Bright Network member, Oliver Horton has recently been offered the role of Analyst in the Markets (Sales & Trading) Division at Citi, starting in January 2016. Here, we interviewed Oliver, who is currently studying Economics at the University of Bristol. He shares his experiences and tips for those who want to follow in his footsteps.
Tell us about the role
The Grad scheme comprises 4 month-long rotations around the desks on the trading floor, followed by the ultimate hiring onto a desk.
Why did you choose this company and role?
For me Citi was different from the other banks. Anyone can bang on about the culture and the innovation and how it faired well compared to the other bulge brackets during the financial crisis. But for me, one thing set Citi leagues ahead of all the others: The people.
"I felt that Citi was the only place where everyone is out to help you succeed."
I was lucky enough to have both a Spring week and the Summer Internship with Citi, and having had experience of other (US) banks, I felt that Citi was the only place where everyone is out to help you succeed. Never has the stereotype of hostility been more wrong. No matter how junior you are, all the employees, whether they be the year above you or MD level, have time for you; whether that be a quick email, or even a conference call spanning continents.
This is a characteristic that Citi should take pride in, since they are by far and away the most welcoming, inclusive and diverse organisation out there.
Please tell us about the application process - what did you have to do?
I impressed sufficiently on my Spring Week to be fast-tracked onto the Internship. I then worked extraordinarily hard whilst on my Summer Analyst Program and was converted onto the Graduate Scheme. As a result, I have had a somewhat special experience of the applications process, given that I have made one application and have got 3 programmes.
To my knowledge, the Grad Position application goes as follows...
- Send of Cover Letter and CV (Citi are the only bank that screen these before inviting you to take the psychometric tests)
- Psychometric Testing (Hardest Numerical test in the industry)
- 1st Round: 2 face to face interviews down in Canary Wharf
- Assessment Centre: A further 3 Interviews, Individual Presentation, Numerical Reasoning test, Group Exercise
- Extension of Offer
What did you find was the most difficult part of the application process?
"I spent Approximately 6 Hours researching Citi and the Current IB environment before even writing my Cover letter".
The most difficult part of the application process that I found was the first stage: When you get to interview you're able to connect with the interviewer on a personal level - You've met them, you can convey your talents through more than just words. However, when you're up against 200 other people for each place on offer, it is far harder to sell yourself through your CV and Cover-Letter: That's why I spent Approximately 6 Hours researching Citi and the Current IB environment before even writing my Cover letter. It's definitely the most important part of your application: you could be the best Investment banker in the world, but if your application isn't up to scratch then you won't even get your foot in the door.
What was the most enjoyable part of the application process?
Definitely the Assessment Centre: There's nothing quite like being invited down to the place you ultimately want to work. I personally love the ambience of Canary Wharf, so relished the opportunity to go to the Citi Building in London.
How did you prepare for the application process?
"Preparation is everything. Remember the 6Ps: Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance."
As I wrote above, preparation is everything. Remember the 6Ps: Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. You want to be on the ball with everything current affairs at the time you make your application. If you know what has been going on (in detail) for the 2 months or so before your interview then your interviewer knows you didn't just prepare the night before. Also, the grad recruitment webpage on the Banks' websites is not the Holy Grail of knowledge - HR wrote that page, and therefore they know everything that's on there: They don't much care to be told what they already know. Delve deeply into the company - use their website, read the executive summary on their financial statements, check the newspapers for stories about them.
What top tips would you give to someone who wanted to follow in your footsteps?
The World of Investment Banking is one of the most competitive industries in the world, second only to professional sportmanship. If your heart isn't 100% in it, don't bother applying because you'll just end up wasting time.
- Be enthusiastic
- Be willing to learn
- Work Hard