Citi

Citi never sleeps: this behemoth is the largest financial services group on the planet. The bank’s global reach spans 160 countries; its network incorporates over 16,000 offices which are staffed by approximately 300,000 employees, working more than 200 million customer accounts.

7.0 / 10 1 reviews Overall Satisfaction

Pros

  • Good, approachable management team
  • Relaxed and cosmopolitan environment
  • Very diverse and international workforce
  • Vast global presence
  • Generous pay

Cons

  • Unclear promotion policies
  • The firm could do with better formal training
  • Citi never sleeps, you’ll put in the hours
  • There can be too much bureaucracy and red tape at times

Simply put, Citi Group is the largest financial services network on the planet. The bank has over 16,000 offices spread across 160 countries worldwide. More than 260,000 people work in these offices looking after the bank’s 200 million+ customer accounts. In short, Citi is a banking behemoth. And although still referred to by many as Citibank, the firm became simply ‘Citi’ during rebranding efforts in 2007.

 

A Bit of Background

Citi Group’s history stretches back almost 200 years to New York in 1821, with its inaugural steps in Europe coming later in 1902. However, a comprehensive family tree would reveal an earlier European lineage: the founding of the Polish Bank Handlowy w Warszawie SA in 1870, whom Citibank Poland merged with in 2001.

The firm’s current structure began to take shape in 2000, when it merged with London’s Smith Barney, the UK headquarters of Salomon Brothers, and Schroder plc. The result was a colossal pan-European investment bank, which would soon become the world’s largest financial services group. Then in 2009, Citi Group effectively sold a 51% majority stake of its Smith Barney brokerage by agreeing to combine it with Morgan Stanley’s brokerage division. A matter of days later, the firm announced that it would split the entire bank into two separate operational units: Citicorp would provide retail and investment banking services; Citi Holdings Inc. would supervise the group’s high risk investments.

Internationally, Citi has a pedigree befitting the world’s largest financial services group. The firm was one of the first Western banks to step into post-communist Eastern Europe, and now provides corporate and investment banking products and services to clients in Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Germany, Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic, Russia and Serbia. In 2006, Citi announced intentions to strengthen its financial services in the Middle East and Africa, as well as in Europe.

 

A Closer Look at Divisions & Departments

Citigroup’s corporate and investment banking business serves companies, governments and institutional investors, and provides capital and market access to thousands of issuer and investor clients.

The global banking arm provides strategic and financial advisory services, including: acquisitions, mergers, divestitures, financial restructurings, loans, foreign exchange, cash management and structuring, underwriting and distributing equity, debt and derivative securities. It offers these services to corporations, financial institutions and governments worldwide.

The global markets division offers its clients – corporate, institutional and retail investors – numerous services: equity, debt sales and trading platforms, institutional distribution capabilities and access to one of the biggest retail brokerage networks in the US.

As a heavyweight in underwriting and structuring, Citigroup is also renowned for sales and trading across all asset classes, including: equities, corporate bonds, government and agency bonds, asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities, syndicated loans, and structured and future products.

Lastly, the global wealth management branch at Citigroup lends its expertise to both private and institutional clients, with the significant advantage of encompassing three esteemed brands in wealth management: Citigroup private bank, Smith Barney and Smith Barney global equity research.

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Landing a job at Citigroup is a hard nut to crack. First up, did you graduate with top grades? Secondly, do you hail from a top UK or European university? What, you didn’t? It’s only the cream of the crop I’m afraid, so if you did, please read on.

Citi accepts applications from candidates of any discipline from a top university, but a degree in finance, business or engineering is definitely considered useful. No matter what your background, be prepared to stand firm during the application process as Citi is bound to question your career choice – so if you’re heart’s not in it, don’t expect to bag the job or internship on offer.

 

The Hiring Process

Although assessment for each business area varies, the hiring process normally involves an online application, comprising a cover letter and CV. Citi also asks you to take an online psychological test, designed to put your analytical and logical skills to the test. Those applying to operations, technology and HR will have to pass a logical reasoning test whereas applicants for the other divisions will have to master a numerical test.

The lucky few who pass this initial selection process can expect to be invited to two 40-minute business interviews, which will assess their personality, competences, relevant work experience and existing industry knowledge. It is pivotal you do your homework and know why you have applied to the specific department, as well as the firm and the industry. Also expect to take the psychometric test again on the day of the interviews and if you excel at this stage, you’re through to the final round consisting of an assessment day.

The assessment centre, held at Citi’s offices, will include more competency-based interviews, a case study presentation and a group exercise. The process for this is likely to vary for some programmes, but it’s good to know that group exercises and presentations are often based on a business case study – here it’s important not to rush things through and cooperate with fellow candidates when tackling these tasks. The case study involves reading 10 to 20 pages of information, which you will have to analyse and present. Don’t get irritated by the random questions thrown in between the presentation and remember to stand your ground. The interviews will once again probe your motivation although questions will not solely be technical as interviewers want to find out more about your background. Expect to be quizzed on any extracurricular activities and interests outside of banking and the usual ‘tell me about yourself’ scenarios. The firm will also test your commercial awareness by asking you questions such as ‘Who is Citi’s main competitor and why’, ‘Why did you choose your division?’ and so on.

 

Analysts – Get Ready to Fend off the Competition

For the approximately 200 graduate places on offer, Citi receives around 10,000 applications each year so be prepared to battle your way through the recruitment process. Graduates can specialise in most of the firm’s departments, including consumer banking and corporate functions, and entry roles are available internationally as associates and analysts on a two-year basis.

