Bright Network member Alay studies Economics at the University of Warwick and was recently offered a Corporate Client Solutions Analyst role at UBS. Here he shares his UBS experience and top tips for those thinking of following in his footsteps.
I chose to apply for an internship at UBS because it's a prestigious 'bulge bracket' investment bank. I accepted the graduate scheme offer - which I secured as a result of my summer placement - as I'd by then discovered it's an extremely friendly environment to work in. UBS has a European corporate culture and there is no sense of hierarchy. You can easily approach a managing director or senior member, with plenty of opportunities to work with them as well.
Everyone at UBS is ambitious and we're all pushed to do our best - there are great opportunities for career progression. The working hours are long in this industry however UBS has such a great culture that it never feels like a burden. Equally there is no need for 'face time' and when work is done for the day you leave the office.
I was attracted to the firm's Investment Banking Division (IBD) because of the challenging nature of the work - it's one of the toughest areas of the bank to master where you're tackling complex business problems. As an IBD Analyst I'll be client-facing, dealing with a variety of people. The graduate scheme kicks off with eight weeks of training so I'm not nervous about taking on such a big role.
The application process in a nutshell
I attended the UBS Insight Day and was fast-tracked to telephone interview for a summer internship - an entirely competency-based discussion. The next stage was the Assessment Centre which inlcuded numerical tests, a presentation, a commercial interview, a competency interview and a group exercise.
The Assessment Centre was quite difficult - I didn't know what to expect from the interviews as they're so dependent on the style and seniority of the interviewer. However this was also the greatest part of the application process as I had the chance to put questions directly to people who work at UBS. At interview it's important is avoiding ambiguity. Be clear, confident and concise - answers should be so clear the interviewer knows exactly what you mean.
My graduate role offer came off the back of the nine week summer internship - based on great performance feedback from my line manager and wider team team, as well as a successful presentation.
I treated the placement as an extended job interview. I made sure I was up to date on sector news and spent time getting to know my team. Enthusiasm is also key - it makes up for a lot, especially a lack of knowledge.
Even if you realise part way through an internship this isn't the place for you, maintain a positive can do attitude. It's better to have a job offer from a firm you're not sure about than no offer at all.
Preparation is key
Before I met UBS at the Insight Day I made sure I knew my CV inside out and could elaborate on all my experience. I read up on UBS's core competencies and aligned my experience to them, using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) technique to structure my practice answers.
It's also really important to be commercially aware. Read the news every day and closely follow relevant stories in the sector you're interested in building a career. Don't profess knowledge about something you don't really know about - however it is impressive at interview if you can confidently speak about the employer in context of world affairs.