The insight was split into 2 days. The first day involved learning about the various divisions within the Financial Conduct Authority through presentations given by employees. For example, talks from FCA employees within the Wholesale Enforcement and Market Oversight divisions. The first day also featured guidance from FCA graduates on how to tackle the assessment centre on day 2. The second day was the assessment centre consisting of: a written activity, a 45 minute interview and case study style activity.
The second day of the programme was dedicated to completing an assessment centre. This was the first assessment centre I had ever done so the programme allowed me to work on my skills related to this in particular. The second half of the first day of the programme was dedicated to preparation for the assessment centre so featured presentations on important skills such as how to do interviews and the various tasks of the assessment centre. The programme gave plenty of time and emphasis on the development of these skills.
The programme showed that a variety of potential roles are available over a number of positions. Some of these were more appealing than others, however the programme had enough breadth so that there was something to interest and appeal to everyone. The first day featured speakers from the organisation who gave a good overview of the type of work they undertake which was helpful to understanding the business. One criticism I have of the programme relates to this area: I felt the programme had slightly too much emphasis on the assessment centre and I would have preferred to learn even more about the FCA.
The company culture and general atmosphere of the Financial Conduct Authority during the programme was very friendly and a lot more relaxed than I was expecting. All the speakers were interesting and extremely willing to help with any questions that the participants were all encouraged to ask. The experience was virtual and conducted entirely through Microsoft teams, so this may have made the atmosphere slightly different to usual but overall I would say the FCA has a very positive and nice company culture.
The insight was very enjoyable. There was plenty of variety in the first part of the programme which meant the insight was always interesting and never got boring. This was made better by the fact the staff and speakers at the event were extremely helpful and friendly which made the participants feel a lot more comfortable. The second day was an assessment centre and even though this was not intended to be enjoyable, it was a very valuable and helpful experience and therefore doesn't impact my overall view of the programme.
I would recommend researching the organisation beforehand. The opening horizons programme was the first time the FCA had done an insight programme like this, meaning there was less information available about the nature of the application process online. However, the FCA website is full of useful information about the work they do as well as the skills and values which they are looking for in applications. I would recommend this to anyone considering applying to the FCA.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
Banking/Finance, Banking and Finance Law
6th May 2021