Meet our people

Abbie McCulloch
Programme - Accountancy

Degree: International Business with Finance

How would you describe our culture?

The culture is warm, welcoming and friendly.  So far, building relationships has formed a key part of my experience which has made me feel included and valued in the team.

What has been your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge since joining the team has been balancing my tasks in work alongside my course work for the ICAS qualification. To overcome this, I have got involved with as much as possible in the office so I am still getting the relevant experience I need despite spending a lot of time out of the office.

What are you most proud of?

I am proud that I have been able to pick up an extensive amount of knowledge relating to the ICAS qualification despite having no existing background in accountancy.  I am proud of this because alongside starting a new job, studying for a qualification can seem daunting!

What has been the biggest surprise since joining?

I am pleasantly surprised at how much responsibility I have been given in just the few weeks I have been in the team. For example, I have been assigned to help with regulatory reports that are very important to the company which is great because it shows my team trust me to take on this responsibility.

What support have you had?

Everyone in the team has supported me fully by approaching me to walk me through tasks that I am new to and making sure I understand how to complete them.

How would you describe our benefits?

So far I have found the benefits to be fantastic and for me, they are really attractive. For example, I am already looking to take advantage of the gym subsidisation which is a great benefit for me because it encourages me to be more active and take up the gym as a hobby.

What advice would you give to someone applying to join us?

I would say that through the entire application process it is important to always be yourself because thanks to the warm and friendly culture, no one expects you to perform like a robot! Instead, being able to build relationships and show strong values goes a long way.

Describe your experience in three words!

  • Challenging
  • Rewarding
  • Welcoming
Keval Dattani
Keval Dattani
Programme - Investments

Degree - Economics, Politics and International Studies

Describe your experience in three words!

Enjoyable, challenging and unique

How would you describe our culture?

The culture at is unlike any other firm I’ve experienced – everyone in the company is so down to earth and willing to help with any or problems you may have. There are always people socialising after work and having fun in the office too.

It’s genuinely the best working culture I’ve ever experienced.

What are you most proud of?

During my intern programme I undertook a project that consolidated the fees being paid by my team to other fund houses on investments. It was wide ranging and gave me a lot of responsibility, including the opportunity to present it to senior management.

The feedback I received was really helpful and positive and I really enjoyed the project too.

What has been the biggest surprise since joining?

How ‘normal’ everyone is. For want of a better term, everyone in the office is so genuine and ‘normal’. They have families, friends and hobbies and they want to talk to you about them. It creates such an amazing working environment and that really surprised me when I joined.

What support have you had?

Everyone in the company is down to earth which allows you to get to know very senior people quite easily. This wouldn’t be possible without everyone being so willing to help answer questions and give advice, which is brilliant for someone in the early stages of their career. It means that you can ask anyone on your team, no matter how senior, for help with even the smallest problem and that creates a really supportive environment.

How would you describe our benefits?

The factor that separates us from other firms in the industry is the culture.

The workplace benefits are brilliant (as you’d expect) but the culture and the people are incomparable. The support you receive with work, qualifications and anything else is exactly what you need when starting your career (except that continues throughout the rest of your time at the company, not just on the graduate scheme).

What advice would you give to someone applying to join us?

Do your research. The company has many investment desks, many clients and many products. Make sure you can tell your interviewer you know what we do here, you know why we do it and you know what our values are. But most importantly, show them that you have the right character and share in our values – for that, you simply have to be yourself.

Alex Crossley
Alex Crossley
Programme - Technology

Degree – BSc. (Hons) Computing Science

What has been your biggest challenge?

For each of my rotations I have had to learn new skills, gain new knowledge and complete tasks alien to me.  This has been one of the best aspects of my graduate scheme; due to this sometimes seemingly insurmountable challenge I have had to thrive under pressure, leading me to learn and improve a vast range of skills.

I have had to manage my own projects, complete highly technical work and gain experience with technologies at the bleeding edge of their field. All the while, having the full support of a wide range of mentors and managers to help me if I ever needed it.

For example, my time with the Data Science team has been fascinating; I have enjoyed both the work and the fact that the tools that I use are cutting edge technology. It would be not be the same without a brilliant team who have a very collaborative approach.

