Working at Citi Group
– A veteran’s point of view

Posted: 4th Nov 2019

From Operations officers to foreign exchange sales-trader

Laurence Whittingham spent 7 years in The Queen’s Royal Lancers, based in Catterick. Over the course of his career he completed two tours of Afghanistan, an exchange with the Australian cavalry and exercised in Norway, Lithuania, Canada and the UK working as a Troop Leader, Aide de Camp, Operations officer and finally as Adjutant. Laurence left the military in 2015 and joined Citi’s Markets Ex-Forces scheme. He now works as a foreign exchange sales-trader on their London trading floor, covering large corporate clients.

Laurence, this is the sixth Insight Day Citi are running for Service leavers – what can we expect to see on the day?
Our Insight Day is designed to give participants a broad overview of the bank and the main areas we recruit into. Citi is unique in offering service leavers full time jobs in front office roles, rather than work experience or an internship. We know from experience that it can be tough to understand which part of a bank you fit into, so we give every participant the chance to shadow a desk for two hours during the afternoon in the Private Bank, Markets and Security Services, Corporate and Investment Bank or our Treasury and Trade Solutions division. We also have two networking sessions attended by our London military network and senior managers from across the business. Our aim is for participants to finish the day with a firm view of what it means to work at Citi and the opportunities that are open to them as service leavers.

Why do Citi want to recruit officers?
As an American bank, Citi has a long history of supporting veterans across the world and highly values the skills they bring to the workplace. The training undertaken by all officers instils many qualities that are easily transferable to financial services: the ability to work under pressure; the ability to process large amounts of information and quickly make a decision; teamwork; trust; integrity; discipline. Life in a front office banking role can be extremely demanding and the wealth of experience that officers accrue over their diverse careers in the military allows us to compete and outperform against some of the top business school graduates from around the world. Over the last five years in London we have seen officers hired into some of the toughest roles in the bank and their success has built a strong reputation that puts Service leavers in high demand across the business.

You have worked with Citi for 4 years – what is it about the culture of the organisation that makes it a good place to work?
We do business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions with over 200 million customer accounts, offering consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, trade and treasury solutions and wealth management services. You might think that it would be easy to get lost in such a huge organisation, but I have been struck by how personable the business is; diversity and innovation are at the centre of Citi’s culture and I am constantly being encouraged to challenge myself and the way in which I work. Life on the trading floor is very fast and every day is different. I interact almost daily with my colleagues across the 100+ trading floors Citi operates around the world and I am always amazed by how willing people are to help you or support you in developing new ideas and initiatives. Ultimately, I have a lot of fun with the people I work with and love the job I do; I don’t think I could ask for much more as a Service leaver transitioning into a new career.

Any top tips for getting through the initial sift?
We need people who are passionate about working in financial services and this needs to come out in your application; the jobs that are on offer are hugely sought after and we are looking for the very best Service leavers to take forward to assessment. Our HR team will also be running a session on the Insight Day to talk through the application process and top tips for preparing for interviews etc.

What are the top reasons for officers to attend this event?
Citi are offering an unrivalled opportunity to service leavers – this is the first step towards a front office role in a leading financial institution. Trust in the skills and experience that you bring with you and put yourself forward for the programme.

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