This investment banking giant has offices in almost 30 countries, over 25,000 employees and is part of Barclays Bank PLC – a global umbrella which can trace its roots back to the 17th century, making it one of Britain's oldest banks.
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This IB giant has offices in almost 30 countries and employs more than 25,000 staff – resources it mainly devotes to providing large corporate, government, and institutional clients with solutions to their financing and risk management needs.
One of Britain’s oldest banks, Barclays was founded in 1690 on London’s Lombard Street by John Freame and Thomas Gould. However, it was almost 50 years before the firm became associated with the name Barclay when Freame’s son-in-law, James Barclay, became partner in 1736. More than a century later in 1896, several banks in London and the English provinces united under the banner of Barclays and Co. This joint-stock bank became known as the Quaker bank. With 182 branches and deposits of £26 million, Barclays and Co. expanded rapidly with a strategy of acquisition, taking over major national banks at that time. In 1918, the company merged with London, Provincial, and South Western Bank to become one of the UK’s then ‘big five’ banks. Barclays and Co’s steep success was particularly reflected in the massive increase of its outlets. By 1926, the bank had established 1,837 branches across the country. With the absorption of three international banks – the Colonial Bank, the Anglo Egyptian Bank, and the National Bank of South Africa – the firm’s roving eye moved to new horizons, giving way to Barclays’s global operations. Unsurprisingly, the company’s profits catapulted with business being added in much of Africa, the West Indies and the Middle East.
However, it wasn’t until the 1980s when Barclays’s international expansion gained momentum with the launch of its investment banking operation in 1986, which eventually developed into Barclays Capital – now a major division of the Barclays Group. In more recent news, Barclays made international headlines when it agreed to buy Lehman Brothers’ US investment banking business for $2 billion in September 2008 – just one day after the struggling North American bank had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The deal included Lehman’s equity, fixed income and M&A advisory units, not to mention its NYC headquarters, two New Jersey offices and 10,000 or so employees.
Having moved from a cluster of English partnerships to a global bank represented in every corner of the world, the Investment Bank provides large corporate, government and institutional clients with a full spectrum of solutions to their strategic advisory, financing and risk management needs. Private equity also falls under Barcap’s purview, with the firm standing confidently amongst Europe’s leading mid-market PE investors. In addition, Barclays has expanded its scope over the past couple of years, and in addition to its traditional fixed income origination and trading businesses, it has built new franchises in Equities and M&A.
Barclays main divisions within the Investment Bank are global markets (e.g. fixed income, emerging markets, commodities, equities, fund solutions, credit) and investment banking (corporate finance, M&A, restructuring, global finance & risk solutions). Some of the firm’s most lucrative services within the global markets department include commodities and credit solutions while in investment banking corporate finance is doing particularly well. The company also boasts a large, dedicated research department; other functions focus on generating infrastructure funds and natural resource investment.
It is not all about business at Barclays though – the firm is also highly committed to environmental sustainability and charitable initiatives. The company is a prominent sponsor of cultural enterprises and provides financial support to charities worldwide. Moreover, Barclays actively puts measures into place to reduce its impact on the environment, largely through its global environmental management system.Read all 30 employee quotes
Barclays hires graduates and interns on a rolling basis with applications being accepted from August each year. Applying early is certainly a wise thing to do as places tend to fill quite quickly – with only 250 European graduate roles available each year. Hopefuls should also bear in mind that Barclays looks to recruit those with strong academic credentials, business awareness, and a professional approach to work. Graduate positions at the Investment Bank are available as analysts, associates or quantitative associates while internships are also on hand.
The Recruitment Process
The application processes for the various graduate programmes and internships are very similar. Start with filling in an online application form that will question you on your qualities and knowledge of the investment banking industry. This will be followed by an aptitude test, designed to assess your logical reasoning and thinking performance. Make the grade and you’ll be invited to complete a verbal reasoning test. Pass both these tests – well done – and you’re through to round two.
