Jennifer Fitzpatrick, Financial Engineer, First Derivative
After over 3 years with First Derivative, I have made friends for life across the globe, and I am certain that applying to this programme during Final Year was the best decision I ever made.
Intro yourself (who you are, where you’re from, when you joined?)
My name is Jennifer and I am from County Limerick in Ireland. I joined the First Derivative graduate programme in August 2018 after four fabulous years studying Finance in University College Cork.
Did you have any misconceptions/nerves when you first joined First Derivative and if so how did these play out?
When I graduated in 2018, the majority of my class joined graduate programmes in Dublin and I was worried that I had made a mistake by choosing something different and moving to Newry by myself. However, I really feel that working with First Derivative is like joining another family and it definitely makes the transition from college to the working life a lot easier when you have that support from the team in HQ.
From day 1 and spending time in Newry you start off living with your colleagues while completing the induction training programme, which helped me to settle in straight away. After over 3 years with First Derivative, I have made friends for life across the globe, and I am certain that applying to this programme during Final Year was the best decision I ever made.
What is the most rewarding project you’ve been involved in during your time with us?
After I completed my induction training in Newry, I was very lucky to be selected to interview for a role in a Investment Bank in London and that evening I was told to pack my bags and move to London. I have just finished working with this client after over 3 years and I loved every minute. I worked alongside the COO and the Head of Compliance Operations on a variety of projects from Brexit to Operational Resilience.
For my final year with the client, I became the Relationship Manager and System Owner of multiple systems used by the bank which was a lot of responsibility. It was a fantastic opportunity where I had the chance to grow and gain experience across all aspects of the bank from Front to Back office.
What does your role look like on the ground day-to-day?
Every day with First Derivative is different which is what makes the graduate programme so unique. First Derivative has clients in every corner of the world, and you never know where you will end up. My day-to-day involves using my knowledge from my degree and experience with First Derivative to ensure the clients requirements are met.
For my role as a Compliance Officer in the Investment Bank, I was sitting on the trading floor and working with many different functions to ensure the bank adheres to applicable laws, regulations and internal policies.
How have your progressed professionally and personally since you joined?
In September 2018, I arrived in London not knowing anyone or how to find my way to the office. Over 3 years later, I am on the London Sports and Social committee organising events to encourage employee engagement across different projects and clients. I remember on my first day in London, I could not find my way out of Bank Station and now I know how to get from one side of the city to the other without using Google Maps!
Moving to London with First Derivative was very scary at the time and it does take a few months to settle but this has really helped me progress professionally and personally. From studying for Final Year exams to reporting to the Executive Committee of an Investment Bank, it is certainly a challenge as a graduate but a fantastic opportunity that would not happen without First Derivative.
What has been your most memorable/’pinch yourself’ First Derivative moment? (Possibly something related to travel/culture/recognition for your work?)
I think this would have to be the 3rd of December last year when my US Visa was approved at the London Embassy - a date I won't forget! I have always dreamed of working in New York and I expressed interest from day 1 with First Derivative so this really was a dream come true.
This was absolutely a 'pinch me' moment! I am currently onboarding for a Tier One Investment Bank in New York and I am looking forward to continuing my global career with First Derivative.
If you could go back 5 years and give yourself one piece of advice when you were starting out in your career, what would it be?
If I could go back 5 years, I would tell myself to stress less about getting a 1:1 degree. While doing well in University is and will always be important, it is not the only factor considered by employers.
Companies are looking for somebody that they would like to work with every day and somebody who is a team player. I would also tell myself to believe in myself more and that you are just as good, if not better than the person sitting beside you in the interview waiting room!
How do you maintain a good work/life balance?
Maintaining a good work/life balance is very important for your well-being. When I moved to London I signed up to the app 'Class Pass' which gives you access to different gym classes across the city. This is a great way to explore different areas of your new home while also exercising which is very important after spending a day sitting at your desk.
I also plan out my year in advance to make sure I have something to look forward to as you need to make sure you are getting breaks from work throughout the year. First Derivative are a very flexible employer that promote this balance, with lots of great activities to avail of within the social committee also.