Why did you join RBC?
I attended an RBC networking event in Oxford at the start of my third year of university, and found that I really liked the people whom I met. I had no prior experience in investment banking, but was encouraged to apply on the basis of the positive comments I had read and heard regarding RBC’s culture (as per the famous ‘RBC nice’ epithet) and its growth trajectory, both here in Europe and internationally.
What was the graduate programme like?
Upon joining in the July after graduation, we undertook eight weeks of comprehensive training, including four weeks in Toronto. This training was a great way to get people from non-financial backgrounds, such as myself (my academic focus was philosophy), up to speed, but it was also good fun and an excellent way to build networks within my intake across RBC’s global network of offices.
Our programme is rotational, so I began my first year with five months in our Infrastructure team, working on M&A, debt and equity financing situations. The team is one of the largest in Europe, so I was able to get exposure to a wide variety of live situations.
My second rotation, and eventual permanent placement, was in the Debt team, covering Leveraged Finance, Acquisition Finance and Syndication. The best things about this role are the way that we provide product support across sectors (I have worked on everything from diamond mining to household waste management) and the way that we are exposed to market trends in both the high yield and leveraged loan spaces.
The team’s role is to originate and structure debt financings, often supporting a private equity firm in a Leveraged Buyout (‘LBO’) of a target company, and then to sell this debt into the bank and institutional markets. As an analyst, my main responsibilities are financial modelling, including assessing businesses on a variety of credit metrics, due diligence on companies to which we propose to lend, and the preparation of internal credit papers. I also support the team throughout the negotiation of documentation for a deal.
What makes RBC different?
I have had a great few years working at RBC. We’ve been able to close some important deals, and I’ve certainly learnt an awful lot about the world of finance. I’d pick out the rotational programme and smaller, friendly teams as key differentiators at RBC. Investment banking is an intense career path no matter which firm you’re at, but there’s a lot of support here to make sure that junior bankers are able to learn and develop in their careers.
What was the application process like?
The application process was very similar to most other financial companies and very straightforward. I completed an online application, which included answering three questions and sending my CV before progressing to online testing. From there I was invited for a first round interview with two business representatives. These questions were a mix of motivational, competency and technical questions. Although it was a challenging 30 minutes, I was made to feel very relaxed by the business assessors and they gave me an insight into the culture at RBC.
A week later I was invited to an assessment centre consisting of a group exercise, two interviews and an individual presentation. Each interview was quite different but again I was made to feel comfortable and like it was an open dialogue. I was able to learn a huge amount about the firm, its culture and the type of work I would be doing and appreciated the opportunity to speak to such senior members from the business.
My biggest piece of advice is to be confident and ask lots of questions. Make sure you do your preparation about the firm and why you want to work for them and be enthusiastic and engaged.
Tips & tricks
Before the interview
- Research the organisation and the industry within which it operates
- Research the role you are applying to and its function within the business
- Think about what you find interesting about the role and the organisation
- Remember that interviewers don’t just want to hear stories about what you have done, but also see that you have reflected on these experiences.
During the interview
- Don’t launch straight into your answers – it’s OK to take a moment to think about what you want to say
- Structure your answers – use the STAR method
- Show that you can listen as well as speak
- Be enthusiastic and show interest – ask lots of questions at the end
- Relax and try to enjoy it!
- Group exercises are very hard to prepare for as the nature and type of activity that you will be performing is varied and unpredictable, however assessors will want to check if you can:
- Work as part of a team
- Work with others under stressful conditions
- Communicate well with others
- Influence others
- Problem solve as a group.