What are you most proud of?

During my third rotation I was handed the reins to my own project – rolling out Global Desktop to the Aberdeen offices following on from the merger. During my four months working on this, I managed to migrate every potential candidate, rebuild the vast majority of computers to the newest image available and build a stock of spare machines in case of any issues. During this, I provided regular updates to the stakeholders and took any feedback on board.

As a whole however, I am most proud of my proven versatility; I have managed to adapt and overcome any challenge thrown at me during this scheme.

How would you describe our culture?

Open, friendly, supportive, interested in you.

It first struck me when I began my internship, how open and approachable everyone in the office was. My first rotation on the graduate scheme was based in London and I was surrounded by fairly senior members of staff, but any worries about this were instantly wiped away due to their warm welcome. From my very first day it was instilled in me that if someone was available, I could approach them and ask them any question I needed answering.

What has been the biggest surprise since joining?

The variety of the work I have been involved with. At University, I did a large amount of programming and software development, sometimes to the detriment of other important fields of technology. So when I began my graduate scheme, it came as a pleasant surprise to be able to get fully immersed in a number of different fields of my choosing. I have gained invaluable experience in Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Technology, Project Management, Deskside Support and Data Analytics.

I had assumed that I would not have that much control over my rotations however, apart from my initial rotation, I have had.

What support have you had?

Throughout my time here I have had support from a number of members of the HR team, a senior mentor and my line managers during each and every rotation. I have been fortunate enough to have a great support structure surrounding me. Each of my line managers have taken on an informal mentor position, they have shown a genuine interest in developing my skills and knowledge further, and have given me ample time in the form of weekly catch ups and one to one sessions.

How would you describe our benefits?

To put it simply, they are brilliant. Whilst I am working here I do not need to worry about my future, my pension is essentially sorted and the private healthcare offered by work is fantastic. Also, a cheaper phone contract is always welcome!

What advice would you give to someone applying to join us?

Be yourself, get your personality across and most importantly be passionate about your experiences so far, tell a story of what you have done. People are much more likely to remember you if, instead of reciting dry facts repeated by every other candidate, you tell a story… just make it interesting! Some topics are difficult to make interesting (such as my dissertation!) but if you are passionate about it, it becomes much easier.

It’s important not to get too worried; the people on both sides of the desk are just that, people. If you feel yourself unravelling, just take a second to collect your thoughts and continue. The interviewers will understand. You are just beginning your career, no one expects you to be amazing at interviews - practice makes perfect.

Describe your experience in three words!

  • Fascinating
  • Educational
  • Supportive
Alice Adcock
Alice Adcock
Programme - Marketing

Degree - History

What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of the growth and development of my skills, knowledge and confidence.
Throughout my time on the marketing graduate scheme, I have had the opportunity to work across a wide variety of teams, right across the business. I’ve worked in Standard Life’s customer marketing team, looking at the customer marketing strategy as well as in the digital team working on our online offering to customers.

I’ve also worked in 1825, in the Financial Advice marketing team and I’m currently working in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Sponsorship team. Working in a variety of teams across the business has given me the opportunity to gain experience in different marketing disciplines and how to adapt messaging and approaches for different target audiences. This has been beneficial to the development of my skills, knowledge and experience, as well as built up my network of contacts across the business.

How would you describe our culture?

The culture is at Standard Life Aberdeen is fairly relaxed and friendly for a company in the financial services industry. Your development, experiences and overall wellbeing is an important factor to everyone in the business.

What has been the biggest surprise since joining?

The biggest surprise for me since joining Standard Life Aberdeen is the number opportunities available for progression within the company. There are lots opportunities on the marketing graduate scheme to get involved in a wide variety of activity and develop your skills and experience in many different areas. There are also opportunities to get involved in additional training or more formal qualifications.

What support have you had?

There’s a network of support available to you as a graduate from your placement manager, your line manager, a buddy who’s a graduate a year ahead of you, as well as your fellow graduates. But you’re not limited to this network; from my experience everyone in the business will offer support and guidance where you need it.

How would you describe our benefits?

