Operating 405 offices in 55 countries and employing over 50,000 people, this big Swiss cheese boasts the impressive ranking of Switzerland’s second-largest bank by revenue. A prestigious "bulge bracket" investment bank, Credit Suisse offers investment banking, private banking and asset management services to clients worldwide.
- One of the best firms for training and support
- Compensation is above the norm
- Thumbs up for diversity and a solid track record of promoting women
- Lots of perks and excellent on-site facilities
- Long hours and weekend work
- Lack of transparency in regards to pay and promotion sometimes
- Long interview process
- Communication from senior management to junior staff could be improved
- Bureaucratic and sometimes slow to adapt
Credit Suisse is the second-largest Swiss bank after UBS by revenue, and has offices in 26 countries. The firm has a history that spans more than 150 years, beginning in the mid-19th century when Alfred Escher founded Schweizerische Kreditanstalt (for our non-German readership, that’s Swiss-German for Swiss Credit Institution). The bank opened its first branch in Basel in 1905, and as World War II raged across Europe, Credit Suisse cut the red tape on its first international outpost in New York City in 1942. Over the following three decades, the bank grew within Switzerland, across Europe and internationally.
A Bit of Background
Having already established itself in the American market, Credit Suisse began its ‘cooperation’ with The First Boston Corporation in the US in 1978. Ten years later it acquired a controlling stake in the firm, after which the bank was renamed to Credit Suisse First Boston. The following year, Credit Suisse Holding was established as the parent company of the group. Various mergers, acquisitions and alliances continued through the 1990s, and merged banks ultimately became assimilated into the Credit Suisse identity.
While the 20th century proved to be a success story for Credit Suisse, the start of the new millennium fostered more economic growth, and a rearrangement of the organisation’s structure. In 2002, the group famously restructured into two streamlined business units: Credit Suisse Financial Services and Credit Suisse First Boston. Two years later, in 2004, the group reshuffled again, forming three business units: Credit Suisse, Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) and Winterthur. Later that year, CSFB made financial headlines as one of the principal underwriters of Google’s historic $23billion IPO. Finally in 2006, Credit Suisse did not only celebrate its 150th anniversary, but also rebranded and shifted its structure once again to an ‘integrated bank’ model, dropping the First Boston affiliation, and becoming once and for all , Credit Suisse. Since then the bank has made some clever marketing moves by announcing acclaimed tennis idol Roger Federer as its ambassador, and by regularly representing itself as a forerunner for environmental sustainability and charitable citizenship programs.
A Closer Look at Divisions & Departments
The firm has three central pillars to its business: investment banking, private banking and asset management. The investment banking division – which provides M&A advisory, equity and debt capital markets, private placements and leveraged finance services – is one of the world’s largest, most profitable and most renowned investment banks.
The private banking business – which provides investment counselling and asset management to high-net worth individuals – has a global footprint and is touted as one of the world’s largest private banking organisations. Within its global asset management business, the firm offers a wide range of products, including equities, fixed income, multiple-asset class products and alternative investments, such as real estate, private equity and hedge funds.Read all 66 employee quotes
Have you got the grades? Think of yourself as a natural leader? Do you thrive in result-driven environments? Do you possess an analytical mind? Think you’ve got what it takes to make it in investment banking? While all of this may be a good start, ability alone is often not enough to impress the big Swiss cheese. Credit Suisse hires very carefully to ensure personality and expertise fit in with its target-driven firm culture. Entry-level positions are highly sought after and the firm scouts worldwide, offering graduate and internship positions for those eager to embark on a career in this competitive industry.
The Recruitment Process
The recruitment process at Credit Suisse varies depending on the type of position you’re applying for. Internship candidates can expect a shorter procedure than those applying for graduate schemes.
Prospective interns will have to submit an online application form, which will be followed up by a telephone interview, an online assessment and – if you have made it this far – you’ll be invited to a structured interview. The application form will assess your qualifications and experience whereas the telephone interview will focus on competency-based questions such as ‘Give me an example of when you put your communication skills to use’. The online assessment consists of a psychometric test and if you have succeeded in all of these areas, you can expect to be grilled on you career motivation and industry-specific knowledge in the final interview.
The hiring process for grads is more prolonged, usually consisting of three parts: first, the online application; next, numerous rounds of interviews; and finally, an assessment day with even more interviews, case studies and written verbal and numerical tests.
