A day in the life of a Corporate Analyst for HSBC’s Mid-Market Enterprises

Saajid Patel Saajid Patel graduated from university in 2014 before joining the Executive Trainee Graduate Scheme with HSBC.

Based in Croydon and aged 25, Saajid now works as a Corporate Analyst while studying part-time towards his MSc Banking Practice & Management qualification at The London Institute of Banking & Finance, where he’s also a Student Representative on the Board of Governors.

What time does your alarm go off?

6.30am

When do you usually arrive into the office?

Around 8.30am – depending on whether there’s a train strike that day! It also depends on whether I have any client meetings that morning.

What’s the first thing you do once you arrive?

Wait 10 minutes for my laptop to load, then check to see what credit risks/triggers have been flagged up for the portfolios I manage. These triggers can range from customers being in overdrawn positions to letting us know if there are certain facilities that have not been set up correctly on a customer’s profile.

Describe your typical morning

Generally, after checking for credit risk triggers, the morning will be spent checking emails, diarising and prioritising tasks for the day. It’s also a good time to check in with the other team members and plan co-operative tasks accordingly. If there are any client meetings that morning or afternoon, then there’ll be some preparation involved, such as briefly analysing the latest set of financials and other relevant information.

What happens at lunchtime?

Lunch is normally a working lunch – sandwich at the desk – unless it’s with clients for entertainment or meeting purposes. There are also team lunches for recognition of achievements within the workplace, and for general social catch-ups.

What does a typical afternoon look like?

The role varies so much there’s no such thing as a ‘typical’ afternoon. Some days it can be quite compliance focused due to the changes in the industry, while other days it can be quite customer focused – like when there are complex transactional queries that need investigating. These queries could be related to a customer having an issue with certain fees and charges across multiple accounts they may have with us – the more complex the setup of the customer, the more complex the query becomes.

How do you assess your progress for the day?

Best practice is to try to get into the habit of creating a checklist or to-do list for the day. Without one I would struggle to remember half the things I have to do! Then, as you go through your list, you either check them off or diarise them for future days. It’s helpful to use an email programme for alerts and calendar entries for reminders too.

What’s the best thing about what you do? 

Every day is different and there are many challenges due to that, but the fulfilment and satisfaction you get is definitely worth it. This comes from the clients who appreciate you fixing problems for them by answering their queries or reacting to urgent lending requests and completing it within the customer’s timescales. It also comes from colleagues and managers who appreciate your efforts within the workplace.

Are there any downsides?

Although the industry as a whole is fully geared towards compliance, there is still masses of red tape to go through to get things completed and off your plate – more so due to HSBC being such a large, global organisation with multiple hierarchical layers. It can feel like a drag doing the simplest of things that may require further sign-offs from above before being completed. That, combined with the extensive processes and many systems within HSBC, can be challenging to manage.

What time are you home usually?

Around 7.30pm. It varies depending on the day, but my employer believes in flexible working, which gives employees the chance to agree with their managers adjusted working patterns that lead to a good work/life balance. So if I wanted to I could leave earlier, start later, or work from home if absolutely necessary. Personally I don’t actually have a flexible working arrangement as such, it’s more ad-hoc for me, but many of my colleagues do.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you were leaving university?

That even if you know nothing, your observations and input will be appreciated by the team you are with. I know everyone says it, but there really are never any stupid questions – and usually it’s the simplest questions that experienced individuals sometimes overlook.

What single piece of advice do you have for today’s finance and business graduates?

Keep up with current events, and think about knock-on effects for yourself, your colleagues, your organisation and your clients. It’s training your mind to apply that thinking, which will help you keep one step ahead of any potential challenges.

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