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Romeo Embolo: How the Graduate Programme Fast Tracked my Career in Financial Services

Romeo started the Financial Services Programme in 2017 wanting to pursue a career in the Financial sector. Halfway through the programme he applied for a role with CGI and was able to draw on his experience to secure a position as a Cyber Security Consultant.

He tells us how the Programme helped him to land his dream role…

Romeo, what attracted you to the Welsh Financial Services Graduate Programme?

I always wanted to get into the Financial Services sector, particularly from an Information Security perspective. However, coming from a Financial background meant this was the perfect opportunity to get my feet in the door. The rotational element of the programme which involved lots of exciting organisations was the icing on the cake.

Tell us about your experience on the programme

The Financial Services Graduate Programme allowed me to gain invaluable work experience which ultimately helped me secure permanent role thereafter. Throughout the programme I gained a lot of self-confidence from the projects I was involved in and the experience I gained. My network of business contacts grew alongside my confidence and I enjoyed interacting with my peers on the programme. It was very rewarding in terms of meeting new people, making friends, sharing experiences, and supporting each other, all while undertaking our placements and studying towards the MSc.

During the programme I undertook two placements in two companies, Atradius and Hodge Bank. At Atradius I worked in Internal Audit, designing Audit frameworks in order to assess the company readiness against the new EU General Data Protection Regulations that were about to come to force. I also worked with senior Auditors to determine cyber risks controls that were to be used in their upcoming Cyber Security audit.

For my next rotation with Hodge Bank I continued working within a team implementing GDPR as an Information Security Analyst. This role focused particularly on staff training and awareness of the legislation, together with carrying out Data Protection Impact Assessment across all the bank business units.

What path has your career taken since finishing the programme?

Halfway through the programme I received an offer from a major IT Consulting firm called CGI as a Cyber Security Consultant. I am now working on delivering highly critical cyber security services to our clients within Space Defence and Intelligence sectors.

The Graduate programme really helped accelerate my career and played a major factor in securing my role with CGI. During the interview process I was able to showcase all the skills and experiences I had acquired through my work placements in leading financial services institutions.

What has been the biggest achievement of your career so far?

Securing a role as a Cyber Security Consultant has been the highlight of my career so far which I believe is thanks to the Welsh Financial Services Graduate Programme.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking of applying?

The Programme is a great opportunity to accelerate your career. Not only will you undertake placements with established financial services institutions and gain invaluable experiences and contacts, you’ll also be supported to achieve an MSc. All of this in just two years!

My advice would be to demonstrate enthusiasm and passion and make the most of every opportunity that comes your way. One final thing I’d recommend is to practice your numeracy and literacy tests.

Thanks to Romeo for taking part and best of luck in the future.