Global retail banking: internships and insights

How to bag your summer placement
Other finance
Retail and corporate banking

The Gateway heard about the Barclays summer 2011 internships and its brand new Spring Insight Programme for first years from Graduate Recruitment Advisor Joanna Anafu.

Can you introduce the Barclays Global Retail Bank internship scheme?

The scheme is designed to give penultimate and final year students an in-depth look at Barclays. It's a fantastic way to learn about our industry, get some excellent commercial experience, make friends and potentially secure a role with us - we're aiming for students on the internship scheme to join us as graduates.

How should I decide whether to apply for the Barclays GRB internship?

It's important that you find out whether the retail banking industry in general, and Barclays in particular, is right for you. Financial services isn't for everyone so you should spend time researching the sector and consider whether you want to work for a large multinational or a smaller firm. Barclays is a massive organisation with global opportunities and a lot of career options, but it's important for you to think carefully about where you want to be. Once you've decided, you should look at what's available in the category in which you're interested and select an internship programme which you think you'll enjoy and which will allow you to perform at your best.

There are six different internship programmes to choose from at Barclays GRB: Global Retail Banking, Marketing & Products, Credit Risk & Analytics, Tax, Human Resources and Technology. How should I decide which one is right for me?

You should consider what interests you and what your key strengths are. But remember the internship programme will give you a chance to try things out and find out about yourself. We'll guide you as much as possible - and you can apply for another programme if you come to think that you might be better suited to that area.

Do any of the programmes require a particular academic background?

For our Technology internships you must be studying a technical subject - computer science, IT, any engineering discipline, maths, physics and so on. For Credit Risk & Analytics, we're looking particularly for people with strengths in numerical analysis.

What kind of tasks will I be given?

We'll give you real work - interesting projects that you can get your teeth into. One of our interns last summer researched countries in Europe into which we could potentially expand our global payments acceptance business. This was a challenging piece of work, but I know our intern really enjoyed it - and it was very important for our strategic planning. As another example, an HR intern worked on a large pensions project that would affect thousands of members of staff. And one of our interns in Global Retail Banking was involved in checking customer service standards across 200 plus branches, which is the kind of work that our senior executives look at.

We prepare for our interns months in advance. We carefully choose your line manager before you arrive, who'll be fully briefed and ready to give you challenging work. We'll also find you a buddy - a current graduate on the programme who may have done an internship here themselves. And they will be there to advise and support you and be a friendly face during your time with us.

What about the Spring Insight programme?

The Spring Insight Programme is a new three-day programme designed for those in their first year at university, or second year of a four-year course, who want to learn more about Barclays Global Retail Bank. Several of the investment banks have schemes for first years, but we're one of few large retail banks to run a programme like it, so we think it's a distinctive opportunity.

Who are you interested in recruiting?

A strong academic record is a given but we also want you to show that you have additional skills so we're interested in your extra-curricular activities or your work experience, particularly if you've taken a leadership role.

It's also important to us that you show an interest in retail banking. Unlike investment banking, retail banking touches everybody and plays a large role in society which makes it a really interesting industry to work in.

What can I do to increase my chances of getting an internship or Spring Insight place?

Make sure you research Barclays well and don't just rely on the internet - you could go into your local Barclays branch and spend some time talking to the staff there about the retail banking industry. It's also a good idea to research our competitors.

When you're filling out your application form, make sure you are actually answering the questions set, use Word to spellcheck your responses and get someone else to read the form before you send it to us. We wouldn't reject someone because of one spelling mistake, but a series of errors will create a bad impression.

The next step in the assessment process is a telephone interview. With these, I find that candidates need to try even harder than they would at a face-to-face interview to get their personality across to us.

For the internship scheme, the final stage of the application is an assessment centre. It involves various exercises that we use to assess the competencies we look for - you can find out more about this on our website. To prepare for an assessment centre, you should make use of the many skills sessions that will be available on campus. Most universities run a number of these now, so there's no excuse for not taking advantage of them!

What should I do to get a graduate job at Barclays GRB once I'm on the internship?

You will be given clear and achievable objectives at the beginning of the internship and you will need to meet these. You also need to make sure you get fully involved in all the activities on offer and learn to network well with the people you meet. If you exceed our expectations you have a better chance of securing a place on our graduate scheme.

Summer internship details

There are six different internship programmes to choose from at Barclays: Global Retail Banking, Marketing & Products, Credit Risk & Analytics, Tax, Human Resources and Technology.

Which one is right for you? Joanna gave us some details of what each programme might involve.

Global Retail Banking

Here you'll work on an aspect of our customer-focused retail banking business. Your tasks might include:

  • competitor research to analyse how we stack up against other high street banks and credit card providers;
  • working with HR professionals to improve Employee Opinion Survey results via action plans; and
  • looking at ways to drive specific revenue streams, such as Barclays Financial Planning products.

Marketing and Products

Here you'll discover how Barclays develops and promotes products and services to suit customers' needs. Your tasks might include:

  • developing a proposal to recommend how to use social media successfully to engage with youth audiences and build brand loyalty;
  • visiting our advertising and marketing agencies to learn about how we develop through-the-line marketing campaigns; and
  • carrying out research into customer behaviour and learning how we plan and develop our marketing strategies.

Credit Risk & Analytics

Here you'll discover how we at Barclays manage risk in our commercial activities. Your tasks might include:

  • conducting research to forecast the different drivers Barclaycard can use to estimate the return on investment from marketing campaigns;
  • analysing a marketing campaign to identify customer trends and behaviours, helping us to plan future strategies; and
  • researching and testing the development of new modelling techniques to predict profit and loss from credit card portfolios, presenting your recommendations to senior management.


Here you'll come to appreciate all the complexities of Barclays' tax structures and obligations. Your tasks might include:

  • carrying out and preparing half-year reporting, quarterly forecasting revisions and reconciliations for monthly Financial Controls deliverables;
  • helping to prepare tax computations and general tax compliance work;
  • updating the VAT technical guidance available on the Barclays intranet; and
  • reviewing VAT legal cases to produce a body of supporting case law for the VAT treatment of some of our commercial activities.

Human Resources

Here you'll discover how HR is involved in the success of Barclays' business. Your tasks might include:

  • initiating and managing a project to address the impact of legislative changes to the tax-free limit of pension scheme contributions;
  • conducting salary surveys and competitor benchmarking, including liaising with reward specialist consultancies; and
  • leading the implementation of an Employee Referral Scheme, liaising with internal communications teams, writing policy and developing promotional strategies with creative directors.

*Technology *

On this internship you'll be given an exciting, challenging technical project. Your tasks might include:

  • joining a client solutions project team within Global Infrastructure & Service Delivery, working with the business to understand objectives, translating them into project plans, then playing a vital delivery role;
  • designing user-friendly front-end tools to share management information data and automating current MI reporting; and
  • delivering a functioning intranet site on time, on budget and to the highest quality standards.

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