Shireen Zul Parquear

Technology Intern

  • Modern Languages (French and Spanish)
  • Exeter, University of
  • Internship (1-4 Months)
  • M&G

Technology Intern

During my time interning at M&G, I worked in an analyst role assisting the Regulation & Controls IT team. The main project I was involved in was the design of a new in-house compliance tool. Before I could begin contributing to the team, I needed to familiarise myself with current financial regulations, Agile principles and the role of an analyst within a scrum squad. As such, I spent the first few weeks of the internship shadowing and conducting independent research. As soon as I understood these concepts, I started taking on technical tasks related to the project, such as creating JIRA stories (project tasks that would need to be coded by a developer), drafting acceptance criteria, wireframing and conducting systems analysis. I also had the opportunity to explore other roles within my team, such as taking on the role of Scrum Master one day to run a retrospective (an Agile meeting where the team reflects on their progress).

Outside of my team-based tasks, I also contributed to several extra projects. Alongside another intern, I developed several webpages, a written guide and a video for our department on the topic of workplace psychological safety. I additionally assisted several senior members of the business in conducting market research and SWOT analysis for a mental health charity as part of an internal M&G volunteer project.

My biggest highlight of the summer was definitely seeing my technical skills develop over the course of the eight weeks. Before my internship at M&G I had never received formal IT training beyond a GCSE level. By the end of the internship, however, I was able to actively participate in technical meetings and prepare meaningful work that contributed towards my team’s success. I also greatly expanded my financial knowledge from working at an asset manager and came to have a much clearer understanding of buy-side investment firms, investment strategies and the wider relationships forming the financial markets. Technology and finance are two of the most sought after fields to work in nowadays and I consider myself very lucky to have had the chance to explore both during my internship.

Over the course of the eight weeks, my biggest challenge was trying to cover as much content as I could within a limited timeframe. I was always learning about new areas of technology that interested me, from cloud engineering to data management, behavioural analytics, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. As a result, deciding what to prioritise and focus on learning about was a slight challenge. I admittedly left with a longer list of topics that I wanted to research and skills that I wanted to master than I did coming into the internship, but I think that’s inevitable when you are working in a field as exciting as FinTech. There is so much to learn and you are exposed to new technologies, ideas and industry shifts every day.

For students looking to secure a technology internship at M&G or who are interested in a FinTech career in general, I would really recommend doing some reading around the industry before applying to positions. There is a huge amount of information available online concerning financial technology and independent research is a great way to impress interviewers and display motivation. Prior work experience in either a financial or technical role is also a useful stepping stone into the field. However, don’t be put off from applying if you don’t have this. Most FinTech professionals that I have met value attitude and genuine passion over prior work experience and there is no one route into the growing industry.

My time at M&G has taught me so much about myself and has really encouraged me to continue pursuing my financial technology career. As a female languages student, I was by no means the obvious choice for a technology role and initially felt self-conscious about my non-technical background. That being said, the support of my managers and my team really built up my confidence and I have learned to trust myself, my enthusiasm and my abilities. I now feel quite proud to say that I am a female languages students working in FinTech; it’s not a conventional career path and it makes me different! Luckily, M&G is exactly the kind of company that values that diversity of thought. If you are interested in learning more about the exciting world of financial technology, the M&G Technology Summer Internship is a great choice.

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