BA, Human Resource Management and Employee Relations, LSE
Summer intern, UBS
Analyst in the Business University, UBS
*Edward Schrager *
BSc Biomedical Sciences, UCL
Summer intern, UBS
Analyst in the Media and Telecoms team, UBS
*Erica Taylor *
BA Business Studies, University of Edinburgh Business School
Summer intern, UBS
Analyst in the FICC PB team, UBS
Preparing for a job in banking
These three grads have just started out in their career in banking. Naturally, one of the first things we want to know is how they made themselves stand out from other applicants. Arun, who's in Human Resources read up a lot about economics, and issues that were affecting the banks at the time - such as regulation. He says: "I did my internship last summer, so there was a lot of change (occurring in the market) to which banks had to adapt. It actually gave me something to talk about at interview, especially since I'd already thought about what questions they might ask me." Erica, who works in Operations, also did her research and made sure she asked lots of questions. She says: "Don't feel silly about asking things, because at the end of the day, that's how you learn. Speak to as many people as possible, because those people have been in your shoes at one time or another." Investment banking analyst Ed stressed the importance of reading up about the business world, but reckons that you don't need much specialist technical knowledge, as that's something you'll learn on the job. More important he says, is to "make sure you want to do the job - if you really know you want it, you'll have much more chance of getting in. Read the guides - the Vault Guide is particularly detailed and useful."
The next thing we ask the grads is why they chose their specific departments? Erica explains: "I'm very much a problem solver. I also like dealing with people and the work that I do here in Operations brings together both these things, which is what attracted me to it in the first place." Ed maintains that he wanted to work in IBD, despite its long hours, because he gets to see what's happening on the inside of client companies, rather than just what's in the public eye. He says: "You get to give advice and see the real decision making, which you don't get if you're trading." Arun always wanted to work in HR because he enjoys working with and getting the most out of people. That, and his strong interest in finance and business, meant that HR at UBS was a good fit for him.
For all the grads, their first step towards a full time role at the bank was a UBS summer internship - which they completed between their second and third years of university. Erica was allowed to rotate around the different teams within Operations, giving her a good view of the process from front to back. She said: "I made some great friends on the internship, and we went traveling together to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and America before starting our full time jobs - which was really amazing." Arun also found the rotational nature of the internship invaluable for getting a feel for the bank. "Being able to rotate is one of the main positives about the internship. It's like a taster session, and not only do the banks get a chance to assess us, but it also gives you a chance to decide whether this is something that is right for you."
Speaking to the grads about their internships and their current roles, it's clear that while the project experience and knowledge that they learned during their internships has been invaluable in the workplace, there's quite a leap in terms of responsibility between the two. Ed says: "Until you start full-time, you don't realise the massive jump between being an intern and a graduate employee. As an intern you're there to learn, whereas as an analyst you're there to learn, but also to contribute to your team." Similarly, Erica admits that the biggest challenge so far has been getting settled in. "At first, it does seem like a lot of responsibility, but after a few weeks you're getting faster and more efficient, and you're taking ownership of a certain part of the business - it becomes very rewarding."
Despite having been at the bank for less than a year, these grads have certainly been handed generous portions of responsibility in their current roles. Arun is working on the global roll-out of a brand new cultural awareness and identity programme to 65,000 employees. "I'm sitting under a Project Manager who's running the UK part, so she's managing the whole of the training and the workshops for everyone in London, which is about 7,000 people. I'm managing the project for Europe, Middle East and Africa. I really like the fact that I've been given ownership of this part of the project - you have to be able to put yourself outside your comfort zone." Over the last couple of weeks, Ed has been working on a big strategic book for one of UBS's largest clients, and prior to that he worked on a management presentation for a very high-profile deal which will be closing in the next few weeks. Erica, who's been with UBS the longest (since February) looks after transactions for hedge fund clients. She explains: "I'm currently working on a monthly management report, which involves taking monthly statistics such as trade volume, break down of product class and new client and account information. Then, I compile all this into an information pack for senior management."