Sagar S.
NHS Graduate Management Trainee - Finance
Specialism Finance Management

About Sagar

Key Experiences

Finance and accounting graduate, with experience in the public sector.
I graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2011 studying finance, accounting and management. Previous to this, I took a gap between A-Levels and university. During this time, I travelled through Australia and New Zealand for over 3 months. For the rest of the year, I spent it gaining office experience, working for Harrow Council's planning department.

This period allowed me to really understand how a local authority operates and as well as relaxing away from education after 14 straight years. After learning the basics of accounting, my final year of university focused on the key elements of finance including financial management, corporate finance and financial markets. This provided a foundation of knowledge which I took into my role at Action for Children within their head finance department, after I graduated.

Working for a charity has similarities to healthcare, so this put me on a great stead when applying for NHS' GMTS. Working with all areas of the finance function gave me confidence that the finance route was the right career move for me. At the charity, I worked closely with senior management and this gave me an idea of how to lead teams for the future. This experience helped as this scheme was the next step in my career, but would not have been able to achieve this without any prior experience.

Current Position

Graduate Finance Management Trainee (2013 - London)
I have just started the prestigious NHS graduate scheme, within the finance stream. This is a 2.5 year contract within different placements. For finance this means having a month's orientation at a host organisation (which is also the second but final placement). After the induction period, you start your first placement, which you get to choose, and runs for about 8 months. You then start your second placement (to clarify, the same Trust where you had your orientation). You then have the opportunity to have a flexi-placement outside of the NHS, and in-between your second placement. This is what it is like for 2013 finance graduates, however, this is subject to change for future intakes.

The first placement will focus on financial accounting, and the second on strategic side of finance ie. management accounting. I will work within the three divisions of Imperial College Healthcare Trust's finance department, taking on what I have learnt to manage a strategic overview of different services.

This is all that I can give at the moment, and until I have some weeks behind me in this role.

Main Motivations

The opportunity to make a change.
It can be quite a difficult to justify this when you are not in the frontline. Most people associate change by saving lives and improving patient outcomes. Even though my role is not directly affecting patient health, it is indirectly. This is the main reason why I chose to work within the public sector, and specifically, healthcare. There are so many avenues where the finance function can help, and I get to experience working with different services and even have patient interaction. I chose my career to be more vocational. I want to make a change, however little, and this scheme offers this and more. There is a focus on personal development. The learning never stops! This can only benefit myself to do a better job, and make the right decisions.

Reading previous alumni's profiles, the scheme puts trainees in a position to make a difference. That is one of the main reasons why they were employed in the first place, and I want to be next on the conveyor belt driving this change. My impact may be small initially, but this will build throughout the scheme, and I will use what I have learnt throughout my career. Trainees are taught to be future leaders. I know I will be one.

Top Advice

Never give up. Be proactive and challenge your limits.
I have been living by the following quote for the past couple of years: "don't limit your challenges, challenge your limits". This has been vastly thought provoking. People tend to live life via peaks and troughs. There is nothing wrong with it, but it is how you deal with those troughs which builds character and defines life. This is what I consider to be the most important aspect. So let me put this practically.

You have found the ideal job, and you really want the role. So you do the standard things: fill the application form, research the role and company. Great; you have been invited to an interview. You do all you can to justify your potential employment. Sell yourself as best as you can, put as much effort as you can. However, it does not work. Someone else gets that job. What now? Do you sulk, and think that is it? No! There will a disappointing period, but you cannot let this linger. Find out why you did not get the job. Where did you lack? What more could you have shown?

This shows growth and maturity. You accept this trough, but you are willing to do something about it. It may be working on your interview technique, gaining further experience and knowing technical information. This is good. You should embrace this. This gives you an opportunity to develop.

The graduate process it tough. I mean really tough. Not everything will go your way always. With the NHS scheme being one of the popular schemes in the country and only around 1% being hired. Put yourself in the position to be that 1%. Learn everything you can and more! You will regret it otherwise. Challenge your limits, and find success through previous failures.

Greatest Achievement

A University Challenge finalist, violinist and all round blogger.
All my achievements have come extra-curricularly. I am hoping this will change during the NHS scheme, and I will succeed in driving change and making a difference. I suppose these things above made me stand out during the recruitment process. Showed that I have intelligence and ability in others areas far from finance. Having a busy and proactive private life will help your career. The skills are transferable. Not only are you enjoying what you are doing, but you are also learning key competencies. I certainly used these examples during the recruitment process, and so should you! Well, your own, of course.

Fortunately, I was one of the few chosen by the University of Nottingham to represent the body on the TV show, University Challenge. However, we did not reach the later stages, but it gave me great experience in regards being committed, and determined throughout an objective. I have to say this all came from younger self. I gained this discipline after learning to play the violin since aged 8. I went on to play for school orchestras, and lead the string section at various concerts. I feel this is important as it shows your ability to balance between a work-social life. Plus you are going to learn more skills than you think.

I now use this experience by blogging for my own, and another graduate site. Reflection can be useful in developing personally, and I use this medium to make sure I am on the right path in life.


Whatever your future leadership ambitions are, the NHS offers a fantastic start with a variety of challenging placements in an organisation that is wholeheartedly determined to provide equal opportunities to all employees. Selection for the scheme is based solely on aptitude and ability to ensure we have the best leaders for the NHS.

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