Analysts are placed in capital markets, corporate and investment banking, global transaction services, and sales and trading. The capital markets programme is a popular choice for graduates and involves undertaking market analysis, issue pricing, a good deal of investor communication and presentation preparation. Analysts complete four six-month seats and can expect to receive more training half-way through their rotation period. This is focused on your technical expertise and also reviews your personal performance so make sure you keep up with the firm’s fast pace.

No matter what division you decide to specialise in, training and career development go hand in hand during the analyst graduate programme. This usually starts off with a rigorous training course after which analysts begin work at their specific desks. In global transaction services, you’ll receive five weeks of training, aimed at broadening your knowledge of the financial markets, accounting, and firm products. Also get ready to put your party hat on and attend a host of social events aimed at improving your networking skills.

When applying for analyst programmes, keep in mind that Citi wants independent thinkers with strong problem solving skills. If you’re keen to work abroad, the firm usually requires you to be fluent in the local language so why not invest in that language course you’ve been meaning to do for ages. Some analyst programmes also involve relocations so be prepared to pack your suitcase when Citi is calling.

 

Associates – Come Armed with an MBA

Associates need to present the firm with a glitzy MBA and three to five years of work experience. They can work in similar departments as analysts, with the addition of consumer banking and corporate functions. Associate positions are very much management-based and the finance programme is one of the most coveted graduate schemes. During your hectic training period you can expect to get exposure to all of the firm’s finance divisions which include controllers, strategy and planning, treasury, M&A, and tax.

Financial management associates will have to complete three six-month rotations with an optional international rotation available. Formal training will start with an orientation designed to introduce graduate associates to the firm. Graduates will then move on to specific industry and product training sessions, which include four weeks studying accounting, credit/risk and financial analysis. So if you think your study days are over after leaving university, you’re wrong as training is a central part of Citi’s graduate programmes.

 

Summer Placements

Interested in Citi internships? The firm’s 10-week summer schemes are hugely popular with 150 places up for grabs each year. On average, 50 students apply for one post so roll your sleeves up and get ready to fend off the competition! Should you make it, you can look forward to excellent retention rates. Up to 60% of previous interns have been offered full-time positions upon successful completion of Citi’s summer scheme. Even if you are not offered a job afterwards, an internship is a great door-opener and will help you stand out from the crowd once you apply for a graduate programme at any other investment bank.

Citi offers internships in investment banking, capital markets, sales and trading, global transaction services, risk management, technology, operations and human resources. Citi’s summer placements give you a real flavour of the industry, and might even have you sightseeing the world – placements are offered in locations across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. So if you’re a keen traveller and in your penultimate year and if you’re looking for international work experience, you better not miss the mid-January deadline.

One-week business placements, which run during the spring, are also available for first-year students. While these are unpaid, they allow you to get to know the firm and vice versa – a good opportunity as you might find yourself being eyed up for a summer placement.

 

Citi Graduate Recruitment Info

Summer Analyst

Application deadline: Ongoing
Salary: Competitive
Location: London
Duration: Internship (1-4 Months)

Technology Opportunities Placement
Application deadline: Ongoing
Salary: Competitive
Locations: Location
Duration: Internship (1-4 Months), Placement Year (10 Months+)
 

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Stats

No. of Employees: 300,000
Approx. graduate hires in 2012: 250+
Approx. intern hires in 2012: 200

Salary

Interns: Competitive
Analysts: £35,000 - £50,000 (Approx.)
Associates: £45,000 - £75,000 (Approx.)
Vice President: £65,000 + (Approx.)
Director: £100,000 + (Approx.)

Departments

Consumer Banking
Corporate Functions
Global Cards
Global Wealth Management
Institutional Clients Group (ICG)
Investment Banking
Operations and Techonlogies - Procurement

The bank is quite bureaucratic, but people are friendly and willing to help you, especially when you're a newbie. There's definitely a work hard play hard attitude. The office has a real cosmopolitan feel to it (UK, US, Europe and rest of the world). Once a week a few of us will go out for drinks. We work long hours so (the more senior) people tend to want to see family when they are free.

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As an analyst I typically start my mornings around 9:30am, that’s the good part about working in investment banking... We don't have the very early morning starts that some of the trading desks have. Aside from that my hours are not the most sociable and most people work 80-100 hours a week…I am often in the office until 1 or 2am and work every other weekend. To be expected I guess but I would suggest living very close to work because the last thing you want to do at the end of a very long day is waste your precious time commuting!!

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I was taken through a standard online application with aptitude tests, then a first round interview that consisted of two personal/technical interviews and a final round in which I was asked to give a 20 minute technical presentation, followed by 4 half hour competency interviews.

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I usually spend a bit of time checking M&A related news and usually asked to do several different things, like help with a company presentation or client pitch, or I undertake some financial modelling, deal work, or help the team to look for M&A opportunities. Best part of the job is learning about the different industries and advising companies and other financial institutions on the best course of action to take; I also really enjoy learning about how valuations are undertaken.

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Locations

No. of offices: 12,000

London Office:
Citigroup Centre
33 Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5LB
Tel: +44 (0)20 7986 4000
www.citigroup.com

European Locations:
Austria
Belgium
Bulgaria
Czech Republic
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Ireland
Italy
Jersey
Kazakhstan
Luxembourg
Monaco
Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Russia
Serbia
Slovakia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Turkey
Ukraine
United Kingdom

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