How would you introduce Barclays Corporate to a student, and how does it fit into Barclays plc?
Barclays is made up of a number of divisions: Barclays Capital - a global leading investment bank, Barclays Wealth - which is the UK's largest wealth manager, global retail banking including Barclaycard, and Barclays Corporate. Barclays Corporate is a relatively new division but is based on a strong existing business. It pulls together various parts of the Barclays group to serve companies with turnovers from £5 million a year right up to very large multinationals with turnovers of billions. It has businesses in the UK, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal as well as in some "new markets", such as Russia, India, Pakistan and the UAE.
What exactly does Barclays Corporate do?
Barclays Corporate is a financial partner to our clients worldwide. We meet their financial needs and support them through their major business decisions. Our services to them range from current and saving accounts to bank loans, international trade services and investment solutions. Larger companies not only need financing from us but also risk management tools. For example, if you are a UK company and owe someone in America $1 billion in two years time, you need to know what your foreign exchange rate will be in two years so you can manage to pay. If the exchange rate moves even 10 per cent against you it would cost an extra £100 million more. We see ourselves as helping clients operate more efficiently and effectively as businesses, so that they become engines of job creation and economic growth.
Can you explain how you at Barclays Corporate work with Barclays Capital?
Our larger clients sometimes need more complex products, and that's where BarCap would help. So we sometimes work together, for example, if a company wants to raise financing through bond issuance, or an IPO. And there are a number of BarCap clients who want access to Barclays Corporate services, for example, cash management or trade finance.
Could you tell The Gateway more about the Barclays Corporate graduate recruitment scheme?
We are building a strong graduate programme because we need a pipeline of ability flowing into the organisation to build it up step by step. It is not sustainable to always get experienced hires from competitors - we need to foster talent from within. So we've reshaped our graduate programme so that we recruit specifically into particular areas to allow people to develop within a business.
Firstly, we're looking for graduates for Coverage, the team in which people work directly with clients on their needs, which could mean arranging a loan or some other product.
Secondly, we're looking for people to join what we call Product, the department which develops and implements client solutions so the Coverage team can meet our clients' needs. Products could, for example, be debt instruments or risk management products.
Thirdly, we need a set of people to ensure that everything runs smoothly - we need high quality people in operations, technology, risk management, HR and corporate communications.
What kind of graduates are you looking for?
There are some general skills that we look for in everyone, for example, recruits must have the right academic background, be able to work with other people, have an appetite to learn and move forward, have commercial acumen, be able to communicate well, have strong analytical skills and be resourceful and risk aware.
And then there are area-specific skills. I might look for different degree subjects when recruiting into HR than for a position in debt products. But attributes and interests other than academic background are also important.
Can graduates move between different teams once they start?
It may well be possible, or even very appropriate, for graduate recruits to do a rotation elsewhere. One obvious example is that people in Coverage really benefit from getting a good understanding of our products so that when they go back into Coverage, they understand what we should be offering our clients.
What we would tell graduates, is to do as much research as possible and to find what they think they might enjoy. If they're not sure, we can talk when we meet and try to help them find the right area. And if two years after joining us they think their current line of work isn't for them in the future, we can find other opportunities.
But it's important to emphasise that we feel the quicker we can find people their niche, the better, because then they can start moving forwards in their careers.
Barclays plc is a global firm, so are there any exciting travel opportunities for graduates joining the Barclays Corporate graduate scheme?
All graduates in Coverage in particular need to be somewhat mobile, because there's a good chance that they might be required to work in different parts of the UK.
As far as international opportunities go, we are a global business, and we want to make sure that we're allowing graduates to develop in this context, and that we're meeting business demands as well. So if an opportunity comes up to place a graduate on an international assignment, we'd do that. We're also looking at hiring directly into some of our international locations, including India, Russia and Pakistan, and also continental Europe, particularly Spain at the moment.
Is there anything else that students should know about the scheme, and Barclays Corporate in general?
Barclays Corporate is in the middle of transforming from a UK corporate bank into a world-class corporate bank by increasing our geographical coverage, improving the products we offer and enhancing our infrastructure. Our graduate programme is one of the first things we've chosen to tackle. So people joining in the next few years will be coming in at an exciting time!