Bright Network member and University of Oxford undergraduate Sai is joining leading French bank BNP Paribas this September as an Emerging Markets Strategy Analyst. Here, he shares his experience from the assessment centre.
The assessment centre focused on three group interviews where we were asked about our motivation for applying to BNP Paribas, our knowledge of the bank and the current economic climate, and our interests outside of university.
I had met BNP Paribas at Bright Network Festival and they really stood out as they were so different from the American banks I’d come across – not least because they’re based outside of Canary Wharf! During the application process, BNP Paribas’s unique identity made it much easier to explain why I wanted to work specifically for them as opposed to a competitor.
The three interviews were challenging. It’s difficult to judge when to speak in a group situation - going first meant I was put on the spot but I struggled to say something original if I went last. I also had to quickly adapt to the recruiters’ individual style as each interview was run differently.
The buzzer that went off every 45 minutes to mark the end of each interview definitely added to the sense of pressure.
Practice makes perfect
I wasn’t sure how I did in the assessment centre but I left thinking that if nothing else, it was a fantastic experience. With every cover letter, questionnaire and interview you become more confident and capable. Even if you're not successful, an application is never wasted – it’s an opportunity to practice for your dream job.
And what would Sai say to anyone thinking of applying for a graduate scheme in Banking & Finance? “Don’t just stick to online research - attend networking events like Bright Network Festival. You only get to know a firm if you actually meet them, and then you can answer motivation questions honestly.