Stephen OgbornCommercial Banking – Client Coverage, Regions

I'm Stephen Ogborn and I'm a Relationship Director within Mid Markets, and I'm based in Southampton. My perception of Lloyds before I joined was probably driven by my experiences as a personal customer. I'd been a retail customer for a number of years and had always seen Lloyds as a friendly place, a bank which is UK centric and focused on customer service. I think what really attracted me to the scheme in the first place was the opportunity to combine lots of different placements to get a nice breadth of experience across the bank, and that's something that some other schemes that I looked at actually didn't offer, so for me that was really a compelling case.

I work within Mid Markets, which is part of Commercial Banking. We regularly have meetings and dialogue with business owners and managing directors and finance directors, and to be part of a local business journey is something truly special - it really means something. I enjoy partnering with a company and seeing where my client goes over the years that we work together. 

The key skills that I've developed over the last few years in this division, first and foremost are the ability to build relationships, fully getting alongside our customers, understanding their needs, knowing their business inside out. Ultimately, as a Relationship Director, you're responsibility is for the whole customer relationship, so your ability to see the wider perspective is also a key skill to develop.

I think as a graduate you are on a very steep learning curve but I think you find within yourself that actually if you apply yourself, if you seek the support of others, you can actually rise to those challenges and perform.

One of the key elements of the support network that you gain when you come on the graduate programme is a buddy, and I'm still friends with my buddy today. Your buddy is someone in the year above you on the graduate programme that you can chat to, you can ask questions of, and I think that's absolutely invaluable in those first few weeks. I really appreciated the openness of people to engage with other teams, and for others to teach you. There's a strong focus on learning and development, on your own personal development, and I think that is something, when I speak to others at other banks, that Lloyds does extremely well. 

Lloyds has supported me in my career, and I've had an exciting career to date in terms of the progression that I've had. When I look ahead to what the next few years hold for me, that's an exciting prospect, too.

Oliver WalshGeneral Management – Consumer Finance

I'm Oliver Walsh and I work in Consumer Finance division. I chose to join Lloyds because I studied Economics at university and a career in the financial services industry really appealed to me. My current role is leading the Business Development Team for Asset Finance, within the Consumer Finance division. My team works on strategic initiatives to build our new customer propositions for the market, within that we utilise customer feedback and market research, to build products that meet our customers' needs.

Lloyds is a fantastic company to work for. Since joining I've had a number of opportunities to develop both within and also outside of my role. This has ranged from attending leadership courses to entering team-based adventure racing competitions. More recently I've started studying professional qualifications, which will hopefully help me in my future role.

I completed the graduate scheme a couple of years ago. One of my favourite placements was leading a Customer Service team. I really enjoyed the opportunity here to work closely with the local community. In addition to my role, I was involved in fundraising for a local respite home and also conducting mock interviews with school leavers, supporting their future career development.

The advice I'd give to students is make sure that you understand the markets that we operate in, and get to understand some key performance indicators both of Lloyds and also the Consumer Finance division. Within your application you need to demonstrate how your strengths are particularly suited to the role that you're applying for. In consumer finance the key areas to focus on are entrepreneurial and commercial skills. Consumer Finance is a really exciting division to work in, there's plenty of opportunities ahead and I'm really keen to be involved in that growth.

 

Bev JoughinGeneral Management – Retail

I chose Lloyds Banking Group because I felt that the programme offered a varied experience and the opportunity to work in different places across various different parts of the business and that really interested me.  Also, I really wanted to work for a large organisation with lots of opportunity for development and I felt that Lloyds, being such a large company, would offer me that. 

I work within the Retail Division which really is the core division of the bank, providing services to individual customers across our three core brands: Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland. 

I work specifically within the Wealth Department as a Private Banking Manager and my role is to look after a portfolio of around 300 clients that I'm the main point of contact for within the bank. 

On the Graduate Programme, first of all in the first week there was a structured induction, where you get to meet all the other graduates.  Everybody's in the same boat and your make lots of friends in that first week and that really settled my nerves.  There's also lots of networking opportunities through lots of different departments of the bank and with a lot of access to senior management and senior leaders particularly whilst on the Graduate Scheme. 

