Chiara, with the help of Bright Network, just secured herself a Summer Internship at the global firm BNP Paribas. She told us that attending our annual Festival, as well as reading through fellow member success stories really helped her to understand what she wanted to do in the future and the process to break into the financial industries.
Chiara was kind enough to share her experiences and advice with members looking to follow in her footsteps - read below to find out what she had to say.
Why did you choose BNP Paribas?
As a very ambitious person, my dream has always been to work for one of the top investment banks, and BNP is definitely one of them, also having been nominated as one of the six most solid banks in the world. It is also at the top of innovations and, without innovative solutions, there is no success. Moreover, I was attracted by the structure of the internship; it is rotational and would give me the opportunity to explore different options and to see what would suit me most. It would also give me the opportunity to work with extremely talented people, from whom I can learn both professionally and personally.
Why were you interested in this role?
I have always found a career in markets very appealing mainly because I like interacting with people, seeking to find the best possible solution which suits every client. The trading floor is exciting, dynamic, fast-paced and always surrounded by a great amount of pressure and I want to test myself against its speed, dynamicity and complexity. It is meritocratic and, as a person who always wants to be at the top of herself, I would be pushed to perform to the best of my ability.
A career in global markets could take you anywhere! In global markets you have the opportunity to develop both relationships with clients as well as analyse capital markets. This would improve my communication and analytical skills which are essential in any job you undertake.
What did the application process involve? Did you have a favourite and least favourite part?
My application process was quite unusual and this is not what all the BNP interns face, which includes additional interviews (both video and face-to-face) compared to the ones I had. As usual, I applied online, this involved personal details, CV, IT skills and short summary of extracurricular activities but (luckily) not cover letter. I did the psychometrics tests (logical and critical reasoning), which were quite hard (about 12 minutes for about 40 questions!!!!). This is my least favourite part of the application process to any company as, in my opinion, it tells very little about a person or how smart and capable she or he is.
Later, I was invited to a “networking event”, Women in Capital markets, which took the form of an Assessment centre. We had trading games and interviews with different recruiters (from seniors to grads) from different sub-divisions. The interviews were a mixture of competency and technical questions and you were also expected you to have a lot of commercial awareness (little tip when you apply to any company: make sure to enrich your commercial awareness and to be able to develop your own thoughts over a topic or piece of news, do not just report what you read on the Financial Times).
What top three tips would you give to your fellow Bright Network members?
- Apply early (applications are often processed on a rolling basis) and to as many companies as you can. It is also a matter of numbers; identify your priorities and especially focus on them but make sure to have “back up” plans. Not having them is like a firm which doesn’t have a risk management division. You never know and things can go wrong. Don’t get discouraged by the negative responses you recieve but take them as an opportunity to learn what you have done wrong and what you can improve. This is one of the most competitive divisions and therefore requires a lot of work and resilience. I have faced countless rejections but lots of them helped me understand what was wrong in my way of preparing and doing research and what I could improve. BNP was one of the last assessment centres I had and the interviews I had done in the previous three months helped me to build my confidence which was probably a key determinant of my success in getting the internship.
- Practice psychometric tests! Like them or not, almost all the companies require you to take them. It is all a matter of practice and has very little to do about how smart you are. Recruiters do not just consider that “you’ve passed” but take their initial decision also based on your score, therefore it is important to perform very well.
- Finally, attend as many networking events as you can. This not only improves your networking skills but also give you precious tips about what a company expects you to write or say during the recruitment process. At the beginning networking may feel a bit awkward (at least for me) but after some events I felt more comfortable and learnt a lot.
Do you have a lucky charm or pre-interview ritual?
When I have important assessments, exams or job interviews/ACs, I always bring in my bag a little “teddy dog”; I got this from my father who used to go to university exams keeping it in his bag too. It is quite trivial but I am a bit superstitious.