Taking a year out with no experience?


I’m in my penultimate year of an integrated masters course in maths with no experience at the moment. I’ve hated university for quite a while now, and I’ve had enough, and am strongly considering graduating this semester (with a BSc).
I’ve only recently (in the last 4 months) settled on what I want to do with my career, and so far I’ve not had much in the of luck with my applications. I got to the final stages with a few companies but fell short there. If I were to take a year out, what could I do to get relevant experience in the financial sector?
Right now my plan is too go full time in my current retail job and take the management promotion that’s been offered to me, but thats clearly not going to be enough. So in the case that I can’t get an internship for this summer, I’d be looking for voluntary work that I can do alongside this throughout summer and the year, any suggestions?


Hi there,

Firstly, I should say that if you managed to get to the final stages with a few companies you are definitely doing the right thing and doing well!

I think graduating with a BSc wouldn’t be a bad thing at all. I did Maths also and had the opportunity to do a masters course and decided not to take it. I still managed to secure a graduate scheme within the Big4. If you’re not enjoying it then don’t feel pressured! From experience, there are equal options regardless. I’m not sure if you’re looking towards professional services or banking… but if you’re thinking professional services you will most probably work towards the ACA? Once you have completed that it really won’t matter if you have a masters or not.

Secondly, I also took a gap year after university before starting the grad scheme. I just travelled around for a year and didn’t get any “work” experience at all. Its good that you’re considering work experience although be aware that employers definitely hold value with those that take time out and do the things they enjoy! Employers appreciate how hard you work at university and it is completely normal to take some time before delving back in to work. Taking that in to account, you should continue to keep on top of what is happening in the market and industry so you are able to talk about it and show you are still interested.

The main thing here is to be able to justify and explain your decisions in a mature way during interview.

Of course, if you are staying home and working its never bad to do some work experience and keep on top of your game. Again, I’m not sure whether you are looking towards professional services or banking… but a few ideas:

  • Aim to target the smaller firms. Directly email small funds, PE firms, hedge funds, accountancy firms (even individual consultants) - whatever is relevant and ask them if they would fancy help from a Maths grad for a week. If you email 50 places you are bound to get 1!
  • If this fails aim a little higher and contact more senior people on linked in. Think about where you want to be in 10 years and message this person. Ask them if you can shadow them for a couple of days. Lots of senior people are becoming mentors and would be happy to show you around and give you a few tips.
  • Contact directly some mid-level people at the firms that you almost got in to! Ask them for a coffee. People have done this to me and I was more than happy to help. Ask them what you can do for next time and keep in touch with them! This could be the difference for next time :slight_smile:

Hope this helps! Good luck!