Provided you impress with your online application, get ready for several rounds of rigorous interviews, in which you will meet everyone from senior analysts and associates, to VPs and managing directors. The firm takes interviewing very seriously, so only bankers who have been trained in the selection process can interview potential candidates. The first round usually consists of three separate interviews and these tend to be more technical in nature. Later rounds focus on whether a candidate is a good fit for the position, based on intellectual capacity, commitment to the firm and industry, logic and analytical abilities, as well as writing skills and ethical decision making.
Credit Suisse offers various graduate programmes that are aimed at Bachelor, Master, PhD and MBA graduates. Options are available in private banking, investment banking, asset management, information technology and shared services, so there should be sufficient schemes on hand to suit everybody’s interests. Typically, graduate schemes last between 12 to 18 months and are available at analyst and associate level.
For the firm’s analyst programmes, Credit Suisse accepts graduates of any discipline. Entry positions are available in a variety of business areas including those with a strong focus on management. Hence product, project, and relationship management are popular departments for analyst roles, but equally high in demand are the consulting and research groups. The actual training period is made up of a mix of formal and informal training opportunities, geared at developing candidates’ soft skills and technical knowledge of the financial market.
If you’re more the associate type, you will need to present the firm with an MBA from a top business school – but that’s not all, you’ll also need to have a few years of work experience under your belt. Associates are active in most of the firm’s departments and will be given extensive training throughout their contracts.
Those with a Master or PhD in a quantitative field such as maths, engineering or physics, can apply to the firm-specific graduate programme for quants. In want are those with excellent analytical and problem-solving skills, which you can expect to apply from day one. Positions are obtainable across numerous areas, including credit risk management and investment services and products.
Although internships are not exactly long-term career options, they can certainly be a first stepping stone to landing a full-time position, and especially with Credit Suisse. If you perform well during the internship, you may find yourself being invited to an interview for one of the firm’s graduate schemes. Duties during the internship vary and can range from looking into trade ideas, conducting research, keeping orders for clients and helping directors and VPs – overall a great way to get your foot in the door if you’re hell-bent on joining Credit Suisse’s ranks.
Credit Suisse offers two kinds of internships, one running over the summer and one over the course of six months. The summer internship lasts 10 to 12 weeks and is available in various business areas such as asset management, investment banking and IT. The scheme is aimed at providing participants with a real insight into the industry and the firm, with on-the-job training and social activities thrown in the mix. Those in their second year can apply for Credit Suisse’s summer placements, but must be aware that the bank only accepts candidates with an excellent academic history and genuine career motivation.
Classic internships are also on the menu and are open to both Bachelor and Master students. Undergrads must be in their penultimate year to be eligible while all candidates need to be happy as Larry when it comes to getting results and showing off your organisational qualities. Expect to manage your own projects and be given high levels of responsibility early on – but no worries, you should be closely supervised and the training on offer will ensure your daily work runs smoothly. Past interns who have performed exceptionally well during the internship have been offered contracts for the firm’s junior career programmes. So make sure you’re in it to win it!
Credit Suisse Graduate Recruitment Info
Contact: Graduate Recruitment Team
Full-Time Analyst/Associate Program –17th November 2013.
Summer Analyst Internship Program – 11th December 2013.
Industrial Placement (6 or 12 months) –11th December 2013.
Spring Program – 5th January 2014.
Quantitative Summer Institute – 11th December 2013.
Summer Associate Internship Program – 15th February 2014.
Autumn Internship Program –1st March 2014.
No. of Employees: 48,300
Approx. graduate hires: 275 / year
Interns: £1,000 to £3,000 / week (Approx.)
Analysts: £35,000 - £60,000 (Approx.)
Associates: £50,000 - £75,000 (Approx.)
Vice President: £75,000 + (Approx.)
Investment Banking Operations
There is a team orientated atmosphere where everyone is willing to help and give you their time, it's certainly not dog eat dog as it's occasionally portrayed. People work hard and there is a stay until you get the job done mentality, but we also have good fun out of the office and I've made some good friends and great contacts.Intern, LondonHelpful?
Roughly 8.30am until anywhere between 8.30pm – 12 pm depending on how much work I have that day.Intern, LondonHelpful?
I had an online application, standard graduate tests and then a day of interviews where I was assessed on competency and soft skills as well as a more technical finance based interview. After the interviews I took part in a group exercise with other candidates.Intern, LondonHelpful?
I was regularly given feedback on my work and there were regular informal feedback sessions with members of my team throughout the internship as well as a formal review at the end of the internship. I found that this really helped me get the most out of the internship as you quickly work out areas you can improve that you may not have been aware of.Intern, LondonHelpful?
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