Graduate Programmes: Top Entry-level Jobs

Written on 08 July 2013.

Graduate Programmes

A Graduate Programme is a recruiting scheme used by companies to integrate recent graduates into their organisations and develop them for future leadership roles.

Graduate programmes make it possible for the participant to discover the culture of the company and to get to know its specialties through the assignment of several positions in different areas, subsidiaries or countries, as well as constant evaluation, technical training, coaching and mentoring. But most importantly, they allow young graduates to launch an international career and access a fast track to managerial positions.

All these benefits come with a catch: graduate programmes are usually associated with elaborate recruiting processes devised to comply with extremely demanding entry requirements and strict application deadlines (typically in November for Investment Banking and in January or February for Industry). The earlier applications are sent the better, as the recruiting process stops once positions are filled.

Although the selection process is very selective, it is also very transparent. Only 10 to 20 international students from the best academic institutions are selected every year, but companies also make the effort to explain the requirements and the entire process on their websites, where they also provide tips on how to prepare. Therefore, it is strongly advised to have an excellent CV and be really well prepared before applying to graduate programmes.

17% of EDHEC young graduates have found their first position through a graduate programme or a VIE (Volunteer for International Experience).

This is what David Chreng, MIM Financial Economics student and summer rates valuation analyst at Barclays Capital in London, has to say about the selection process in financial services. David also gives tips for his do’s and don’ts:

‘The job market in Financial Services has experienced a serious contraction, resulting in strong competition among recent graduates and the increase of the exigency of investment banks. The selection process for graduates in London starts with a “screening” phase online together with numerical and reasoning tests. Do not underestimate these tests; they are the main screen-out tool! A benchmark is done automatically based on your score, so my advice to you is this: train hard, be calm while you take the test, avoid the end of the day when you are usually more tired, and do not take risks. Aim for a 100% final score.

The screening phase usually involves « competency based questions ». Take time to prepare your answers. These questions are very similar to those you will face in the interview. My advice to master this phase is to prepare well and to maximise your network (i.e. friends, student club members, family, etc.) in particular that of the EDHEC alumni. They are an excellent resource to learn about the culture of the company, the responsibilities, the demands of the job, and the specific skills required for each division. This will show your motivation and interest in investment banking. A last piece of advice, do not copy-paste your answers from one application to another, as generic answers are quickly identified by HR!’

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