Josh
University: Durham University
Degree: MMath
Current job title: Associate Investment Consultant
What attracted you to the Aon Graduate Programme?

Before joining the Investment Practice as an Analyst in 2016, I was training to be an Independent Financial Adviser. I was drawn to consultancy as it allowed me to develop a broad understanding of the investment world and gave me the opportunity to work in a client-facing role which really appealed to me. The culture of Aon was also a big attraction; within Investment, Aon offer a very flexible and generous study package to help you work towards professional qualifications.

What have you learnt in your time at Aon?

Working at Aon, you get given a lot of responsibility early on and as such there is a lot to learn when you first join. Within Investment there are a range of specialist teams, from risk modelling to manager research as well as a depth of experienced client consultants. Having access to these teams has enabled me to learn a great deal about the range of investible assets, from traditional equities and bonds to more alternative and esoteric investments, in addition to the way in which market movements can impact a pension scheme’s liabilities.

What does a typical day look like for you?

One of the things I enjoy most about working at Aon is the variety of the work that I get involved in. My role involves assisting pension scheme clients on a day-to-day basis, which can involve anything from monitoring my clients’ investment, preparing training for trustee meetings or reviewing their investment strategy. A large part of my role is being able to summarise large amounts of data and often complex topics so that clients can make informed decisions about their investment strategy.

What have you enjoyed most about your Graduate Programme?

For me, the most enjoyable part of the Graduate Programme has been the number and variety of clients that I have had exposure to, many of whom are household names, within sectors ranging from financial services, utilities and public sector pension schemes.

What’s next for you at Aon?

The next step for me is to continue to build up relationships with my clients, by attending more client meetings and beginning to present agenda items. I have recently moved to a client service manager on some smaller clients, which means I am responsible for organising and managing the client team on a day-to-day basis in order to make sure we deliver on time.

What advice would you give to someone considering applying for the upcoming Aon Graduate or Internship programme?

The best advice I could give to someone considering applying for the Aon Graduate programme is to understand what it is that Aon does. Pensions can be a complex area, but having a basic knowledge of what a pension is and how our role fits in with the pension scheme and the wider investment business will help you to stand out. Also, communication is key to being a consultant and it is important you can demonstrate this.

Alex
University: University of Warwick
Degree: Mathematics, Operational Research, Statistics & Economics
Current job title: Fiduciary Investment Analyst
What attracted you to the Aon Graduate Programme?

Initially I was attracted to the idea of a career in Investment Consulting as I was after a career that would combine technical mathematical problems with economic, market-focused research and client-oriented solutions. As a world leader in the industry, Aon was a natural choice.

The renowned study policy offered at Aon was also particularly appealing to me, as I was sure I wanted the opportunity to gain a professional qualification after I finished university. The study support provided at Aon was and remains second-to-none.

What have you learnt in your time at Aon?

Another benefit is the breadth of resources and knowledge that we have in-house. There are specialist teams in Global Asset Engine (Asset Allocation and Manager Research), Risk Modelling and Delegated Consulting Services. Working with these specialists, as well as the many experienced consultants in the client teams, provides the opportunity to develop deep investment knowledge. The Graduate Programme provides the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in these areas through rotations.Throughout my 18 months at Aon so far, I have learnt the importance of managing my workload at all times. It can be challenging at times, especially when studying for exams whilst trying to establish yourself in your career, but everyone at work has been very supportive. One of the best parts of working at Aon is that there are so many colleagues who have walked the same path in terms of studying for exams, who offer great advice and also understand the importance of building in time to study and to relax outside of work. I would say that Aon place great importance on the benefits of a healthy work-life balance.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I work within a specialist team at Aon called the Delegated Consulting Services team. Instead of working as advisers to pension schemes, our work is based around managing the assets of pension schemes who have delegated certain responsibilities to us, such as asset allocation, governance and investment strategy. A lot of my work revolves around monitoring the investments we have chosen to place these assets into, ensuring that target allocations to each of the asset classes are correct, and also preparing reports on performance for use at quarterly client meetings.

Typically I will also spend some time reading up on recent investment news and ideas in the financial press, or those circulated by some of our specialist teams. It is important for us to be aware of topical issues in the markets as we need to make sure our clients’ portfolios reflect what we believe to be our best investment ideas.

What have you enjoyed most about your Graduate Programme?

The most enjoyable part of the Graduate Programme for me has been the opportunity to rotate around various areas within the business, before deciding which is most suited to me as a career path. This has given me the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in a variety of roles and also to work alongside numerous industry experts. This breadth of experience is highly valued within the firm, as it is something that experienced hires have often missed out on.

What’s next for you at Aon?

In the near term I will continue to study to become a qualified actuary – which I am hoping to do in the next year or two.

One of the most important parts of our job is being a subject matter expert in our chosen area, and working on challenging mathematical problems whilst developing skills to solve complex problems and create solutions for our clients. In the future, I hope to become an expert in my field a and build up my reputation as someone to be relied upon to give professional advice, pitched at the correct level and to a variety of clients.

What advice would you give to someone considering applying for the upcoming Aon Graduate or Internship programme?

I would say that if you are prepared to put in the hard work, a job at Aon can be extremely rewarding. Markets are always changing and the investment industry is constantly evolving, which prevents the work from ever becoming monotonous. However, this does mean you need to be prepared to keep up-to-date with what is going on around you. The exams aren’t easy, but the support provided is great and the professional qualification is something that will stand you in good stead for the remainder of your career.

Once in the job, one piece of advice I would give is to not be afraid to ask questions! You will be working with a lot of bright, friendly people who are more than happy to help. I am still constantly learning from my colleagues, and a lot of this knowledge is extremely helpful as I work my way through the actuarial exams.