Why did you apply to Barclays?
I have always been interested in getting first-hand experience of how banks operate. They are indispensable in modern society and a vital part of any business in the world. In the UK, I’ve always felt that Barclays is most prominent bank and as a result of this, I felt applying for the graduate programme was a no brainer. Furthermore, the Barclays graduate programme is laden with exciting benefits and opportunities throughout, making it even more of a clear choice. Finally, the prospect of working in Barclays’ world-renown headquarters in Canary Wharf was also very exciting.
What was the hardest part of the application process for you?
Personally, I felt that the assessment day was the most difficult step in the process. Unlike conventional assessment centres, there was no group exercise or timed case study. Instead, I was sent a case study a couple of weeks before the interview which had contained articles, data and a lot more general information with a set of guidelines to prepare for. Although the task itself was not difficult, the challenge was completing the task to a high standard whilst also trying to make it original and stand out. Then came the issue of working out how best to present the findings, given that I was unaware of the facilities available on the day. Thankfully, the assessor was very flexible and allowed me to take the lead. This section was then followed by a competency-based interview. Overall, although challenging the assessment day was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and I learned a great deal about both myself and Barclays.
How was the process overall, and what was your favourite part?
The recruitment process was very efficient. From application to offer took no more than three months in my case. In terms of all the stages involved, I enjoyed the video interview the most. In the interview, I was given a taste of what working at Barclays would be like. For example, some questions had me carrying out quick data analysis, giving recommendations and even responding to e-mails. Although very nerve wracking at the time, it was exciting be able to thoroughly test my skills in different tasks.
What are your 3 top tips for students just like you when they apply to Barclays?
Firstly, I feel that it is important to build a strong knowledge of the business not just for Barclays but any opportunity. Looking into the history, relevant news articles and the company structure is not only beneficial to a candidate when preparing for the final stages but also highlights a genuine desire to be part of the business.
Another important factor is knowledge of the role. It is especially important to have at least a basic understanding of the function of the selected division, working out how it personally suits the candidate and how they can add value in the future. Attending events such as the Bright Network Festival are great ways to learn more about this, as well as getting an insight into the company culture.
Finally, in the interview stages, it is important to emphasise interests and achievements outside of academics. In many cases, excellence in other fields such as sport, music or charity can often outweigh grades and work experience, showing a different side of the candidate.