Business Management (Customer Operations)

"If you have a desire to get things done and have a real customer focus, then the Business Management (Customer Operations) programme is the one for you!” " Jonny Kirkaldy, Business Management Graduate

In Customer Operations our focus is providing excellent service for around 4.5 million customers and clients; however they choose to contact us. Our main aim is to help people manage their money today and save for their future.

You’ll develop leadership skills through each of your rotational placements, gaining valuable experience in what it takes to run a world-class operational business. Your placements could take you into designing service strategy, leading change projects and consulting on operational improvements. It will definitely give you a taste of people management in a front-line leadership role.

The flexibility of this programme will offer you opportunities to grow your career in the way you want.

To thrive here, you’ll care about our customers and doing the right thing. You will enjoy a challenge and leading change collaboratively – building relationships, working flexibly, solving problems and finding solutions. You’ll also have the courage to ask “why” and take the initiative to drive positive transformation.

You’ll have access to everything you need to develop your capability and strengths: whether that’s through training, access to senior leaders, your placement managers or our supportive graduate community

It all adds up to a great opportunity to begin an exciting career path in operational business management.

  • Duration: Two-year programme
  • Structure: Four rotational placements*
  • Development: Relevant to placements
  • Entry requirements: Minimum 2:1 degree in any discipline

*includes one mandatory placement line managing a team of Customer Operations colleagues.

Read the below stories to hear from some of Graduates who have been in the same position as you, along with one of their placement managers:

Imran Khan

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What were you studying before joining Standard Life?

I studied Politics at Edinburgh Uni.

How would you describe our culture?

SL culture is diverse and inclusive. There’s a real focus on people here and it’s the bread and butter which underpins the company. Customer Ops is certainly an open and collaborative culture where people are genuinely keen to work with each other.

What do you think is the main benefit for a graduate working at Standard Life?

A grad working at SL gets the benefit of working for a world class company and global player that still has the feel of a close-knit community. This means that the opportunities available are diverse and exciting but still achievable in a line of sight.

What would you tell someone considering applying to the Customer Operations programme?

My advice would be to weigh up whether you want a varied experience. COps is fast-paced environment, there’s opportunity to jump from a leadership role to a strategy one and vice versa.

What support & career develop opportunities have you been given?

I’ve been given loads of support:

  • Completed an SVQ in Management which helps develop your management capabilities.
  • Frequent engagement with senior managers and senior leaders, both within COps but also the wider company. Mentoring and sponsorship to help you develop as professional.
  • Encouraged to work on extra-curricular activities – building a company network (Mosaic), sitting on business panels (Customer Inclusion Panel and 56 Degrees Board).

What advice would you give to someone joining the programme?

Advice I would give is to make sure you network properly. This isn’t about schmoozing – it’s about getting your face seen and name known by people and leaders across the business and within COps. As a grad, you should aim to be the leader of the future – but you can only do this with advocates. Take your time to get to know the business and value every interaction you have regardless of who it is with.

What has surprised you most about working at Standard Life / your programme?

What surprised me most was just how important a part COps plays in the success of Standard Life plc.

My current role is in Strategy, Planning and Finance – and I get to see the bigger picture and the future picture. COps is very much a leader in shaping what the future looks like.

What has been your proudest moment so far?

Proudest moment so far was launching Mosaic – SLs black, Asian, minority ethnic network.

Getting it off the ground, buy-in from leaders across the business and forming a high performing team has been incredibly satisfying!

Jamie Moore

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What were you studying before joining Standard Life?

I studied Law at the University of Dundee before completing an M.Sc. in Management at the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mining Law and Policy.

How would you describe our culture?

Standard Life’s culture is very much about inclusion and collaboration, and it’s evident from your first day that we are a company focused on working together. Culture is a hard thing to describe; but it almost feels familial with the emphasis placed on employee wellbeing, team work and work/life balance.

What do you think is the main benefit for a graduate working at Standard Life?

The opportunity to develop yourself both personally and professionally by working with a diverse group of people and in a wide range of experiences is undoubtedly the best thing about the graduate programme. That coupled with the support network you receive allows you to challenge yourself in a safe environment.

What would you tell someone considering applying to the Customer Operations programme?

First and foremost I would say do it! Then I would say be honest with yourself in your application in why you want to work for Standard Life and how you want to develop professionally. The opportunities in Customer Operations are wide and can present many different avenues to explore a generalist career – but having goals on how you want to develop will help frame your journey.

What support & career develop opportunities have you been given?

I have been given excellent support and development opportunities in my 11 months within Customer Operations. From buddying up at day one with a current grad to consistent coaching 1 to 1s with my stream head and managers it is clear that support is central to the grad scheme. Also in terms of opportunity, senior leaders are always keen to get graduate insight into their projects and work positions.

