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How to Get Multiple Job Offers From Top Investment Banks This Season

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he investment banking industry is regarded as one of the most notoriously challenging fields where only the best of the best fresh grads have the potential to succeed. According to Careers-in-Finance, recent stats show that less than 200,000 entry level job opportunities are open for fresh graduates worldwide every year.

This no longer seems impressive as soon as you realize that the applicant pool is 10 times larger than the number of jobs available. Don’t get disappointed just yet; it may be tough to break into the investment banking field, but not impossible. With the right set of skills, academic background and determination, you can start off your career in investment banking as an analyst.

Read on to know what it takes to get multiple job offers from top investment banks like JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Scotland, Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas, etc.

Figure Out What You Want To Do Before Searching

Nail down the target job and audience before anything else. By this, we mean, search for the kind of job you want and determine if it has the most career capital. Before applying, do an in-depth search on the industry focus, size, personality, core values and management style of the organization.

This will not only help you determine if you are a good fit for the job but it will also provide you will deep insights that may come in handy during the interview. Some other points that you must also consider when applying for an entry level job at any top investment banks are – the salary, the people and the perks.

If possible, also try to find out more about the work environment and the organizational culture as it will help you create a resume that is tailor made for the job.

Know What to Expect When You Venture Into Investment Banking

Here are some hard facts that you must consider before applying for an entry level job at top investment banks like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, etc.

  • The field of investment banking is very demanding; 12-hour working days are not uncommon.
  • However, as far as entry level jobs are concerned, an analyst can earn as much as £50,000 on starting with bonuses.
  • You can choose to work in one of the many different areas of work an investment bank including private wealth management, operations, corporate banking, technology, risk management, specialist markets, structured finance, investment management, investment banking, specialist markets, markets, etc. Research each of these work areas carefully prior to filling in the application form and developing a resume.

The 4 Key Skills You Need To Develop

If you’re aiming to develop the competencies that investment banks want to see when you apply for an entry level job, these are the 4 key skills you need to develop instead of just having good teamwork and communication skills. According to Barclays Capital head of campus recruitment Jane Clark, investment banking recruiters want to see what more you can bring to the table other than your excellent academic grades alone.

Intellect

Top investment banks are always in search of candidates who are quick learners; ones who can grasp and learn new concepts easily. Recruiters working for top investment banks feel that these individuals are highly sought-after because they are quick thinkers. They thrive in challenging and difficult situations rather than folding under pressure.

Keen learners with an insatiable hunger for dealing with challenging situations are the perfect fit for working in the investment banking industry because new opportunities, deals, markets and products continually emerge in this field.

Meanwhile, Baillie Gifford stresses upon the importance of intellectual curiosity – the ability to think rationally without jumping straight to conclusions, asking the right questions and picking the right leads during research.

During the interview, come up with a short anecdote on how you used your intellectual skills to handle a difficult situation to impress the interviewer.

Innovation

The ability to indentify or create new profitable opportunities for developing a business is another highly prized skill. For instance, Morgan Stanley values entrepreneurial skills the most. Recruiters at Morgan Stanley look for individuals who can come up with innovative ideas and spot new areas for development.

Also, one of the key competencies that Mitsubishi UFJ Securities seeks in a candidate is the ability to ‘think of creative ideas and approaches’. Prepare a short anecdote to support your answer if the interviewer asks you to give an example of a time when you were innovative. Focus on the new idea or approach you came up with and how it helped.

Resilience

Investment banking recruiters want a resilient individual who can easily adapt to the highly pressured working environment instead of breaking under strain. For instance, management and leadership competency of Barclays Capital includes the ‘ability to work under pressure’; meaning you must be able to meet short deadlines and deal with highly demanding prominent clients.

M&G Investments’ key competencies include ‘resilience under intense pressure’ referring to the capability to manage working with changing deadlines and deal with new information effectively.

Remember, a resilient person is one who sees a setback as a challenge. So woo the interviewer by coming up with an example in which you dealt with criticism positively by working towards improvement despite your disappointment.

Global Outlook

Top investment banks seek candidates who are capable of operating in an international context effectively. Merrill Lynch is known for recruiting individuals with a global outlook while Goldman Sachs requires job candidates to have strong linguistic skills for more than 50% of graduate job roles. Recently for Goldman Sachs, Turkish seems to be the new language of interest.