One of the placements that I undertook whilst on the Graduate Scheme was in a Halifax branch in Cambridge and I was the Customer Services Manager in the branch.  It was really valuable for me to understand what it's like working in a branch and their goals and their targets, but also understanding really what the customer wants by face to face interaction which I think is such an important grounding for any role within the bank. 

Next steps for me?  I'd like to move into a leadership position in a strategic capacity.  I've always been very interested in strategy but I do feel that it's difficult to do strategy unless you've actually had experience on the frontline and interacted with customers and that's why I think it's so important that graduates get branch experience on the Graduate Programme. 

James ConwayRisk

When I was thinking about what career I wanted to do, I was very lucky that my school had done a career aptitude test, and that generated a range of jobs your aptitudes were suited to. From that list six of the jobs were financial services or banking, so when I started looking and researching, the Lloyds scheme really appealed to me. It had a wide range and depth of opportunity: from going out and seeing customers to customer facing roles to back office support functions - so really giving the opportunity to explore the depth and breadth that a bank could offer.

The Lloyds scheme gave me the opportunity to experience a wide range of different job types and experiences, which really sold it to me. My current role's within Risk division - I rolled off the graduate scheme into a permanent job in Risk.

I work in a team called EU State Aid Reporting, so we're responsible for monitoring and reporting how the bank's doing on its state aid commitments. This role gives me brilliant exposure across massive projects within the bank, and it's given me the opportunity to see very much group-wide how the bank pulls together when it needs to, to report various aspects of a business.

In Risk division you sit at the heart of what the group is doing so you get to see group-wide strategic initiatives. This means I get to see projects that span across the group that affect not only different businesses with inside Lloyds but also our customers and our shareholders. Obviously this exposure and experience gives me great insight into what the bank is doing.

One of the best things about working at Lloyds is the fact that everyone does work together. It's a very good atmosphere, it's a very friendly atmosphere, and people really want to work together to deliver what the bank needs to achieve. The bank's set a vision to become the best bank for customers, and the only way that we're really going to be able to do this is if, as an organisation, the colleagues inside really pull together to deliver what's needed.

Sophie WrightIT

My name's Sophie Wright, and I'm on the IT scheme. I chose to join Lloyds because I've always had an interest in the financial services industry, and I found Lloyds attractive because it was the biggest bank in the UK. I thought it would give more diverse opportunities.  Also I really liked the bank's core values, and I felt that this showed off an inclusive culture.

I'm on the IT scheme. The scheme is two years in length and consists of four six month placements. These are in application, development and maintenance, service delivery, enterprise architecture design, and group IT operations. The great thing about the IT programme is that you get to see four different elements to the IT project life cycle. The role I'm currently in is in enterprise architecture and design. Here I've owned a project to define the user experience strategy for applications used by branch and group operations back-end staff. I've had weekly catch-up meetings with my line manager, who always has time to help. It's great to know that if I ever have a question I can ask anyone around me and any of my team would be happy to help.

I'm halfway through the graduate scheme so I have one year left, which means two more placements, which I'm really excited about. When it comes to rolling off the scheme, at the moment I think I would like to do something in user experience. I've really enjoyed the project that I've been working on and it's opened my eyes to something that I didn't know existed before starting the programme.

When it comes to applying for jobs on a graduate scheme, my one piece of advice is to not go for the mass application approach. I think it's really important that you want to work for the company and you want to do the role, and I think when you research and look into it more, it really shows in your interview.

Tom LynchGeneral Management – Group Operations

I'm Tom Lynch, and I work within Group Security and Fraud, which is in Group Operations. I originally applied shortly after Lloyds TSB merged with HBOS, and I thought it was a great opportunity to get involved in a completely new organisation that had recently become the biggest retail bank in the UK. I thought there'd be a lot of opportunities to help shape the future of the bank and help it become the best bank for customers.

Group Operations is responsible for a really wide remit, and we provide the support and technical expertise needed to meet customers' needs on a day to day basis. In my current role I work within Intelligence and Analytics within Group Security and Fraud. Our team is responsible for identifying and reporting any emerging or trending threat, to help formulate responses.

