Our latest contributor is BA (Hons) Banking and Finance student Andrew Munro who shares his hint and tips on making a good first impression at interview, as well as insights into his daily working life on placement at an NHS trust.
Where are you currently on placement and what is your placement role?
I am currently on placement at Central Manchester University Hospital Foundation Trust (CMFT).
My current role as a Finance Assistant is within the Income and Contracting team, in the Finance department.
What type of selection processes did you go through for your applications? For example, Psychometric tests, telephone or video interviews? Any tips for students currently searching?
Selection process for my role at CMFT was an online application, which the led to an interview. At the interview I had to do a small Excel task and then a presentation on myself.
The Excel task wasn’t too demanding, the hardest part was the presentation. I would recommend practising if you have to do any presentations at an interview as practising definitely helped me a lot.
What are your top tips for impressing at an interview or assessment day?
My first tip would be to dress smart, first impressions count.
Prepare for your interview do your research and don’t forget any materials that they ask you to bring.
I recently helped with the recruitment for next year’s placement students at CMFT. The ones who stood out were those who had done their research, and those who did not stand out were the ones with no prep.
Some also did not clock on that us placement students were also part of the interview process and were feeding back our opinions and what we learnt from those being interviewed, so try act professional for the full duration.
Previous experience will always looks good even if it is just a part time café job for instance; it shows you are willing to work.
Tell us about your typical working day
When I get to work I go through any emails that have been sent to me regarding queries.
Once I have cleared these I then sort the shared inbox out dealing with more queries and chasing up people for unpaid invoices. My role changes daily to the task I am doing so it just depends on what I need to prioritise as there is always something to do in my department.
Other jobs I do throughout the day are as follows:
- Create Medical records report
- Post cash that has been paid to the trust
- Answer calls from patients/solicitors/ insurance companies/variety of people
- Deal with all AOB responses
- Upload all auto-upload sheets
- Print invoice requests
- Raise Invoices and Credit Notes
- Chase Debt
- Home Office report- overseas visitors who have not paid
As you can see it is very varied, each job takes different amounts of time so there isn’t really a set routine.
I like working here as you are constantly busy so the time goes fast!
What have been the highlights of your placement year so far?
Highlights of my placement so far are meeting other placement students, gaining experience in debtors.
Learning about the trust and different departments and how they all work together to make trust run.
Working in a friendly and helpful team!
Also going to visit KPMG offices and going to court for an unpaid invoice!
And what have been the biggest challenges?
A challenge I would say I have found most difficult this year is answering the phone as I do not know all the procedures as I am new, so a lot of the time you have to improvise and think on the spot.
This is now one of my favourite things to do as the more you answer the more you learn.
It has been very interesting as we receive calls from a variety of people and as you can imagine not all of them are friendly; but this is what makes the job a bit more exciting!
Are there specific skills that you feel you have developed during your placement year so far? If so, what are they?
I think I have grown up a lot from working at CMFT. I am more confident in taking on new work and learning as I go. I have become more confident in speaking to people, having to deal with new people from several departments each day helps.
Team work has improved; you cannot work in the AR team without communicating efficiently and working as a team. We are constantly throwing questions at each other including those who have been here for over 25 years as a second opinion is always good.
Problem solving is a key aspect of my current role, every day I have to resolve issues this is one skill I am becoming very good at.
Do you feel you will approach your final year differently because of the experience you have gained, and skills you have developed throughout your placement year? If so, how?
I feel I will approach the final year more determined as I was getting a bit fed up of studying in second year and wanted a break.
I think all the experience and time I have spent working will make me do more work in the final year, and I hope to use my time better than I did in previous years.
What would be your top tips for a student to maximise their chances of securing a placement?
Apply for as many as you can, but at the same time don’t submit a rubbish application otherwise there would be no point and you could have spent extra time on one you really want.
Don’t be scared or annoyed of being turned down by places because this is most certainly going to happen! Don’t give up looking.
And finally, if you could sum up your placement experience in one sentence, what would it be?
It has been a valuable experience which has allowed me to develop as a person.