Sean McAllister, from Belfast Metropolitan College, graduated the Career Ready programme in 2019 after enjoying a 6-week paid internship at Citigroup, a multinational investment banking company.

We caught up with Sean, who now works as a Middle Office Analyst at Citi to find out how his internship experience coupled with support from his mentor helped kick start a rewarding career.

The benefits of a mentor’s insight

Whilst on the Career Ready programme I was mentored by Paul Glover from Citi. He helped me prepare for my future and for the working world by being open and honest about his own experiences. Together we thought about what I might want out of the next 5-10 years of my life and discussed how I could best achieve that. He didn’t push me in any particular direction and the benefits of having his insight were enormous.

Discovering new opportunities

During my internship at Citi, I was able to learn useful hard skills like data management, but what I really found I developed were my soft skills. I worked alongside new people, built up my confidence and networked with industry professionals in a way I didn’t previously think was possible.

My favourite moment was the final presentation. Alongside my project-partners, we delivered to colleagues, managers and mentors. We put a lot of effort into the presentation and received great feedback, concluding my time at Citi perfectly.

Before my internship at Citi I had no career plan and no idea what my options were. My only experience of the working world was as a shift manager at Dominos Pizza, but this opportunity gave me the confidence to enter the world of work and influenced my future plans immensely.

I thought jobs in finance consisted of shouting on a trading floor all day! But this experience opened my eyes to the range of jobs out there and showed me that they were actually achievable.

A life-shaping experience

The experiences Career Ready offered me have shaped my entire life and I am extremely grateful. Today I work as a Middle Office Analyst at Citi, in the same office I completed my internship in. Without the programme I honestly wouldn’t even know that my current role existed.

The Career Ready programme was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that kick-started my career. It was a truly incredible, unique and life altering experience that I would advise anyone to take part in. I simply would not be where I am now without Career Ready.

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