In order to impress the interviewer, focus on researching new growing markets in the world or a socio economic trend or key event that will affect markets in other countries of the world.

Other Highly Sought-After Competencies

Credit Suisse lists ‘loyalty’ among other key competencies while Rothschild includes ‘authority’ as one of its key competencies. On the other hand, HSBC plc – Global Businesses seeks individuals who have an outgoing nature and possess the ability to maintain a good level of diplomacy. Meanwhile, Citigroup recruiters feel that having a solid academic background and understanding of the industry is useless is you lack enthusiasm.

Conclusion  

Develop the above key competencies to get a job offer from top notch investment banks like JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Barclays Capital, Royal Bank of Scotland, Citigroup, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, UBS, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas, Mitsubishi, etc. Log on to www.graduatemonkey.com for SHL aptitude test tutorial packs today!

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5 mistakes that keep graduates unemployed for a long time

You possess the right qualification for the job and it seems that the job description is written keeping you in mind. Still, you don’t get hired and remain unemployed. So why weren’t you offered the job? Did you completely mess up the interview? Or did you overlook certain attributes while applying for the job or during an interview? The reasons can be numerous, but the fact is that you remain unemployed. In an ideal world, the job is offered to a qualified and deserving candidate and there can be numerous reasons why you are not hired – even if possess all the desired skills. During the job interview process, you will be in direct competition with other qualified candidates and internal candidates (who obviously might have a better chance of grabbing the job offer thanks to having some close contacts). Until you are able to create a lasting positive impression on the interviewer, you have a minimal chance of getting hired. Here are a few mistakes that keep graduates unemployed for a long time, even after scoring well on many points including psychometric assessment (personality traits) and aptitude tests (such as verbal reasoning, logical reasoning and abstract reasoning tests).

  1. The celebrity syndrome

Celebrities usually do not have to impress people, admirers follow them wherever they wander. If you think you fall under the celebrity syndrome, then you need to change your thinking as it will not help you acquire a job especially if you are a graduate. If you face an interview with an instinct that the resume will speak, you are wrong. The competition is fierce and you need to sell yourself in the market. A majority of the companies conducts reasoning test, aptitude test, SHL numerical test and Kenexa numerical test to filter in  the worthy applicants. The resume will not help you come out with flying colors in these tests, but your inherent skills will surely help. Therefore, it is essential to come out of the celebrity syndrome mood and undergo an intensive numerical test preparation and prepare using verbal test tutorials.

  1. The shy syndrome

Modesty is the best quality to lead a happy and prosperous life. Boasting your strengths and achievements in the public is a habit to inculcate, but if you fail to portray these skills during a job interview, you are killing the chances of grabbing a lucrative offer.  If you are a humble person, you need to present the best qualities in a confident manner only then you will be able to impress the interviewer. Remember, no one else will discuss your selling points. During an interview, you have exactly one chance to impress the panel and present your case. Your shy behavior should not come in your path of whooping the interviewer. Stand in front of the mirror and answer probable interview questions. It will surely boost the confidence and you will face the job recruitment process confidently.

  1. Going into the job interview with little industry knowledge

You have probably put in all your efforts to build a resume and cover letter, but you have missed out something very important – industry knowledge. Review the website of the company and ensure you know everything about them before facing the interview. Dive into the recent news about the company as being armed with a plethora of knowledge regarding a prospective company is the key to your next or first job. You need to understand that becoming an advocate for the company is different from becoming an advocate for yourself during the job interview. Not only this, after reading a plethora of information about the company and the industry it is in (e.g. trends, threats or opportunities), you can decide whether the company will see dark days ahead (pursuing a job in such company can be avoided) or investors are keen on investing. Based on your research about the company, you can craft a better cover letter and tailor the resume to suit the culture, mission statement and core values of the prospect company. Try to obtain as much knowledge about the industry and company because knowledge is the ultimate power.