Why did you decide to join Standard Life?

I wanted to gain operational experience in a FTSE 100 company; specifically in finance. After researching Standard Life they stood out from other typical FTSE 100 finance firms with their commitment to people and work/life balance.

What projects have you been involved in since you joined?

I have been involved in numerous projects in my 11 months at Standard Life. From working on investigating our application of Customer Operations’ primary anti-fraud tool to looking at process improvement in our operational departments, I have always been given the opportunity to develop.

What advice would you give to someone joining the programme?

I’d say come with a keen and open mind. You will be encouraged to bring the intellect and curiosity you gained at University to provide fresh insight. I would also say be patient with your learning. It can be daunting learning the ins and outs of a big company never mind the financial services intricacies thrown in there – but with a great support network within the grad programme you are destined to succeed.

How did you feel about moving to Edinburgh?

I moved to Edinburgh having spent my University years in Dundee (but from Belfast originally) and I absolutely love the city. I certainly feel it has all things major global cities have to offer (other than maybe a decent concert hall!!) but with a more close-knit feel. Edinburgh has bags of culture to offer and friendly people to share it with – plus you can walk to work – who doesn’t want that!!?

Rhona Cormack

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What were you studying before joining Standard Life?

Before I joined Standard Life I was at Strathclyde University where I did an International Business with Modern Language degree specialising in Economics & French.

Why did you decide to join Standard Life?

After returning from a year’s study abroad in France, I joined the Customer Operations summer internship programme.

I was initially attracted to Standard Life as I knew it was a global financial services company but based right on my doorstep in Edinburgh! I was also keen to be able to apply the business knowledge I’d gained at university in a practical setting.

In the end, it was my really positive experience on the internship that told me Standard Life was the right fit for me and that’s what made me want to come back as a graduate and grow my career here.

How would you describe our culture?

I would say that our culture can vary across business areas and I’ve even seen that across the different teams I have been part of over my two years on the programme. However, the one thing I’ve personally experienced in common across all areas is inclusivity. Regardless of background or experience, everyone is welcomed, made to feel part of the team and expected to play an important role in our success.

What do you think is the main benefit for a graduate working at Standard Life?

I would have to say it’s being able to grow your career in a world class organisation whilst living and working in the beautiful city of Edinburgh.

What would you tell someone considering applying to the Customer Operations programme?

I would say that if you are up for a challenge, are passionate about leadership and want to learn more about what it takes to run a Customer Operation for a world-class company like Standard Life then you should apply!

You’ll definitely be surprised at how flexible the programme can be with the wide range of projects that you can get involved in.

What projects have you been involved in since you joined?

One of the great things about the Customer Operations programme is the people management placement and I think it’s such a valuable experience to get so early on in your career whilst in a supported environment. Although I’ve had a really varied set of placements my team manager role was the one that stood out the most for me.

I was based in the Adviser & Platform area of our business and my team were Relationship Managers aligned to some of the largest adviser firms who use Standard Life’s leading WRAP Platform. As manager of the team, I was responsible for the personal development and performance of my people as well as being part of the department leadership team. I also had the chance to work closely with our strategy team, creating a link between the activities of my team and our adviser strategy. This gave me a good balance of developing my leadership capability, getting to know our customers better and staying close to our strategic direction.

What support & career development opportunities have you been given?

When you start the graduate programme you are given a really good support network made up of your line manager, your programme stream head and an experienced graduate buddy.

To complement my team manager placement I have just completed a Modern Apprenticeship in Management and Leadership. This programme gave me formal development which I combined with the practical experience I was getting in role. Even more importantly it gave me a fantastic support network of other managers at similar stages to me. I’ve also had the opportunity to study towards financial services regulatory qualifications which are relevant to working in an operational role in financial services.

The great thing about the graduate programme though is that you can seek out development opportunities that match your interests. For example, I’ve been able to get involved in leading Standard Life’s partnership with Career Ready which is an organisation that supports young people in making the transition from school to working life. For me, it’s important that I work for a company that values initiatives such as this and even more so that I’ve had the chance to get involved!

What has been your proudest moment so far?

In the Customer Operations programme we have the opportunity to present to the leadership team every 6 months. It’s really nice to know that these senior leaders are interested in our experiences and invested in our career development.

These presentations are always a proud moment for me as I reflect on all that I’ve achieved over the last 6 months and the progress I’ve made.

In order for us to reach our goal of becoming a world-class investment company, we require world-class talent. If you believe you have the potential to help us achieve our ambitions and start your career with a growing organisation, apply below.

Applications aren't open yet. Please check back on 2nd October.


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