Bringing it home – Taking your career to Belfast

Bringing it home – Taking your career to Belfast

Bringing it home – Taking your career to Belfast

Have you ever considered moving to Belfast? For many years, decades even, the answer to that question (for the vast majority) was no. The same applied to graduates like myself, who instinctively left Belfast after university, for pastures new. The recent local theatre phenomenon and acclaimed film, Good Vibrations, showed that during the years of conflict in Belfast, entrepreneurs willing to risk investment in the city and create exciting jobs were few and far between.

I’m glad to say that’s no longer the case. After nine years living between London, Madrid and Washington DC, I recently moved back to the city and began my new role as a Finance Associate with Options. I’ve found the friendly, convenient, affordable city that I’ve always known, but now it’s far livelier, international, and full of opportunity.

Let’s start with what’s changed. When I left Belfast in 2009, the word FinTech had hardly registered in the world’s collective consciousness. Firms like Options existed, but by and large, they weren’t in Belfast. Following the arrival of NYSE to the city in 2010, Belfast has become a real FinTech hub, and Options leads the way. I joined the finance team this autumn, and within a few days of starting, was in our New York office working with our CFO. It’s an exciting time for Options: last year we received a $100m private equity investment, and this month we’re set to move into brand new offices in Belfast so that we can continue to grow. It’s an equally exciting time for university students as our 2019 Graduate and Placement Programme gets underway. Firms like Options are proof that you can enjoy all that Belfast has to offer and still maintain a rewarding and international career.

Then there’s the change in the city. Nothing embodies this more than Belfast Culture Night, a wonderful celebration that takes place every September. The streets are packed to the rafters with locals enjoying a vast array of music, street art, food and everything else in between. The centre of Culture Night is Cathedral Quarter, a hugely popular cluster of atmospheric bars and restaurants, surrounded by cobbled streets and stunning architecture. Culture Night and Cathedral Quarter weren’t features back in 2009, and are further evidence of Belfast’s upwards trajectory.

But thankfully, some things remain the same. Belfast still can’t be matched for the friendliness and warmth of the locals. In my time at Options, I’ve met colleagues from places such as Japan, New Zealand and Italy, and they all reap high praise on the welcome they’ve received. It’s also an affordable city and much smaller in comparison to the likes of Dublin and London. Good news for anyone who dreads a lengthy daily commute! Truly, in terms of the attractions of the international and the charms of the local, Belfast has the best of both worlds.

For those who are from the city, returning to Belfast is no longer a choice between coming home and furthering your career. For those who aren’t from the city, Belfast is now the perfect place to enjoy your youth, start a family, or begin a new chapter. At Options, we have people doing all of the above. Whether you’re bringing it home, or making a home, Belfast is the place for you.

– David, Options Finance Associate

The Options 2019 Graduate & Placement Programme launched on the October 01, 2018. To apply, please submit your CV & cover letter via our careers page.

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