What kinds of skills does Barclays anticipate needing in the coming years that you may not possess enough of now (Languages, Technical Skills, etc.)?
Generally, Barclays is largely dependent on highly skilled and qualified employees. With that said, those skills can really be learned. With a little bit of effort and the right training, we feel that if we get the right people in the door, we’ll be able to train them for the skills that Barclays needs. I think what’s most important to us when we’re evaluating candidates is finding people who embody our values and are motivated to fulfill our purpose, which is to help people achieve their ambitions in the right way. We feel that you can learn and be trained in all the important skills, but you can’t necessarily learn the values.
When we interview, one of the values that really stands out at Barclays is respect. I think that while most companies place a value on respect, you’ll find it really rings true at Barclays in the way people treat each other. And also in the way you’re supported both when you first join and throughout your career. You don’t see competition internally; the lens is really focused on competing externally rather than within the walls of the firm.
What advice would you give to students who have their hearts set on working for you? How can they enhance their job prospects?
By far, the most important thing is to get to know our people. Banking is a relationship business and I think recruiting is exactly the same in that respect. I definitely encourage MBAs to gain as many touch points with our employees as they can, whether that’s in person, on the phone, or by email. When we do come to campus, definitely attend our events and make meaningful connections that you can carry with you throughout the recruiting process. If you are more focused on your resume and on preparing for interviews, you might forget to take advantage of all the opportunities to spend time with people. And that really is the best way to position yourself to get an interview with us and ultimately get hired.
Recruiting can be a two-way street. What has Barclays done to make itself more appealing to MBA candidates? (i.e. new initiatives being rolled out)
I couldn’t agree with you more. Students really care about what their future employer offers back to them. And I think that’s the right attitude to have. So I definitely appreciate that this is what students are looking for and it’s important to us that we get that message out.
One thing I would point out is that we have top notch training and development across all areas. We have both Markets and Investment Banking University training platforms that are new within the past six months. Each provides highly specialized training over the first few years at Barclays. In addition to that, we’ve got a very well-established junior banker advisory committee called the Global Advisory Committee, which is charged by senior management to address issues and come up with new and creative ideas. Last year, the committee largely focused on work-life balance and implementing initiatives around that to make sure we’re striking the right balance there.
The Committee also partnered with our technology group to make sure bankers have the best possible solutions and that our technology doesn’t pose any challenges in terms of working efficiently. Generally, we work on simplifying things and getting things done better across the firm. This Committee is something you can get involved in as a junior banker and impact change across the firm.
In 2015, we’re also rolling out some dynamic working programs that will allow people to suit their professional life to work in their personal life as well. Also, we did extend to 16-week primary caregiver childcare leave about a year ago and also offer non-primary caregiver childcare leave, for example. The firm is definitely focused on finding new ways to be one of the most attractive employers to new graduates.
If an MBA was weighing an offer from Barclays and another firm, what would give you the edge?
I think quite a few things at Barclays stand out. One thing I’d start with is we have a global platform with strong deal flow. We have U.S. and U.K dual home markets, which is unique and no other bank can really claim. In addition, we’re a relatively young bank in terms of the investment banking side. We’re really building out our coverage groups and investing in core areas. While we are young in that regard, we also have a 325-year group history. So we do have the history to rely on, but there’s also the opportunity to be part of something entrepreneurial and something that’s still really growing.
In addition to that, we have M&A embedded in our coverage groups, so if you are interested in specializing in M&A, you can do that while you also specialize in a particular sector, which is unique to Barclays. I think it is a relatively flat organization, where associates are encouraged to assume responsibility quickly and take ownership for deal execution and client management. As an MBA, you’re going to come in and very quickly be exposed to senior people within the firm and clients, and really have an opportunity to do things that matter.
Lastly, I’d say it’s a really friendly and supportive culture with fantastic people. I know everyone says that, but I think that’s one of the things that stands out at Barclays. Our employees consistently say the same thing about the support and the network they have here. You won’t find that it’s a cutthroat place or somewhere where people are competing against each other. You’ll find it’s a place where people will really support you and help you be successful.