  1. Avoiding learning technical skills

Nothing can be worse than saying a ‘no’ or ‘I do not know’ during a technical round. This usually occurs when the technical skills are restricted and you only have the bookish knowledge. Bookish knowledge rarely comes in handy during an interview because companies look for candidates with clear concepts, memorizing the technical questions will not help as one bouncer from the interviewer and you will be clean bowled. Based upon the job profile, you should be well-versed in programming languages or spreadsheets or accounting. Negative answers lead to failure and instead of saying a direct ‘no’ try to attempt the question and draw reasonable parallels from the question itself. A positive motivation will help you seek the job easily. Therefore, for graduates it is extremely essential to polish the technical skills on a regular basis, otherwise you will remain unemployed for an indefinite period of time.

  1. Other miscellaneous mistakes

Communication skills both verbal and non-verbal are extremely important to excel in an interview. Facial expression, voice modulation and eye contact form the non-verbal communication skills show whether the candidate is nervous or not. Non-verbal communication includes the mannerism in which you talk during the interview, your body language, pitch, tone and timbre of your voice, etc. Additionally, during the interview if you do not ask the interviewer any questions, it might be assumed that the candidate has little commitment to the position. It is a good move to ask questions geared to the position for which you have applied. Another reason for candidates being rejected in the job recruitment process is giving long-winded answers. You have to remember that the questions being asked in an interview can usually be answered in 30-60 seconds. Long winded answers are an indication of nervousness which may signal to the interviewer that you have a lot of weaknesses as a candidate.

The Graduate Recruitment Processes at Major Companies

Our world is an ever-changing one, so the graduate recruitment process too has greatly changed from what it was known to be. It used to be that to secure a job in your company of choice, you only needed to finish with a good grade.  Oh, even before that, you only needed a degree; the grade was secondary.  Good companies went to campuses to poach the best of the best graduates, while the ordinary ones (companies) had to lobby for whatever they could get.  The competition was more on the side of the employers, while graduates chose companies they would work with.

But when did the game change?  I don’t know!  Just that the reality today is that in which graduates have to go through a schooling of some sort after their degree in order to get into their companies of choice, because gaining an employment into the giant companies is indeed a process. Yes, it is a process.  The competition is now more on the side of the job seekers, while the hard work on the side of companies is to get the best that they would not have to fire anytime soon.

Did I hear you say, ‘it’s unfair’?  No, it’s not fair, considering the sleepless nights, burning of your candles at both ends, taking the extra credits to graduate early, and the list goes on.  However, nothing is fair in love and war – you’ve heard that before, right?  And Job-seeking is a war of some sort.

So, talking about the process of recruitment, you will need this to prepare for the ‘battle’ ahead.  The process seems to be pretty standard with some slight modifications from company to company.  You have the initial online application, followed by an online psychometric test, a telephone interview and the assessment centre.  The order can be changed in some companies, but then, the journey always starts with the online application and most times ends at the assessment centre.

So, what should you expect at the different stages?

Online Application

A note of warning, never rush into the filling of the online application without knowing what you are getting into.  Or if you have started already, you don’t have to complete the filling of the application at a seating.  So, do some research about what to expect in the application of the particular company for which you are applying.

Then, get the requirements ready; your CV, your certificates and any other relevant documents.  The rule of thumb is to have your dates on your fingertips and then, check to be certain.  Your dates are very crucial and any mistake in the dates is a red flag to the recruiter that you are probably sloppy with your facts.  Fill the form accurately and completely.

It has now become the norm rather than an exception for companies to include competency based questions in their online application.  You need to use this to your advantage, because at this stage, this is more important than your grade and whatever work experience you might have.  The impression you give with your answers to the competency questions determines whether you will be invited for the next stage of the recruitment.

Competency questions can be behavioural, technical, or cognitive.  They are asked to ensure that an applicant have the requisite skills and personality that align with the mission and vision of the organisation.  Find here some examples of competency questions you can expect during your online application:

  • Why are you interested in working with our organisation?
  • Give an example of a project in which you were involved that require teamwork.
  • As a manager, do you direct the project or the people?

It is not a bad idea to have some standard answers to these questions, but you have to be flexible enough to adapt them to whichever situation you find yourself.  You will find STAR method of answering interview questions useful here.  And while crafting your answers, you should creatively work the core values of the organisation you are applying for into the answers.

