Are you a student at an elite UK university? Despite studying at said-elite institution, are you wondering how to differentiate yourself from all your upper-echelon contemporaries? One option is clearly to apply for innumerable banking internships. Another is to get yourself named as one of Fresh Minds’ ‘Ones to Watch.’
Published annually by consultancy group FreshMinds, ‘Ones to Watch’ is a list of 100 names of top students at six top universities in the UK (Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, Warwick, Imperial and the London School of Economics.) The intention is to assemble a list of the best of the best with a view to creating an elite networking group and catalogue of top students in any given year. Students on the list are able to add the accolade to their CVs.
Past ‘Ones’ include Goldman Sachs and UBS bankers and private equity professionals.
65% of the names are typically people who aspire to careers in banking and consulting, says Nic Cater, a candidate manager at FreshMinds talent. Cater says the list is open to students from all degree disciplines, although it tends to be less about liberal arts and more about quantitative subjects. Students are identified with the help of ‘student brand managers’ on campus, who target top students through finance societies and university departments. Selected individuals send their CVs through to FreshMinds, which filters them and interviews candidates. There are typically 10 applicants for every place on the list.
Will being ‘One to Watch’ make much difference to your career? We spoke to one private equity professional who was nominated six years ago. He said it was helpful to begin with, but has lost its charm over time. “I don’t attend their networking events as they seemed a bit bland and they weren’t able to help me with any interesting jobs when I asked.”
Meanwhile, the head of graduate recruitment at one international firm in the City said she hadn’t heard of the Ones to Watch list. “I’d probably look at it if it hit my desk, but I’d be very aware that every other bank would be after that same set of students,” she told us.