Société Générale is one of the oldest banks in France and, over the course of the last 150 years, has grown into a domestic powerhouse with a strong international presence. In the UK, the bank offers a number of financial services for both corporate and private clients.
- Reasonable hours
- Friendly office environment
- Great ethnic and gender balance
- Strong remuneration packages
- Tight budgets and tough deadlines
- Management dominated by French based employees
- Lack of communication between departments
Founded in May 1864, Société Générale has developed into a commercial powerhouse in France and beyond; boasting a significant international presence. Now employing more than 160,000 people around the world, the bank is highly client focused and caters to the needs of a variety of customers, from individuals all the way up to multi-national corporations.
Société Générale’s UK operations are divided into four business areas: investment and corporate banking, private banking, financial securities services and, finally, specialised financial services. In the UK, Societe Générale employs almost 2,300 people who are split between the bank’s head office in the City of London and offices across the length of the country from Southampton to Edinburgh.
Nicknamed ‘SocGen’ in the financial world, the bank was nationalised following World War II and the French government remained the bank’s only shareholder until 1987 when the bank was privatised.
Although the bank has been involved in a number of high profile acquisitions, alliances and mergers since its incorporation almost 150 years ago, the most recent was in 2009 when Société Générale formed an alliance with fellow competitors Crédit Agricole, agreeing to combine their asset management operations. Although Crédit Agricole hold the lion’s share of the business, (70%), the combination of the two banking heavyweights means that the new entity, Amundi, is the fourth-largest asset manager in Europe and ninth internationally.
The years since the start of the global financial crisis have been uneven times for the bank to say the least. As well as being affected by the crisis, the bank lost €4.9billion following allegedly fraudulent trading by Jérôme Kirviel, a junior trader with the bank. SocGen appeared to re-find its footing in early 2011 but ended the year with its shares losing over 50% of their value after unfounded rumours that the firm was headed for bankruptcy were circulated in the press and online. SocGen successfully sued the Mail on Sunday for damages for their part in this.
Société Générale Corporate & Investment Banking Global Graduate Programme offers a 2 year financial course to approximately 1,000 graduates from all over the world every year. Programmes take place in the following business disciplines: Capital Markets, Investment Banking & Global Finance, Accounting & Finance, Operations, Information Technology.
As part of the grad scheme, you will receive support and ongoing development in a variety of different forms; from on-the-job training to a mentoring scheme. A degree in business or engineering is a must and candidates who have both experience within the banking industry and a second language at their disposal will be at a distinct advantage.
The application process begins with a form covering academic history and personal interests before a telephone interview probes a little deeper into candidates backgrounds; looking at experience and skills relevant to the graduate scheme. While the phrasing may vary, expect questions along the lines of, ‘What skills make you outstanding?’, ‘What are your long term career goals?’, ‘When have you worked well under pressure?’, and ‘When have you demonstrated good teamwork?’ The final phase of the process will be an assessment centre which is likely to be held in London.
No. of employees worldwide: 160,000
No. of employees in the UK: 2,300
Annual graduate intake: 1,000 from all around the world
Graduate starting salary: £25,000
Accounting & Finance
Investment Banking & Global Finance