There’s a wide variety of benefits on offer at Standard Life Aberdeen ranging from gym discounts, discounted activities such as cinema tickets as well as some help with funding qualifications and study leave.

What advice would you give to someone applying to join us?

Showcase who you are as a person, as well as what you can bring to the role. You don’t necessarily need a background in financial services for every role just an interest in the industry and ambition to learn. The classic “just be yourself” is cheesy but true!

Describe your experience in three words!

  • Unique
  • Challenging
  • Rewarding
Jack Firth
Jack Firth
Programme - Investments

Degree - Aeronautical Engineering

What support have you had?

As well as the company supporting me in my development, I have had an amazing stream manager who has always had my best interests at heart and been there whenever I had any problems.

The graduate network has and continues to be a fantastic source of support, knowledge and friendship. I have also had a Young Persona Development Network (YPDN) mentor who has been a great independent sounding board if I wanted to get a different view on things.

How would you describe our culture?

High calibre, diverse and encouraging.

What are you most proud of?

Transitioning into asset management was a very steep learning curve; I had no experience of investment management prior to joining the firm but I have learnt a huge amount about the company and the industry through on the job learning and through study.

I am very proud of the amount I have learned and of completing the IMC and CFA Level I and II exams.

What has been the biggest surprise since joining?

How interesting I found the financial markets and the work I was doing! Coming from an engineering background the technical side of investments has been fascinated, and I am learning more every day!

How would you describe our benefits?

Good. I really value the emphasis on pension contributions when I started the company and also the ability to work flexibility.

What advice would you give to someone applying to join us?

Be yourself, understand your skills and what makes you special. Know what you want out of a work culture, this is just as important as getting the job itself.

Describe your experience in three words!

  • Exciting
  • Varied
  • Challenging
Catriona Rolland
Programme – Human Resources

Degree – Human Resource Management and Marketing

What support have you had?

I’ve had really great support from the other graduates in my cohort. It’s helpful to have a ready-made network across the business as soon as you join and to share the highs and lows with others who are going through the same experience.

I’ve also really appreciated the support offered by those who completed the graduate scheme several years ago and are further into their career who have offered career advice and shared their journey. Finally, I have really valued the support I received from my Streamhead who has act as a buffer between me and the business and has always championed my personal development and wellbeing.

What has been your biggest challenge?

I had no knowledge or experience of the financial services sector and so I would say my biggest challenge was understanding the world of asset management, coupled with keeping up with the pace of change within our business.

What are you most proud of?

In my last placement I worked with the Early Careers team to on-board the new graduates which included hosting a welcome event. Standing up at that event to represent our company to a new cohort of graduates was a proud moment for me, and allowed me to reflect on how much I had learned since being in their place only a year previously.

What has been the biggest surprise since joining?

The level of responsibility that is given to new graduates. I remember reading about the merger in the news in the months before I joined. Knowing that I was joining the HR function, many of my friends and family joked that I would be coming in to implement the new structure. Little did I know, within my first week I would be supporting the HR business partners to prepare business cases on the new operating model for our front office teams.

How would you describe our benefits?

Very competitive in terms of the total reward package. The quality of life that you can enjoy in Edinburgh is far superior to anywhere else in the UK.

The pension provision is excellent and gives me security that I’m saving for the future from the beginning of my career.

There are lots of local discounts at restaurants and bars which is nice when going out with colleagues for a drink after work.

What advice would you give to someone applying to join us?

Do your research and ask as many questions as you can.

Don’t be intimidated by our industry or brand or the complexity of our business.

Be yourself throughout the recruitment process because that’s who you’ll be when you’re working!

How would you describe our culture?

Professional, sociable, diverse

Describe your experience in three words!

  • Fast-paced
  • Diverse
  • Self-directed
Sylva Tran
Sylva Tran
Programme - Investments

Degree - Economics with Politics

What has been the biggest surprise since joining?

The biggest surprise has been the amount of responsibility that I’ve been given. I get to work independently on research notes and meet the senior management of the companies that we invest in and then feedback my investment recommendations to the team.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of how far I’ve come since beginning my internship. I didn’t know much about investing or many people in the business. But by the end of the graduate scheme, I can say that the experience has given me the confidence to form investment conclusions and discuss it with portfolio managers as well as collaborate with people across the business.

