Perhaps one of the most daunting questions one is asked at the brink of adult life is – what do you want to pursue as a career? With abundant opportunities and choices available to students today, it can be quite a challenge to pick a career that offers the right mix of individual interests and labor demands. There are many ways in which students can make this decision – including adhering to the advice of their teachers, or following in their parents’ footsteps.
Sometimes learning-by-doing helps make that choice simpler. Twelve students from the Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies (EIBFS) were the latest to experience what a future job in banking would entail as part of the ‘Banker for a Day’ program.
Launched in 2011, the program has given hundreds of students the opportunity to experience the essentials of a career in banking in just one day, with the aim of encouraging them to opt for a banking job. Open to high school students across the UAE, educational institutions are required to register their students for the program.
“This was a great experience, and one to remember!”, says Maryam Mohammed Younus, a student pursuing a diploma at the institute. “We got to witness first-hand how banks operate, as well as engage with different teams and understand the responsibilities of each job.”
Following an introductory presentation, students took turns trying out different banking tasks that provided them with an overview of the banking industry as well as an opportunity to explore different career paths within the bank.
Muhammed Anas Puthenveetil Anwar, a freshman student, said: “We spent around 30 minutes checking out different responsibilities at the bank – we spoke at length with the tellers and processing specialists, to better understand customer relations and the role of relationship managers. I realized that there are so many departments within a bank. We got to understand the organizational structure in depth and get involved in day to day banking tasks. As a student, it gave me insight in what to expect once I graduate.”
Speaking on the program, Eman Altenaiji, Lead of Student Affairs department, pointed out that the key concern of any educational institution is encouraging the youth to translate abstract theories into working practices. “This program gives our students some insights into the functionality of the finance industry and the professions practiced within it that make banking a rewarding career choice,” she said.
A day at the bank is not all that was in store for students. Aspiring young bankers can also enter an online competition and submit their reflections on the overall experience.
Safa Muayad Rashid Alani, a senior student, said: “I believe the program went beyond the theories learnt in the classroom and I’ve gained some valuable insight into the thought processes of senior leaders in the banking industry.”