Foundation…

The Saltire Foundation is a Scottish based independent charitable organisation which aims to find, fuel and spark Scotland’s intellectual capital, in turn creating Scotland’s next generation of business leaders. One way they do this is through the prestigious Undergraduate Internship Programme which allowed me to gain my internship as a Business Analyst with Barclays Wealth & Investment Management in New York City. I was first made aware of the Saltire Foundation and the opportunities it offers through the University of Strathclyde Careers Service through a Management Development Programme presentation.

The rigorous application was 100% worth it – now into the final week of my internship I can honestly say it has been a life changing experience, working for Barclays Wealth & Investment Management in Manhattan at 21 would have been unthinkable to me just a few years ago. The reality is an amazing opportunity where I’ve been able to own and deliver projects of real importance to the business. Day to day I mostly perform project management duties, owning one major project and assisting on three long term initiatives. This involves researching and presenting findings to senior management, drawing up plans for projects and solving problems as they arise – my role is akin to a consultant. The highlight of my job is the human interaction like holding meetings, interviewing colleagues and public speaking through presentations. This high level of direct contact has made me learn so much from who I was working with, particularly in how a corporate organisation such as Barclays works internally. Working in a financial institution having came from a marketing background was also very beneficial and although initially challenging I believe I have learned more in eight weeks about the financial markets than I would have if I studied it at university.

The networking opportunities my internship has provided are unbelievable. At least once a week I’ve had a ‘lunch & learn’ with senior management. These allow interns to get real face time with leaders at the top of the industry, learn from their experience and importantly gain exposure. I’ve been able to sit down with the Managing Director of Marketing for Global Research & Investments and have an hour long conversation about her career and my aspirations. I’ve had one on one career coaching from one of the world’s leading life coaches. It just opens doors that would have been barricaded without this internship through the Saltire Foundation.

My top tips for getting the most out of a Saltire Foundation internship would be:

• Work Relentlessly: You’re only there for eight weeks so work as hard as you can to leave the best impression

• Challenge Yourself: Just like immersing yourself in a country, immerse yourself in a new industry and you’ll learn the trade much quicker

• “Be interested and be interesting”: Words spoken to me by our Chief Investment Officer. Don’t live in the office – go out and see the city. Make the most of the opportunity and soak up the culture

• Manage Your Brand: Be known. Try to avoid the cliché meek intern stereotype and don’t be afraid to talk to senior people. I’ve found they are really interested in speaking to interns for a fresh perspective, the Scottish heritage definitely helps

Do you value the role of internships? Perhaps you have had a similar experience or are thinking about taking one on? Let us know in the comments below…

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Contact details

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 Postgraduate admissions
 +44(0)141 553 6118 / 6119


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