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Soohan, Global Markets Grad

From intern to graduate: Soohan’s journey in Barclays, Hong Kong

Soohan joined our Global Markets team in Hong Kong after his summer internship left no doubt in his mind that Barclays was the place for him. Here’s Soohan’s journey so far, covering everything from life as an intern to what makes Barclays’ culture stand out.

“I was part of the first group of interns to do everything virtually. While the team is mainly based in Singapore and Hong Kong, I was actually dialling in from Korea for my summer internship. But even though it was all online and I was in a different location, I never once felt left out.

Everyone was happy to talk to me, and I had the opportunity to connect with lots of different people: everyone from senior leaders to current graduates. We organised virtual coffee chats, and I got to soak up invaluable insights across different divisions, regions and colleagues’ experiences.

Finding a unique culture of openness and inclusivity

I went to university in Hong Kong, but because I’m from South Korea, I had to serve in the military for two years – which meant I graduated a bit later than my friends. I saw them join different banks and I’d hear about their experiences, so I naturally had a lot of exposure to finance-related careers, and I started to build a picture of what it’d be like in this world.

As a result, I went into my internship expecting to have to step outside of my comfort zone: I thought I’d need to push hard for meetings with people, and it’d be a stressful environment. But at Barclays, everyone was so open and willing to take the time to chat with me and answer any questions. This openness and inclusivity is a huge part of the culture here – it makes Barclays stand out, and it’s why it was an easy decision for me to join in a permanent role.

The best bit of advice I received? To enjoy myself. Everyone tried to make sure I enjoyed my time on the internship – it wasn’t about constantly trying to impress people here, it was about figuring out whether Barclays was right for me, not just whether I was right for them.

Settling in as a graduate and enjoying early responsibility

When I was offered a full-time role in Global Markets, I didn’t think twice. The graduate buddy I had on my internship is now my manager, and I work with her in the Korea Equity Derivatives Sales team, based in Hong Kong. That means I help price client quotes, and then once the trade is complete, I’ll make sure everything we agreed with the client gets delivered smoothly.

I started off with one month of training, giving me a solid grounding in what I’d need to do my job. It was a great introduction to my programme, and I enjoyed getting to know the other graduates too – there’s only four of us, so it’s a tight-knit community. I’ve also been trying to settle into a routine; it’s an on-going process, but I want to make the most of every minute of the day, dedicating time to work out and eat healthy meals.

Even though I’m still learning, I’ve been trusted with responsibility early on in my career; it makes me feel like I’m helping the business to grow. Thinking about my own development, I’m excited to build up my technical skills so I can get to grips with the technological terms and theories that I hear every day, and contribute even more to this lively, supportive team.”

Read more about graduate opportunities in the Global Markets team here.