Monday, 2 September 2013

Royal Bank of Scotland Career Insight Programme (22nd August- 23rd August)

Last month, I attended a two-day career insight programme at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). This event was aimed final year A Level students who were interested in pursuing career in banking and to allow them to learn more about the Royal Bank of Scotland and what they do.

This event was held numerous times during August and there are a few more in September. The one I attended consisted of 24 students. The application process for this was held online were I had to fill in my personal details, qualifications and answer two motivational questions. A couple of weeks after I did that I received a phone call from a member of the Early Career team at RBS informing me that I have gained a place.

Day One:

The first day was held at the Bankside office. The day began with a mini networking session but this was with the students. We were all served breakfast and we had around 45 minutes to go around and get to know each other. It was a bit awkward at first because we were thrown into it straight away but I tried my best to move around and get to know others. We then had an introductory session into RBS. The person in charge of the event gave us an overview of what RBS is about and what opportunities they offer for undergraduates and graduates. Secondly, we heard from Jennifer Holloway, a personal brand specialist, who spoke to us about how to build on our personal brand. I found this really helpful as she really made us think about how you may be seen by others and how this could affect your impression on people. One thing that stuck with me was when she asked "What do people say about you when you're not in the room?", with the answer being, "Whatever it is, that's your personal brand." This really made me think about how I act when I first meet people and what could I possibly change to avoid giving the wrong first impression. After that there was lunch and then another guest speaker gave us more of an insight into RBS and the roles and responsibilities of the different areas of the bank which are :

  • Retail/ Commercial bank
  • Investment bank
  • Private bank (Coutts)
Furthermore, there were two other guest speakers. The first speaker was from Enactus which is a non- profit organisation which enables progress through entrepreneurial action and the second speaker was from The Prince's Trust. This section of the day was to inform us on how to make the most of university. I was quite attracted to Enactus and luckily they do work with the University of Surrey so I will be looking into that once I start. To end the day we got split up into groups of two and shadowed current summer interns at RBS. I got to shadow two interns who worked at Coutts which is the private bank owned by RBS. The students I was with and I got to visit the Coutts building in Strand, London which is really beautiful. It was different to see how quiet Coutts really is unlike the other RBS buildings and find out what the interns do there. The interns I met were so kind and gave a lot of good advice.

Day Two

Day two began with a really early start. We were asked to arrive at 8:00 am in comparison to arriving at 10:00 am the previous day. Luckily we were provided with breakfast before we started. The first activity was an Economy insight session by a current graduate. He basically ran through the events of the financial crisis in 2008 and how this affected the world economy. Afterwards there was a graduate panel where we got to learn what five graduates do and we were open to ask them questions about their experience. The best part of the day I must say came after the break when we all took part in the "Bank You Build" challenge. This activity consisted of a competition where five teams had to build up their own banks through completing several tasks in each section of the bank, such as; wealth, international banking, retail banking and so on. All these tasks were to be completed on iPad's in a space of an hour and what ever team got the highest percentage won. Unfortunately, my team was last but it was fun to complete the various challenges. 

Finally, after lunch the day ended with testing and a group exercise. The 24 of us got split into two groups to complete these tasks. All the students that gain a place on the career insight programme are given a exclusive opportunity to gain a place on the RBS Spring Programme. This meant that at the end of the day we were given the chance to start the application process and complete the first psychometric test in order to progress. This didn't mean that we must apply for the Spring Programme but we were just given the chance to get that head start if we wanted it. Luckily, it was a situation based exercise which assesses your response to a situation. I was really happy that it wasn't a numerical or verbal reasoning test because from previous experience I'm not really great at them :(. After this the day ended with a group exercise. We were made to do this to give us a taster of what to expect at an assessment centre. We were given a scenario of a number of people who had to be saved from a sinking boat ( I think?) and justify who we would save. In groups we had to discuss this and give a short presentation on our choices. An activity like this assesses things such as interaction, ability to give ideas and presentation skills.

So, that was how I spent my two days at RBS. I did thoroughly enjoy it and I really do advise those going into Year 13 to apply for this next year because you will learn a lot from it and develop a greater understanding of banking :)

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