One international graduate’s story of working in the UK

As part of our Focus on International Students week one of our graduates tells how she got a graduate job in the UK

Xin Huang graduated in 2014 with a degree in Economics and Accounting from the University of Edinburgh. She now works in internal audit for Barclays bank in London. Here Xin describes her career journey.

I successfully obtained a summer internship with Barclays in the summer before my final year. At the end of this internship I was offered a place on the Barclays finance graduate scheme. This meant there was no need for me to apply for jobs during my final year.

The application process for the summer internship involved an online application form, online numerical and verbal tests, a telephone interview with someone from HR lasting around 30 minutes and a half day assessment centre where I was interviewed by business representatives from the finance team and also took part in a group exercise and presentation.

There are two reasons I think I was successful in getting through the recruitment process:

  1. I did lots of practice of the parts of the process I could practice. For example online tests, a practice interview with the Careers Service and I applied for several internships so I gained practice in interviewing through my unsuccessful applications.
  2. I did research into Barclays and made sure I understood what they did. I looked on their website and also talked to friends who had experience of working in financial services to get an understanding of the industry.

My current role is in internal audit in Barclays’ investment bank. I audit traders to make sure they operate within external and internal guidelines. I really enjoy this role as it allows me to think and problem solve and is less process driven. I got this role after completing the graduate scheme early, the role interested me and I applied for it successfully.

I didn’t need a visa to do the summer placement as I was an undergraduate at the time. Barclays are a large international employer and so they did everything for me in applying for my visa to work after graduation. If you are a good candidate for a role then getting a visa should not be an issue.

My main advice to international students is to get work experience in the UK, even a part-time job is helpful it doesn’t have to be an internship. Also be aware of opportunities, for example spring weeks in 2nd year.

If you are coming a one year taught postgraduate then you need to plan ahead as vacancies will be open before you even start your course which is very challenging.

Look out for our talk on Working in the UK for international students on MyCareerHub, the talk runs throughout the year. You can also find out more by visiting our webpages for international students who want to work in the UK after graduating.


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