I had a great experience as a graduate at Lloyds Banking Group. The different placements that you do give you a real breadth of experience, and enable you to make a much more informed decision when it comes to the end of the scheme when you're looking for something permanent.

There's a really open and friendly atmosphere in all the teams I've been in, and there's always a lot of networking opportunities available. There's always great opportunities for socialising, as well, and I always feel like I can have a laugh with my colleagues in or out of the office. I can definitely see myself working at Lloyds Banking Group for the long haul - it's a really great place to work. I've got colleagues who've been here for a number of years and they still absolutely love every day.

I can definitely still see myself within Group Security and Fraud. There's a lot of different opportunities, and I feel like it's a great place to work to improve customers' experiences and safeguard their financial security.

The size of Lloyds Banking Group and the diverse nature of the various divisions means there's so many different roles coming up every day that are absolutely fascinating, so I could easily see myself moving sideways, as well. Besides the day job, thanks to the size of Lloyds Banking Group and the opportunities given to graduates, there's sometimes the opportunity to get involved in something that goes above and beyond the graduate scheme.

For me the best opportunity I ever had was to work at the London 2012 Olympics in the Media Centre representing Lloyds as one of the official sponsors. My shift ran from Super Saturday all the way through to the evening of the closing ceremony.  It was a truly once in a lifetime experience and something I'll never forget.

Maddie DakinGeneral Management – Insurance

I chose to work for Lloyds Banking Group because it's such a huge company.  I'd only ever worked for family run businesses before, so what attracted me to Lloyds Banking Group was the scale of the organisation and the amount of opportunities that would come with it.

I currently work in insurance, which is a great part of Lloyds Banking Group because we provide for millions of customers. 

I had a variety of placements on the Graduate Programme which gave me some great experience.  One of my placements on the Graduate Scheme was in General Insurance and I worked in a direct contact centre.  There were hundreds of colleagues answering the phones to customers, specifically regarding home insurance, buildings and contents insurance.  My role there was as a Team Manager, so ultimately I was responsible for about 20 colleagues and it was really a great experience for me, I learnt a lot about leadership skills and it really boosted my confidence.  I also learnt a lot about myself and I learnt a lot about teamwork and how important it is to lead a team.  It showed me what I really enjoyed.  It actually showed me what I was good at and what I wasn't maybe so good at and that really helped me decide where I wanted to go at the end of the Graduate Scheme and created the pathway and the vision for me on where I wanted to go next.

As a graduate you get lots of support as part of the Graduate Programme.  In my placements and especially in insurance, my line managers were fantastic in helping me and they gave me a lot of responsibility that I was able to handle.  If there were any moments where I had a lack of confidence they were always there to support me and give me some great advice.

One of the fantastic things about the Graduate Programme is the qualification that you get alongside it and line managers are really supportive in that they help you get that training and that extra background to push you forward in your career.

There are loads of additional activities that you can take part in while you're in your placement on the Graduate Scheme.  One of the things I got involved in was fundraising for charity and it was great because it gave you a chance to really develop your network and it also helped you give back to the community.

Ryan SheppardAudit

I chose to join Lloyds Banking Group after university, simply because having studied accounting and finance, it made logical sense for me to then move into the financial services sector. With Lloyds being one of the biggest banks on the high street, I thought it could potentially offer me the most opportunities. 

I work in Group Audit, which is the third line of defence within Lloyds Banking Group. The objective of Group Audit is essentially to provide assurance to senior leadership team. We're wholly independent, so we're able to provide them with the comfort that the business units and the divisions that they look after, are controlled effectively and providing the best service to our customers.

I think one of the best things about working in Group Audit is that you actually get to work across such a breadth of different organisations, we can essential go in and do an audit wherever we choose, wherever we want. So while I was on the graduate scheme I literally covered every single division, in some way or form. It really proves that audit has such a far reach and such an influence over the entire organisation.

I think the graduate programme was a great way of transitioning from university into work. You've joined with hundreds of like minded graduates, who provide you with a great peer network and a great bunch of friends to go out with. You'll find that you've also got a great support network, be that your line manager or your development manager, and at the same time you get to study towards a professional qualification, which for me was the ACCA.