How would you describe our culture?

The culture is very inclusive, supportive and easy to learn from senior and experienced people.

What has been your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge has been the rotational scheme as I work in a different team in Fixed Income every four months. It has been challenging to settle down in a team but at the same time, the rotational scheme has allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and build a strong network across the business.

What advice would you give to someone applying to join us?

If you’re looking for an inclusive, supportive but also challenging work place then this is the right place for you!

Describe your experience in three words!

  • Stimulating
  • Fast-paced
  • Educational
Jake Wight
Jake Wight
Programme - Global Product

Degree - BSc Financial Mathematics

How would you describe our culture?

I have found the culture at Standard Life Aberdeen to be highly inclusive, colleagues from across the business from junior to senior levels are approachable and welcoming on every occasion enabling graduates to learn and gain insight from such experienced minds of knowledge.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the opportunities that have been presented to me to become involved in high profile projects that have a huge impact on the future of Standard Life Aberdeen, you feel like you are making such a large difference to the direction of the organisation.

What has been your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge for me personally is getting up to speed and taking on the extensive amounts of responsibility that is given to you. It can seem daunting at first but is an invaluable aspect of the programme!

What has been the biggest surprise since joining?

My biggest surprise since joining has been the flexibility and the investment in the graduate programme.
You are encouraged to drive your own future career path and have senior members of the business looking out for you along the way offering their advice and career experience.

What support have you had?

Since joining the programme I have had support both inside and outside my role, from the opportunities to earn sponsored professional qualifications to support from senior leaders in my business division on my future career aspirations.

How would you describe our benefits?

The benefits package at Standard Life Aberdeen is extremely generous with competitive financial and health offerings, including gym subsidies to encourage healthy living and a positive work-life balance. The sponsorship of highly beneficial professional qualifications and study leave provide an opportunity to shape and advance your career further.

What advice would you give to someone applying to join us?

We don’t expect you to know everything! A strong enthusiasm to learn and contribution of your own opinions is the key to success on our early career programmes.

Describe your experience in three words!

  • Rewarding
  • Challenging
  • Supportive
Kate McGrath
Programme - Risk

Degree - Geography BSc

How would you describe our culture?

The culture at is one of the main reasons why I returned as a graduate after undertaking an internship the previous summer. From my experience, during the working day I can be myself and my opinion is listened to and valued.

Although the work can be challenging, I have an excellent support system and I am yet to meet a colleague who is anything other than pleased to answer my questions, no matter how small.

A healthy work-life balance is fundamental to the culture; team meals, departmental drinks and graduate events are greatly encouraged and help create a sense of community as well as providing networking opportunities.

What has been your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge has been understanding how different teams fit into the business and then how we fit into the wider economy.

With a background in Geography, my knowledge of the financial services was exceptionally limited when I joined the company as a summer intern. However, my manager helped me set up numerous meeting with people from different parts of the business from the front office to operations.

Furthermore, I have been encouraged to attend a variety of courses in asset management to understand the global financial system.
Now that I am growing in confidence, Standard Life Aberdeen are willing to sponsor me to undertake a professional qualification which I am sure will challenge me further.

What has been the biggest surprise since joining?

I have been surprised at how easily I have adjusted to working life. The nature of the work itself is not too dissimilar to university in terms of time management and independence. Although the hours are different, I certainly enjoy leaving the office at 5pm and not having to think about work until the next morning!

What support have you had?

I have a very extensive support network. For general questions I have my placement stream head who sets up regular meeting with me and helps track my longer term goals. Also, my graduate buddy is there for a more informal chat and for advice about the scheme.

My team are very supportive in terms of help with placement specific queries. Lastly, I have the graduate network, the training sessions at the beginning of our graduate program were integral to creating a graduate community. Not only has this formed a company wide network system, but we often meet up informally and support each other in social ways as well!

What advice would you give to someone applying to join us?

If you’re looking for a graduate scheme, certainly consider us.

One of the draws is the location, not only is the cost of living is much less in Edinburgh much less than London, but Edinburgh is a beautiful and relaxed city- I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to work and live here.