For instance, if you are applying into Chevron, your competence answers should reflect words or ideas like Diversity, Integrity, Partnership, Ingenuity, Trust, High Performance, and Protecting people and the environment.  You don’t want to throw the words just anyhow; that will be counter-productive, of course.  So, you have to meaningfully and creatively use them in your answers. Remember, impression is what you want to make and it must be a very good and memorable one.

For most organisations, the next stage of the recruitment process is the psychometric testing. However, some can have the telephone interview come before the testing, while some very few may not use the testing at all. You can also find a company like Chevron omitting the telephone interview altogether.  Whichever way they come, you should find out the process for the specific organisation into which you are applying and work carefully with it.

Psychometric testing

The focus of every psychometric testing is to assess the personality and ability of the applicant.  So, for the personality test, you should be ready to fill questionnaires or sit for Situational Judgement Test (SJT).  But what is common now is SJT and you should expect to write one if you applying for Eon or Shell.

The ability test comes in different parts, which are; numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, inductive reasoning, logical reasoning, abstract reasoning and some others.  You should not be surprised if you are asked to write a test of English by Baker Hughes, especially if you are not a native speaker.

Success in these aptitude tests have less to do with intelligence, given sufficient time, an average applicant will be very successful at them.  So, speed is a major factor and you have to be well practised to have it.  If possible, you should know about the grading system too, it will guide your decisions.  Some grading systems are not very interested in the number of questions you have answered but rather in the proportion answered correctly, while other grading systems penalise every unanswered question.  Though, whichever be the system, you are always safe with a good speed.

We have a number of psychometric testing companies around.  You should know which your company of choice employs.  This information is important, because you will be able to practise with the right materials.  You should also know the type of questions they administer too.  For instance, ExxonMobil administers only numerical tests provided by SHL, Chevron administers logical, mathematical and verbal reasoning provided by Onetest, Shell administers personality tests provided by Cubiks, Citigroup administers numerical and logical reasoning provided by Talent Q and the list goes on and on.

Telephone interview

What should you expect here?  More competency questions and the discussion of your CV.  The answers you supplied to the competency questions in your applications will also be examined for consistency.  So, in the process of going through your CV, don’t forget; always have your dates on your fingertips.

You should choose a location that is suitable for this interview.  In fact, you should block out some personal time for it.  The idea is to ensure that you are not interrupted in any way.  Moreover, ensure that your phone battery is sufficiently charged; any form of break in transmission is undesirable.

Here are some interview questions used by Shell.  While you shouldn’t necessarily expect these questions, if you have applied for Shell, they should serve as pointer of some sort to what you need to focus on.  So, get your mind prepared:

  • Tell me about your biggest achievement.
  • Tell me about a time you have worked in a diverse team with many contrasting opinions and personalities; how have you solved the issue?
  • Why have you chosen to work with us?

Again remember, your STAR method will be very handy in systematically tackling these questions.

The Assessment Centre

The call to the assessment centre leads to the final lapse of this journey.  However, you may have some event like face-to-face interview, just before the assessment centre day.  Eon does this, especially for their engineering applicant and the focus of this interview is on technical stuff.  So, at the assessment centre, what should you expect?  Firstly, the assessment  is usually for a whole day, except in rare cases when you have it for two, and you should be aware that senior executives of the company will be present; not only to observe and assess, but to also entertain any question from the applicants.

The line-up events for the day usually include all or some of the following; in-person interview, panel interview, group exercises, role play exercises, presentation and case studies.  Every aspect of this day is very important and you should give it your all, because it is probably the last opportunity you will get to make an impression before you are given your offer letter.  And don’t forget, your success here determines if you get the offer or not.

Mind you, it is not unusual for a company like Jaguar Land Rover to demand that you resit, at the assessment centre, the aptitude test you had taken earlier in the recruitment process.  And sometimes it turns out to be a more difficult version of the one taken earlier.  So, if you have gotten rusty, get ‘cleaned up’ and shining before going for the event.  It is your big day.  Make it count.

It will be my pleasure to hear the tale of how you made it to your company of choice and I do hope I am of some help along the way. Please, feel free to leave comments on my Blog or Forum on www.graduatemonkey.com.