Lloyds Banking Group has got a great culture of building relationships, be that with the customer or in my role with senior management throughout the organisation. We're very open, we're very transparent and that behaviour is encouraged. I think another aspect which I really enjoy about the Group, is the fact that we get to give so much back to our community. One thing we do is every single colleague gets a day a year to actually go out and give back to the community - it's called their Day to Make a Difference.

Sophie BattellHR

When you join the graduate programme you're provided with a buddy or mentor, and that's probably a graduate from the year before you, who can just provide you with a bit more guidance about any questions that you have. I think the buddying system at Lloyds is really good, and because your buddy or your mentor has already been through the graduate programme themselves, they have an idea of the kind of questions that you'd like to ask and they know what it's like to move round placements. It's really good that you've got people that you can ask on a programme.

I think that's one thing that I've been really impressed with within the bank, is the visibility of senior leaders. Everyone's really approachable, and senior leaders are really happy for you to contact them or put time in their diary for a chat. It's not very hierarchical, certainly not as much as you'd expect from a company as big as Lloyds. It feels very welcoming and a very friendly, approachable atmosphere.

While I've been on the graduate programme I've had the chance to get involved in lots of community initiatives. I've taken part in a Day to Make a Difference in the community, where a whole team went along to a hospice in the South West, and we were painting fences and doing some gardening and generally making over their garden for them. I've also been involved in various pieces of fundraising from cake sales to running a half marathon - everything to support the charity of the year, which is Save the Children.

I've definitely been really impressed at how the bank promotes community involvement, and I think for a really large company, Lloyds has got a really impressive social responsibility ethic, as well.

Alice BarnesFinance

When I first joined Lloyds I came in through the internship route.  During my second year of university I went to a careers fair and found out about the Lloyds internship, thought it sounded great, applied and got through the assessment centres.  I started that in June 2010 and from then on I got an offer onto the Graduate Leadership Programme for finance.  This consists of four placements across three years in which you also study towards a professional qualification.  The qualification I do is CIMA. 

My first placement was based in Bristol in Commercial Banking Finance.  It was a really good start for me in Lloyds because it taught me about the core finance function within Lloyds Banking Group, what finance means for Lloyds and also having had no accounting experience, it provided me with that. 

I really enjoy the Finance Graduate Programme because you're provided with a unique opportunity to support the finance function throughout the business in multiple divisions. 

As a graduate you are also provided with the chance to get involved with multiple activities that are not necessarily directly involved with your business's usual role.  For example, charity initiatives where you raise money for Lloyds Banking Group's Charity of the Year. 

The culture at Lloyds Banking Group is especially customer focussed.  You are also provided with a really valuable support network from both in your role and on the graduate programme. 

Currently I'm in the finance team supporting the simplification programme which is a group wide initiative and is all about simplifying the processes for our customers.  It's great being in a non customer facing role but still being able to support our overall mission to be the best bank for customers. 

There are a number of pieces of advice I would give students applying to the Lloyds Banking Group Graduate Programme.  Firstly do your research on Lloyds Banking Group itself and secondly understand the market that we operate in and the current challenges being faced. 

Tanjeet AroraCommercial Banking – Products

My name's Tanjeet Arora, I am part of the Commercial Banking Product Graduate Scheme. My initial impression of Lloyds was really limited to its high street presence, I saw Lloyds as being a high street bank, with branches - I really didn't know anything beyond that. I actually had some friends who are already on the Graduate Programme at Lloyds and they were telling me about their experiences and about how the commercial banking division was really growing. And I felt that you don't really have many opportunities in your career to be part of a growing business, particularly in banking and that was what really drew me to Lloyds. I came for that opportunity.

So I'm part of the Commercial Banking Product Programme and what that means is my focus is really on the product offering of Lloyds. I've done two placements so far, my first one was in market strategy, which was a research position. My next placement, which I'm coming to the end of, is in the capital markets analyst group. I think the real advantage of being on a rotation graduate programme, like you get at Lloyds, is that you don't just get to see different product areas and you don't specialise too early, but you have the chance to look at various different areas of the business and really learn how a commercial bank works.