If you wish to understand how an investment firm operates and have a breadth of future job opportunities, it’s is a great place to undertake a graduate scheme.

Describe your experience in three words!

  • Learning-curve
  • Engaging
  • Social
Michael Corr
Michael Corr
Programme - Legal

Degree – Law LLB, Diploma in Professional Legal Practice

How would you describe our culture?

My experience of the company has been of a supportive and collaborative culture within an ambitious business which is preparing itself for the future. Standard Life Aberdeen has undertaken two major corporate actions (the merger between Standard Life plc and Aberdeen Asset Management plc & the divestment of the group’s pensions and savings business to Phoenix Group Holdings Limited) within the last two years in order to future-proof its business and build a world class investment company.

On a personal level, I completed my legal traineeship in-house with Standard Life Aberdeen Legal and had the opportunity to gain experience of private practice at a leading Scottish commercial law firm via a secondment. I have always been well supported by my colleagues and the company. I feel that by undertaking my training with Standard Life Aberdeen I feel invested in the business and its future.

What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of being afforded the opportunity to get involved in major projects and contracts on behalf of the Standard Life Aberdeen group. As a junior lawyer, I have been given responsibility to work on the negotiation of major sponsorship contracts, including our sponsorship of the Ryder Cup, and major strategic projects, such as the sale of the pensions and savings business to Phoenix.

Being trusted by my colleagues to take on and play my part in completing significant pieces of work for the group has been great for building my confidence early in my career and has been excellent development as a legal professional.

What has been the biggest surprise since joining?

On a personal level, the biggest surprise I have encountered has been the range of work that comes across my desk in the legal team and my exposure to clients. I can be negotiating a general supplier contract one minute to providing advice on a competition law query the next. The ability for my business colleagues to simply drop by my desk and informally ask me a question about a particular matter is peculiar to in-house legal teams and is surprising in comparison to more formal client instructions in private practice.

What support have you had?

As a graduate trainee, I joined the company with a large cohort of young professionals covering a range of different sectors from accountancy and actuarial to business operations and investment management. The graduate scheme was an excellent opportunity to share knowledge and experience and to become friends with individuals from completely different backgrounds with different life experiences. Having this group of new colleagues in the business, who are also still finding their feet in the company at the same time as you, is reassuring and supportive during the early stages of your career.

On a team level, I’ve had excellent support from my colleagues in Standard Life Aberdeen Legal. They have encouraged me to get involved and to develop good working relationships with our colleagues in the business. Building such relationships is essential towards becoming a trusted adviser.

What advice would you give to someone applying to join us?

Do your due diligence and prepare thoroughly. Try to find out: (i) what the company does; (ii) how it generates turnover; and (iii) what the future risks and opportunities for the company are. Financial services is a fast paced and ever changing sector and it’s exciting to help the business grow from a new project perspective and to provide advice to the business on their on-going functions. In any interviews demonstrate why you are the best candidate for the role and explain why you want to work at a world class investment company.

Describe your experience in three words!

  • Challenging
  • Rewarding
  • Growth
Liam Chornogubsky
Liam Chornogubsky
Programme - Human Resources

Degree - Psychology

How would you describe our culture?

Our culture is evolving into something greater.

If I had to define our culture based on what I’ve experienced so far, I would describe it as collaborative, trusting, and forward-thinking. I have already witnessed how supportive colleagues are in supporting one another when needed, and everyone is trusted to deliver what matters while pushing themselves to be better.

What has been your biggest challenge?

In our team, the style of working is very collaborative, with regular feedback on all pieces of work and stakeholder management and engagement being key. This challenge is rewarding in that it’s teaching me how to be more flexible in how I work, and that there is no one ‘ideal’ style of working.

What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of my work being published on our Global Inclusion SharePoint site, visible to all Standard Life Aberdeen employees, after only two weeks in the team.

This proves just how much responsibility you are given from day one on the scheme, becoming a trusted and actively contributing member of the team within such a short period of time. This leads to me feeling valued, and actually ‘needed’, which is a great feeling when you’re experiencing the inevitable self-doubt as you make the transition from study to work.

What has been the biggest surprise since joining?

