Former Army officer Nicholas Wheatley, now part of HSBC’s Military Network, discusses his experiences working in Financial Services.
I served 8 years in the British Army and 5 years in the New Zealand Army; discharged in 2013 from a tour in South Sudan, having missed my opportunity to join the United Nations due to severe malaria. After getting out of hospital I faced the reality of returning to a country I had not seen in 5 years, with a family to support, no idea what to do, no network, no job and no idea how to get one.
Speaking to other veterans who had made the successful transition to civilian employment was pivotal in turning this around for me. Since then, I always try to ‘pay it forward’. Ultimately, it was through networking that I learned of the internships available for ex-military personnel, one of which I applied for and was successful.
Any top tips?
Top tips: Network, be positive, be courteous, be helpful, leave a positive impression, learn you’re your mistakes and be hungry to know everything you can about the industry, repeat. Apologies if that seems a little obvious but I needed reminding and have seen others fall short.
Avoid: My biggest mistake was poor networking, preparation, planning and not seeking advice. When I corrected these, the rest quickly fell into place.
Anything you wish you had been told before entering Financial Services?
That there is an impact on career equivalence and job security when transitioning to a fast-paced industry; that I would have to learn how to perform on par (and quickly) with peers who had graduated in Finance and already had extensive experience.
So, you work for HSBC – what is it like?
It’s genuinely great! I like the breadth of the organisation, the consequent scope of the work, and the collegiate and international culture of the people I work with.
What does HSBC look for and value in ex-military talent?
Confidence in dealing calmly with complex problems, adaptability, a ‘can do’ attitude and strong work ethic.
Why is HSBC looking to recruit veterans? Although we do not have a bespoke veteran’s recruitment scheme, there is a strong military network that wants to and does help others on their transition journey. Similarly, there is a pedigree of successful ex-military recruitment already in place and success begets success.