Aaron – My Technology Sales Story

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By: Aaron O'Malley

I’ve always been interested in the workings of the capital market industry, so before going into final year I realised I needed a placement experience that would educate me on the fundamentals of life working within the Finance industry. Being local to Newry I knew First Derivatives would be the ideal company to start my career with.

During induction, it didn’t take long to understand the calibre of people working within FD and the reputation we have amongst global graduates. The initial training was challenging yet very rewarding along with quality mentorship from senior members of the team who took pleasure in showing me the tricks of the trade. With my main accounts being in London, I was buddied up with Phil Dunn on our London Sales team. With daily conversations on targeting, it didn’t take long before I was confidently speaking to Project Managers, Managing Directors, even up to COO/CIO level in some of the worlds most prestigious banks.

Having a role within Business Development has undoubtedly been an invaluable experience, from day one I’ve been treated as a member of the team being held to the same standards and targets as the senior Business Development Executives. Within the first month on the job I got exposure to the Executive Director Level working closely with James O’Neill on the strategic plan for my accounts, along with having the opportunity to work directly with the Global Head of our Regulatory Practice in New York on the most potent regulations & directives shaping the Banking world such as KYC, AML, MiFID II and Brexit!

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‘Live local, work global’ is a real aspect of working life with FD. Each day supporting our Global Sales team across London, New York and Toronto meant I had several daily responsibilities, including campaign management, pitching to new clients, resource requests and liaising with existing clients to establish how we can grow the FD brand. Now that the new placements have started I’ve realised how far I’ve come from this point last year, recently having the opportunity to actually lead several of our weekly sales calls outlining the opportunities in our pipeline, stats on campaign success and the strategy for the week ahead across each region!

Just a heads up, for any of you invited to a Townhall meeting at FD, please save yourself the embarrassment of turning up at Newry townhall. It is actually an internal meeting with senior consultants – learning about their day to day roles, feedback from clients onsite and discussing challenges for the year ahead. This was unparalleled exposure to senior management and is one of the highlights from my time at FD, even after the mix up!

There is great comradery within the Business Development team with regular social events organised to bring everyone together! From weekly 5 aside football rivalries to my 2017 egg and spoon race title to defend, there is always something to look forward to. Our company nights out are always full of laughs and a fair bit of jiving with Aislinn and the team!


Working in such a fast-paced environment meant every week brought about a new opportunity or experience, from a new deal in the pipeline to an exciting new campaign. I have a long list of highlights from my time at FD, but the one that stands out would be when we signed a new Global MSA with a Tier 1 investment bank following successful meetings within the Market Risk space in London.  I really feel this placement year has helped kick start my professional career in the best way possible and I would highly recommend the opportunity!