The biggest surprise since joining Standard Life Aberdeen has been just how supportive all colleagues are in such a large and dynamic business.
No matter if the colleague is in my team, function or a completely different business area, they’ve always made time to provide help, or even just a catch-up, if needed. This is invaluable when starting out in the company and needing that extra bit of support, as well as building up a strong professional network.

What support have you had?

I’ve been given great support so far from my manager setting up weekly 1:1 catch-ups and monthly development discussions, the Global Head of D&I in my team also setting up regular development discussions, and the Early Careers team highlighting frequent development opportunities. This establishes that a strong support network, and clear access to regular development opportunities, is integral to the early careers experience at our company.

How would you describe our benefits?

There are the remuneration-related benefits of an extremely competitive pension scheme, share schemes, and so many discounts available at gyms and restaurants.

But above and beyond that, there are the development-related benefits including frequent networking opportunities with senior leaders in Standard Life Aberdeen, as well as colleagues across our business. Moreover, there are regular round-table discussions and workshops that further your business understanding and leadership skills.

What advice would you give to someone applying to join us?

The best advice I could give to someone applying is to be honest. You need to make sure that the company is right for you, as well as you being right for the company.

If your values align with those of Standard Life Aberdeen, you’ll find a very challenging, but extremely rewarding opportunity here to make your mark in helping us realise our vision of becoming a world class investments company.

Describe your experience in three words!

  • Exciting
  • Challenging
  • Rewarding
Nikita Desai
Nikita Desai
Programme - Product

Degree - BSc (Hons) Genetics

How would you describe our culture?

We combine the warmth and inclusion of the Scottish heritage with the experience and innovation of a world class asset manager. There is a constant drive to improve and support their talent and the company, in order to invest in a better future.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Being early in my career, the adjustment into working life took some time. Learning the tricks to efficient work prioritisation, organisation and even work-life balance was a challenge. However with practise and effective guidance, you get the hang of it!

What are you most proud of?

Innovation is at the forefront of what my team does, and I am proud of an initiative I’m helping to drive focusing on millennial investors and their unique demands. Being able to organise a global event connecting young people is something I am passionate about. I am also proud of the learning and qualifications that I’ve progressed in my time at the company.

What support have you had?

As a graduate, I have been fortunate to have a vast support network: a graduate manager, placement managers, mentors, buddies and a graduate peer network. This support at all levels means that I have someone to turn to for career planning, day-to-day questions, general education and social networks.

How would you describe our benefits?

We offer a wide range of benefits, which you can pick and choose to your preference. These can include ways to help you save for the future, various types of insurance, and discounts for exercise, social and sporting activities.

What advice would you give to someone applying to join us?

Don’t worry about your level of experience, degree or background. Just come in with a good attitude and a thirst to learn about the industry. Keep an open mind about where your career might lead within the company and industry, and take advantage of the development and qualification opportunities available within the company.

Describe your experience in three words!

  • Engaging
  • Challenging
  • Inspiring
Stewart Kinghorn
Stewart Kinghorn
Programme - Accountancy

Degree - Accounting and Finance

What are you most proud of?

My proudest achievement so far at Standard Life Aberdeen was passing my final ICAS exam. After four years studying at university and a further three years of ICAS exams I was very proud to become an exam qualified accountant.

How would you describe our culture?

The culture at Standard Life Aberdeen is very supportive; having worked in a number of different business areas throughout the group I have always found that people are willing to help if you need their expertise or advice.

I also like to think that we are receptive to change at Standard Life Aberdeen, if you have a new idea or a better way of doing something then people are eager to hear you out.

What has been the biggest surprise since joining?

One of the things that surprised me the most about Standard Life Aberdeen was the amount of opportunities there are available to graduates and just how much real responsibility I have been given. Since joining Standard Life Aberdeen I have been able to take ownership of a number of key tasks and projects with the responsibility of delivering them to a high standard.  Although at times this can be challenging I believe it has been paramount in my development to date.

What support have you had?

As I mentioned above there is a very supportive culture throughout Standard Life Aberdeen. Since joining the company I have had support from a variety of sources including my graduate peer group, my secondment managers and my mentor.