After your application’s been screened, you’ll sit a phone interview where you’ll be quizzed on your competencies and motivation for applying for the role. Tick this penultimate box and a final assessment event awaits: you’ll meet senior management and have the chance to demonstrate your abilities through the mediums of individual and team exercises. The assessment centre is known to be long and tiring – expect questions to focus on your technical ability, your personality and career motivation. The first day will involve group exercises, a case study, and a presentation. Remember that the firm is not only interested in your skills and knowledge, but also in your persona so it’s best to be yourself during this lengthy process. Questions in the interviews involve the usual stuff from ‘Why Barclays?’ to ‘Why this position and division?’ to ‘Where do you see yourself in three years?’.
If you think the recruitment process for internships will be easier to master, I’m afraid you’re mistaken – it follows the exact same format.
Graduate Programmes at Barclays
There are three main graduate schemes at Barclays so if you’re dreaming of becoming an analyst, associate or quantitative associate, you can make that dream come true – provided you fulfil all the entry requirements.
Analysts need an undergrad degree, though a Master’s in a finance-related discipline would certainly help. Advanced numeracy and communication skills are also expected, as are intellectual stamina, and strong problem-solving competences. Like many roles at the firm, fluency in another language is certainly a plus point so it’s worth digging up those dusty French or German textbooks before you apply. Barclays lists specific avenues available for wannabe analysts, including compliance, risk, investment banking, operations, quantitative analytics, research, sales, structuring, trading, treasury and technology. Pick and choose carefully as the firm is keen to hear why you want to work in a specific division.
MBAs and PhDs
Those wanting to secure a role as an associate will have to come armed with an MBA, or at least be working towards one. In addition, you’ll need some impressive work experience on your CV and be able to demonstrate skills such as leadership, teamwork and international awareness. You also need to feel happy about being given high levels of responsibility early on. Additionally, candidates need to demonstrate a sound knowledge of project management so organisational skills are considered a definite must. The avenues available include strategic planning, investment banking, global financial risk management, research, sales, structuring and trading.
The quantitative associate is a role for the more technically-minded, involving the development of international models for trading and risk management activities. You should have gained or be working towards a PhD in a relevant technical discipline such as maths, physics or engineering. However, all is not lost if your qualifications don’t quite live up to this level of academia. You’re still within a chance if your postgrad course and analytical understanding is up to scratch, though you’ll need to gen up on numerical methods, coding, probability and stochastic calculus.
Internships are a great way to get that first insight into the company whilst also spicing up your CV with work experience. Barclays offers a few off cycle internships at the analyst and associate level although the 10-week summer internships, starting in June and aimed at penultimate or final-year students, are often the most popular. Don’t discard off-cycle internships which last for up to six months. Most internship opportunities in EMEA are available in London, but if you’re lucky you might be able to snap up a position in some of the firm’s European offices. When you apply, also keep in mind that you need to select a particular division for your placement so make sure you know which one!
For first year students, or those in their second year of a four year course, Barclays offer a week long insight programme (based in either Front Office or Infrastructure) giving you the opportunity to find more about the firm through presentations, training sessions, work shadowing & networking opportunities.
If you wonder what life is like at Barclays, you can get your pen and paper ready as both grads and interns will have to sit through a few training sessions. These will consist of a diverse mix of lectures, presentations and other interactive activities. Training focuses on your commercial knowledge, your technical and product skills, as well as your professional development and qualifications. The initial training programme for graduates will be particularly rigorous, lasting around five to seven weeks and is aimed at providing the newly hired with a real understanding of the business world, which is not as glamorous as you might think! Analysts and associates will also receive in-depth training on accounting, valuation, financial modelling and credit analysis. However, you’ll also have some fun in between all the studying with social events taking your minds off work.
Barclays Graduate Recruitment Info
Graduate programme info
Approximate graduate hires in 2012-2013: 250
Length of grad programme: 1 year
Application deadline: 15 November 2012
Approximate intern hires in 2012-2013: 300
Length of internship: Summer internship 8 to 10 weeks. Longer off cycles opportunities available
Application deadline: From 1 August 2012. Internships: 31 December 2012
No. of employees company-wide: 25,000+
No. of graduate roles: 250
Interns: £800 to £2,500 / week (Approx.)
Analysts: £32,000 - £50,000 (Approx.)
Associates: £50,000 - £75,000 (Approx.)
Vice President: £70,000 + (Approx.)
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