After receiving a call from the Bright Network team about an opportunity with BNP Paribas, Exeter graduate Russell has gone on to secure a graduate role with the bank! Russell caught up with us to tell us all about his experience.
Why did you choose this company and this role?
After speaking with a friend working at BNP Paribas, I was drawn to the firm's innovation and learning opportunities, which are important to me as a fresh graduate. Additionally, the bank's philanthropy programme consists of sustainability and empowerment initiatives, which resonate with my commitment to making a positive difference. There were several interesting positions, but after receiving a call from Bright Network about this opportunity, I felt that the responsibilities of this role resonated better with my interests.
What were the different stages of the application process and how did you prepare?
The application process included an online application form, followed by an online test. I prepared for the online test using various online resources, which helped me to ascertain what I may overlook in the test and how I could overcome this before the actual assessment.
Following the test, I received an invitation to do an online video interview, where I had to answer several competency-based questions. There were some questions that stumped me at first, but I stayed composed and honest. I realised that it’s good to prepare by practising sample questions and by writing prospective answers - but I tried not to recall these answers word-for-word, as this can be extremely distracting, especially when encountering an unexpected question.
Next, I attended an assessment centre. This consisted of a group exercise with a case study, a presentation and several speed interviews with a different panel of 2 interviewers in each round. I reminded myself to be adaptable throughout the session and kept myself up to date on the financial markets and any interesting information regarding the bank to prepare for the interviews.
I was subsequently invited for 1-to-1 interviews by my prospective team at the office, followed by another telephone interview with my line manager. To prepare, I researched the team's function to see how to best align my past experience with their expectations.
What was the toughest part of the application process and what was your favourite part?
The toughest part of the application process was the online video interview, as it was unusual to stare directly at my webcam for the interview. I found the 1-to-1 interviews most enjoyable, as it was great to learn more about the team's culture and the role.
What three top tips would you give your fellow Bright Network members?
- Practise as much as you can beforehand.
- Be self-aware during the assessment centre and don’t let the stress overcome you.
- Do not feel dejected if you don't make it at first because, as with all investment advice, past performance is not indicative of future results.
What's your lucky charm or pre-interview ritual?
Waking up early to give myself time to be nervous and then letting it subside before the actual assessment centre or interview.
How did being a Bright Network member help you secure this role?
Being a Bright Network member gave me to have access to the annual Bright Network Festival, which allowed me to interact with numerous employers. By networking with company representatives and learning more about each firm, it allowed me to focus my applications on the companies that best fit my career aspirations.