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Advice from Alan, securing a Graduate Analyst role with BII

Book open Reading time: 3 mins

What stood out to you about BII?

BII stood out to me as I felt that I was able to be a part of a firm that prides itself on their commitment to supporting economic growth in emerging markets and generating tangible social benefits. The chance to actively engage in deals across diverse regions truly excites me, as it offers a unique learning opportunity to adapt to various cultural contexts through collaboration with colleagues. As a fresh graduate, the prospect of spending time in either Africa or South Asia as part of the graduate program is an incredible opportunity that I believe will grant me an in-depth insight into BII's operations in our markets. This comprehensive program shows me how the UK's development finance institution effectively addresses global development challenges.

What advice would you give to future BII applicants? What skills would be advantageous in the application process?

In terms of advice for prospective applicants, I would suggest being explicit about the roots of your interest in impact investing. This transparency will highlight your enthusiasm for learning and contributing to the organization. Familiarity with BII's approach to sustainable investing is crucial; you can attain this understanding by delving into BII’s current 5-year strategy, outlining objectives spanning 2022-2026.

Concerning advantageous skills for the application process, as previously mentioned, articulating the origin of your interest is pivotal. In the assessment centre phase, a foundational grasp of Excel skills would be advantageous. Personally, I would also recommend a brief, high-level comprehension of financial statements (Income statement, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow Statement) as this knowledge is likely to be assessed as well.

Were you surprised by anything in the application process?

I had a good understanding of the application process and was able to easily communicate with the recruitment team if I had any questions across the application process, so I cannot say that I was surprised by anything.

The process started with an online test and was followed by an interview assessing your motivation for applying. The next and final step was the assessment centre which was an intense day filled with a group exercise, a case study, presenting the findings of the case study to senior staff, and then another interview with senior staff at BII. During the day, many of the previous graduate programme intake, as well as other staff from BII, were kind enough to make themselves available to answer why working there is special and all the other questions I had about BII.

What was the toughest interview question you faced and how did you tackle it?

The trickiest interview question I encountered was during the assessment centre. I was presented with a hypothetical situation where I needed to explain how I'd defend my work to a senior team member who disagreed with its accuracy. Despite my strong belief in the correctness of my process and the conclusion I reached, they remained unconvinced. I had to strike a balance; asserting my contributions and showing my confidence as a team member whose input holds weight, while demonstrating that I respected the final decision-making authority within the team and acknowledging their greater experience.