Particularly on the Accountancy graduate scheme there is an abundance of support. When it came to exams I was always given a good amount of study leave and my mentor or line manager would check in with me after I received a mock or exam result.

I have also found that senior people throughout the company are often willing to take time out to give me advice and support where I have needed it. Building these relationships has been one of the most useful and enjoyable opportunities presented to me by the graduate scheme.

What advice would you give to someone applying to join us?

My one piece of advice to someone who is applying to join Standard Life Aberdeen would be to make sure and be thorough in your research of the company and the industries in which we operate. Not only will this allow you perform better throughout the selection process but it will give you an insight into the wide range of opportunities there are for you here at Standard Life Aberdeen.

Describe your experience in three words!

  • Challenging
  • Rewarding
  • Enjoyable
Ugne Pakalniskyte
Ugne Pakalniskyte
Programme - Distribution

Degree - Accounting and Finance

How would you describe our culture?

During my internship and now having started the graduate programme, I have found that people within all business areas are there to support you in both your personal and professional development, and are always happy to share their insights as well as knowledge on how to best navigate the industry.  As a new starter, you feel included in shaping the strategic direction of the company from day one as the business encourages a culture where your ideas and work are highly valued.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Finding your feet in the first couple of days of joining can be an overwhelming experience but resilience is your best friend. Not only has it helped me multiple times throughout my time here to date, it’s a quality the firm is keen to see in their graduates (so make sure you show that during the application process!)

What are you most proud of?

I’m proud and happy to be at the firm today (cliché, I know!) but it’s the truth. Opportunities like this do not come every day and so I am extremely grateful to have been given the chance to grow and develop at a firm as big and recognised as ours.

What has been the biggest surprise since joining?

In a period of such significant changes, the business remained focused on keeping the things that work well and that matter to the firm as they were which is a refreshing direction to see the business take in the highly consolidated industry that we operate in.

What support have you had?

What I like is that support is always readily available if required but equally to how the development of graduates is managed, neither are forced onto us in the so called ‘spoon-fed’ manner. What that means is that graduates are given real ownership of the direction of their personal and professional development.

How would you describe our benefits?

The graduate benefit package offered speaks heaps about the culture of the firm itself: we encourage graduates to take advantage of the support available to gain professional qualifications such as IMC and CFA as well as actively promote a great work-life balance.

What advice would you give to someone applying to join us?

May sound simple but do your research, speak to as many people from the business as you can and try to start building your network prior to applying for an internship. These simple yet effective ways to get a head start are often over-looked but when done properly, can be your golden ticket to join the firm.

Describe your experience in three words!

Never standing still!

Carmen Olds
Carmen Olds
Programme – Investments

Degree - Economics

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of having been able to balance my responsibilities at work with my studies and having passed the level I and level II exams of the CFA programme in the last year.

What has been the biggest surprise since joining?

What has surprised me the most has definitely been the culture.  The company doesn’t feel as big as it actually is because all teams work very closely together, regardless of their geographical location.

How would you describe our culture?

The culture is all about teamwork. I have now worked in five different teams across the business and teamwork has been central to all of them.

What has been your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge has been dealing with constant change, that said, it is also one of the aspects of the programme I value most.

Rotating  teams means having to adapt to changing locations and team dynamics. While core values are common to all areas of the business, every team values different skillsets and follows different operating models. As a graduate analyst, the faster you adapt, the more you can take away from each experience.

What support have you had?

From the moment of joining the company as a graduate analyst you get great support and career development opportunities. For instance, I have received a lot of support in deciding my rotations in order to ensure alignment with my areas of interest but also coherence between rotations.

I have also been encouraged to work towards qualifications like the IMC and the CFA, and have been supported every step of the way so far.

Describe your experience in three words!

  • Dynamic
  • Enriching
  • Sociable
Erin Smith
Erin Smith
Programme - Distribution

Degree - Spanish and International Business

Describe your experience in three words!

  • Dynamic
  • Diverse
  • Exciting

What advice would you give to someone applying to join us?

Don’t be scared about not knowing where you want to end up. The beauty of the programme allows you to see and experience areas of the business you may not previously have known existed which you may grow to love.

