*What's on offer for graduates in corporate banking at RBS? The Gateway finds out. *
*Andrew Harrison *
Managing Director, Energy & Infrastructure
BA (Hons.) Banking, Insurance & Finance, Bangor University
How would you describe corporate banking at RBS?
We look after a range of clients based in the UK, from small high street businesses to multinationals. We provide them with loans so that they can grow by opening new facilities or by making acquisitions. We also offer products and services to help with the everyday management of their businesses, such as credit cards and payment facilities. And we work closely with our investment banking colleagues to introduce our clients to their expertise in M&A, capital markets and risk management. For example if a client is exposed to interest rate or foreign exchange fluctuations, we would help the client protect itself against these risks.
What kind of clients do you have?
We have clients in healthcare, hotels, leisure, manufacturing, financial institutions, professional services, the media, and many other areas. We have people here who spend their days getting to know these industries very well, for example by going to industry events, so we're able to create tailored banking packages for clients in these sectors.
What can corporate banking at RBS offer graduates ?
We offer graduates a great opportunity to work with some very interesting clients and we ensure that our recruits get to go out and meet them pretty much from day one. They'll also get to work with some intellectually stretching products - the work on these is as challenging as anything you'd find at an investment bank.
How is your graduate programme structured?
Our graduate programme lasts between 18 and 24 months. A graduate would probably spend six months in three or four different areas, in each of which they'll get experience of different clients and various products, and in using a range of technical skills.
Graduates could work in, for example, relationship management. People here speak to clients on a day to day basis and are responsible for understanding their businesses in depth. Graduates could also work in structured finance, where they could provide specialised debt products to private equity firms engaging in mergers and acquisitions or to companies in the infrastructure sector building schools, hospitals or ports. Another important part of corporate banking is global transaction services, which offers assistance with transactions, for example in connection with international payments or trade finance.
Recruits also take part in an external course to help them understand the life cycles of our clients right through from being very small businesses to being large businesses, and the sort of needs that a client will have as it goes through this life cycle.
The idea is that after the months of experience and training we provide they'll be able to step quickly into a reasonably senior role. They'll be able to find out what interests them most, where their competencies lie and then choose an appropriate career path. If people work hard and demonstrate that they are contributing to our success, they can then move up through the organisation quickly.
What kind of graduates are you looking for?
We're looking for intelligent graduates with good qualifications, but having these is just the starting point in our recruitment process. As a people business, our success depends on our staff being able to build better relationships with our clients than our competitors. It's also really important that we work together effectively internally to make sure that we get the right RBS experts in front of our clients at the right time. So to be successful, applicants will also need strong people skills.
We're also looking for the ability to think creatively and a willingness to challenge the status quo - we really want our graduates, as they're coming into the business with fresh perspectives, to look at how we do things and help us identify whether we could do them in a better way.
Where is corporate banking at RBS going in the future and what role do you see today's graduate recruits playing?
RBS has been through a difficult few years because of the financial crisis but I think this experience has actually created great opportunities for students here. We're now looking for graduates who have the ability to help us work out the right banking model for the years to come. At RBS, we make sure that the graduates we recruit are in contact with senior executives and have the opportunity to get their ideas across to them.
We operate in what's becoming a truly global economy and RBS aims to support our clients wherever they are operating around the globe, whether the traditional markets of western Europe, or emerging markets in Asia. Therefore there are good opportunities for graduates joining RBS to gain international experience.
RBS is accepting applications for its Corporate & Institutional Banking graduate programme this year until December 17, 2010.