Lucie Dunlop

Business Analyst, Ulster Bank

Degree subject BA French and Spanish
Job title Business Analyst

Employer Ulster Bank

After attending university in England I wanted to return and find a job in Ireland, and I thought the financial sector would offer good opportunities. It wasn't perhaps the most obvious choice of career for someone with an arts degree, but my course had a strong economics and law influence and I had really enjoyed those sides of it.

On the Ulster Bank retail markets graduate scheme I get to work in four different departments for six months at a time. It's really useful to ‘test drive' different areas, as I didn't do any work experience before I started this job and so had little experience of the finance sector. My first placement was in business improvement at head office. My role there involved streamlining processes and helping people to find solutions to problems. In October I'm moving to a branch, which will be quite a change. I'm not sure what it will be like dealing directly with customers but I'm looking forward to the challenge.

My current placement is as a business analyst in retail markets. This role involves monitoring projects and helping to get the bank's new products, such as mortgages and credit cards, ready for the consumer market. Although I am essentially following the same procedures with every project, each one is very different. This is because I deal with all areas of retail banking and a wide variety of people at different stages in their careers.

When I started the job I had a one-week induction, which gave me an introduction to the financial sector and provided more general training on areas such as presentation skills and IT.

I am also studying for Institute of Bankers exams and have recently completed a business writing course. I've chosen to undertake these exams because my financial experience is quite limited and I want to improve my knowledge of the sector.

Job-hunting tips

My advice to students would be to gain as much work experience as possible for a thorough overview of the financial sector and to make you stand out in what is a very competitive business.