Be yourself – it’s equally important that you fit with the firm  as well as the firm fits with your aspirations and expectations. Everyone here is extremely friendly, very welcoming and open to getting to know each other in both a more formal office environment and - equally as important - socially.

How would you describe our culture?

We have a very open culture and they strongly supporting work-life balance. It still amazes me how flat the structure is which feeds into the collaborative and supportive nature of the firm and allows people who are still early in their career to work with those at senior leadership level.
What has been the biggest surprise since joining?

Everyone has a different story to tell. You come into contact with people from a whole range of disciplines. This provides very different perspectives – you have a range of people who studied a broad spectrum  of degrees and have therefore learnt a huge variety of different ways of approaching something.

This provides a very interesting environment to work in and means you are continually learning from a breadth of people from so many different backgrounds.

What support have you had?

As you go through the programme, your training needs are monitored and as you speak with your rotation manager and HR, they look at how they can help you develop in the best way possible. There is a wealth of opportunity to further your education through professional exams and the company is there to support you every step of the way whether it be sending you on training courses, providing you with study materials, there are lots of online courses available and ‘lunch & learn’ sessions.

How would you describe our benefits?

Through the rotational programme, you get to meet a lot of different people as you change desks allowing you to build up a strong internal network across the business and have a core understanding of many of the business areas and their interaction with subsequent divisions contributing to the success of the organisation.

In addition to meeting people, you are able to see the business from multiple perspectives and gain a concrete understanding of how the business functions day-to-day and what successes/failures that contribute to this.

Tom Pickersgill
Tom Pickersgill
Programme - Investments

Degree - Chemical Engineering

How would you describe our culture?

We are highly teamwork oriented and collaborative environment, with long term value being delivered by teams as opposed to star names. The company treats the employees as people as opposed to numbers, with a generous benefits package and support both in and out of the workplace.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Adapting to any large organisation is a challenge when have just left from university. In addition to the technical side of the workplace time must be spent building professional relationships, learning to use new systems, and understanding how the business operates from a bureaucratic and regulatory standpoint. Fortunately, the support given by HR when joining has greatly eased the transition into working life.

What are you most proud of?

I have been treated as a core part of each of the teams I have seconded to on my graduate rotations, with my work being valued and used as part of the investment process. The teams have afforded me autonomy to focus on where I think I can add the greatest value. For example, the time I had to focus on my own projects allowed me to optimise one of our main quant processes, leading to significant size and efficiency savings for the whole team.

What has been the biggest surprise since joining?

The respect which has been given to me despite being a graduate. Graduates are seen as valuable cogs in the investment teams, and are treated as such.

How would you describe our benefits?

The benefits are extremely attractive, with the additional company contributions to my pension second to none. In addition to this there are generous benefits such as private healthcare, gym subsidies and cycle to work schemes.

What advice would you give to someone applying to join us?

Don’t be afraid to speak up and speak your mind, all employees and opinions are taken seriously. We will give you the platform and opportunity to present the best version of yourself and produce your best work, you just have to take it.

Describe your experience in three words!

  • Collaborative
  • Dynamic
  • Welcoming
Yashaswini Dunga
Yashaswini Dunga
Programme - Investments

Degree - International Economics

How would you describe our culture?

We have a culture of a growing company, which is looking for new talent and wants to invest in building new skills and expanding. People value in depth knowledge and a commitment to building rigor.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Working in collaboration with senior colleagues and being able to effectively communicate about the balance of graduate responsibilities as well building your own personal profile about the kind of work you would like to be known for.

What are you most proud of?

Working with a team that aims to develop a platform of independent research at a time when the market is already flooded with news and analysis every day.

What has been the biggest surprise since joining?

The responsibilities you get even as a graduate are relevant for the company. The role is only as rewarding as you want to make it.

What support have you had?

My manager has been supportive in guiding me in my analytical tasks and developing projects. The graduates I joined with have also provided support and camaraderie in the workplace.

What advice would you give to someone applying to join us?

To be willing to develop skills that you suit the needs of a growing company and be willing to take initiative.

Describe your experience in three words!

Challenging

Exciting

Expansive

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