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Bradley Gardiner


United Kingdom
Confidence consists of the courage to pursue prospects with fervour, carrying the belief that you can achieve, and the mentality to do so.

More about Bradley

I chose the financial services pathway because it gave me an opportunity and a challenge, two things that I always grasp at firmly with both hands. I saw the prospect of graduating not only with three years of academic work, but also with over a year of work experience. An experience above and beyond a summer vacation scheme, or similar short-term placements that my peers may have on their CV.

The application process was simple and the university facilitated it well. We had great preparatory seminars prior to application, these were delivered to enhance your likelihood of success in the selection process and to teach you more about the opportunity. At key points these seminars included Ed Mosely and Melanie King from the Employability team. They were focused on getting the best out of you, and teaching you skills to utilise later on.

The interview process took the form of an assessment centre within Nottingham Law School (NLS). During the day there was an individual task, a group activity and after lunch, an interview. My advice for this is to arrive early, do the best that you can and be yourself. But remember that until you finish the day and go home you are continually being assessed; no matter the time or place.

Regarding work, my main responsibility at Allianz is my research project, it forms the backbone of my dissertation piece for NLS and will provide a practical benefit to the business. My research project surrounds recoveries, specifically within the context of the casualty department, which consists of employer, public and product liability insurance.

The project is to create a process (taking into account business operation and ability as well as policy contracts and the wider law) whereby the identification, classification, recording and recovery of sums is idyllic. It is envisioned that this will return to the company millions per year post implementation, just within casualty. With an ongoing ability to adapt the process, or part of it, to assist other departments with their recoveries in the future.

Other than that, I analyse financial and system data to create reports which I then present back to management. These reports cross varying topics, and their desired and realised outcome is almost always one entailing recommendations to improve the way the business operates. In addition to this I have completed other, smaller tasks, such as the auditing of laws firm on our legal panel, and presenting at company events.

I have often said to my friends, family, colleagues and tutors that I don’t believe I would have accomplished as much, or achieved better grades without this placement. Working full-time and not having much time to study seems intimidating, however you learn when you are at work. You absorb more than you think and so when you study, you find that you understand or know the material already, either in part or in its entirety.

My studies, especially the ‘Applied Law for Financial Services’ module assisted me with learning the language of the financial services industry. Without this, especially the study week prior to the commencement of my role at Allianz, I would have been lost. Additionally, I have been able to utilise my prior legal knowledge within Allianz, applying it to scenarios that I observe, to better understand them and to view them at a deeper level.

I completed the half-year pathway in year two, and spent the second half of my year within the Legal Advice Centre. That environment provided me with foundation skills that I have worked upon since I moved into my position at Allianz. I also gained good knowledge of practical interactions with clients and actual application of the law from the pro bono case I worked on.

Within my placement I am most enjoying life in a new environment, getting to meet new people, do new things, explore new options and experience new cities through travel for work. If you had asked me what I expected to be doing at university in my final year, it wouldn’t have been anything near full-time work. Nor organising companywide conferences or meeting vast amounts of friendly, focused and intelligent people. I have made friends, connections for life and I have grown both professionally and personally an indescribable amount. But most importantly, I have enjoyed every second of it.

As a result of this placement I believe that my confidence has developed exponentially, one reason amongst many others is that I have been thrown in at the deep end numerous times this year. Rising to the challenge each time, and learning from every experience.

I have changed so much since last September and I now believe that confidence is the key to future success. Confidence consists of the courage to pursue prospects with fervour, carrying the belief that you can achieve, and the mentality to do so. It is most definitely one personal attribute that I won’t ever forget.

On a final note, my advice to all future applicants for the pathway is to do your best, be yourself and never shy away from a challenge or an opportunity; just go for it. Because if you fail, then you learn and if you succeed, then you are in a better position than the one you started in.

Going forwards, I will be starting my LLM Legal Practice Course this September and afterwards take up a training contract with a law firm. I am excited to further develop my legal knowledge and professional skills, as I have now cultivated a greater interest in corporate and finance specific legal practice areas.

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