Lloyds has some really good development opportunities, as a graduate you start your programme with a short training course, where it's almost an introduction to being a banker, as well as the products that Lloyds offers. That means you do have some technical knowledge when you start your role. Following that over the next couple of years you have a lot of on the job learning. You almost learn as you go and pick up new skills almost every day.

Working at Lloyds is challenging, but it's a really, really good experience. It has a really collegiate culture, everybody is really helpful. If you ever need some help with a particular task, there is always somebody that you can turn to, whether they're one of your peers or someone a little bit more senior. You get really good senior management exposure. As a graduate you almost have licence to go up and talk to someone more senior than you and find out, not only about their role, but how they got to that role and what their history has been.

Being the best bank for customers is one of Lloyd's values and I think you're very conscious of that even as a graduate. In my current role I always have to think how am I best serving our clients?  And how am I best enabling them to meet their needs?

Peter O'HanlonCommercial Banking – General Management

I chose to join Lloyds while I was in the final year of university. I knew I wanted to go onto a graduate scheme, and it was important for me that I had quite a range of development opportunities that I could choose from. There were a number of things that were important to me: the number of placements, the length of time, who was there to support me whilst I was on it. The crux of it all was what was going to offer me the steepest learning curve and how were they going to support me?  And for me, Lloyds offered all of those.

I'm a Programme Manager within the Change Management function of Commercial Banking. That essentially entails managing groups of projects that will alter or change the way that the commercial banking division runs. For not only our staff, but also for the end customer, that's always at the heart of all the change programmes that we deliver.

When I was in my final placement of the Graduate Programme, I was placed into Group IT, in the Wholesale IT function, as a Programme Manager. Similar to the role I'm doing now, this was the placement the role that really made it for me. This was a period where I was given far more responsibility, but with the support to back it up, which was the absolutely vital element that made that placement a success for me. 

If I was to sum up the culture of Lloyds Banking Group, I'd do it with one word, - supportive. Not only are you supported in your development and through your day to day work objectives and your tasks, but in everything outside of work as well. There's a great work life balance that's been developed here, which is great when compared to the stereotype of the rest of the financial services industry. In terms of day to day work life balance, it's absolutely fantastic in the way that you're given the opportunities to do your work, within the hours that fit your lifestyle.

Then there's the support in terms of your day to day tasks where there are things like mentorship programmes and senior managers who are there and on hand with open door policies for you to go and speak to and who will absolutely make sure that you're getting what you need to do your job well.

Katie PorterCommercial Banking – Client Coverage, London

On my final interview I met two senior females from the bank, both who are very inspiring characters. They've had fairly long-term careers both with Lloyds and outside of Lloyds, so they really made me want to join banking and join Lloyds Banking Group in particular.

I think for people who don't work at banks, who know Lloyds just as a retail bank on the high street, in particular the product side, so the Capital Markets division and the Markets division itself have had a lot of investment. As well as people brought in externally, lots of new graduates have been brought on board to be developed for their future careers.

At the moment I'm on my sixth month relationship management placement. I've really enjoyed that because I get to work with clients and financial institutions from across the UK. The team's really fun, and it's quite a steep learning curve at first, but I love interacting with people and representing the bank. When I first joined the bank it was a combination of both excitement and nerves. Having never worked for a large institution before, you don't really know what to expect. I think I probably had some preconceptions, as well, about what it would be like, but since having joined, obviously everyone's very friendly and they're happy to help you learn and I've had a really good time.

My preconceptions about banking have been changed. I've realised it's not all men and you're not working till 10pm every night, and actually what you do or, in particular, what Lloyds does a lot of, which is lend to clients, is a very social thing. I think for those who are new to their career, there's a lot that's probably misinformed.

Lloyds is very supportive of young females who join the bank. There's the Breakthrough committee, and also for the female graduates you get quite a lot of attention in getting involved in different events and mentoring other females who are looking to come into the industry.

For any students applying for Lloyds Banking Group or any graduate scheme I think it's very easy to become fixated on the technical elements of your application, and I think it's often overlooked that you need to be a well rounded human being. You need to have life experience because you will be working with people both in the bank and with clients. It's very important to be technically strong but also to have the soft skills that mean that you can get along with people, as well.