Bank of America Merrill Lynch is an American multinational investment bank division under the auspices of Bank of America. Four employees visited the University of Bath to discuss their departmental roles and provide students with information about opportunities to work with them.
Head of Trade and Supply Chain Product Management, Duncan Lodge, lead the talk along with three of his colleagues from Global Transaction Services (GTS). His role is based in trade finance; working to provide solutions which help manage the risks which arise when companies supply and trade around the world. His daily duties greatly vary - from meeting clients and coming up with new solutions, to managing his team or stakeholders. As a global company, he plays an important role in talking to his international colleagues and ensuring they’re all joined up; working towards the same end goal. Despite having worked with the company for only four months, he has a strong banking background in financial services, working with the likes of Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays.
Did Duncan always want to get into banking? The answer is no. He actually studied biology at the University of Nottingham. All he knew he wanted to do is work in business. To him, banking didn’t appeal as he ‘’didn’t want to play with a spread sheet for the rest of his career’’. But now, he can confirm it’s much more than that – it’s about stakeholder management and talking to people – much more than he’d ever expected. This also proves that they recruit not only Economics or Accounting graduates, but rather from all degree backgrounds.
GTS is one of many key pillars that form the overall structure of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, with others including the Global Markets Team, Equity Capital Markets, Debt Capital Markets, Investment Banking and Cooperate Banking. They have been in Europe for over 87 years; opening segments most recently in Switzerland back in 2015.
They have clients from all sectors, from healthcare and consumer/retail, to technology, media and telecoms, energy and power; working with brands like EasyJet, Apple and Disney. Their client base is changing rapidly and they’re keen to keep up with globalization trends. They’re looking to evolve fast to stay competitive.
If working for them is something that interests you, they offer two main programmes. The first is a one-week spring incite week which takes place in April. During this, you will get a flavour of banking; meeting people from different company roles and gaining an understanding of what a working day looks like. Applications close in January 2019; however, places are offered on a rolling places. Once places are gone – they’re gone! So, they advise that you get your applications in early.
The spring incite week is a great way to get onto their summer internship programs, which will run from June to August next year. During which, you’ll be embedded in a team and get the opportunity to network with the highly regarded employees. It’s important to note that graduate roles aren’t advertised. This is because they’re often filled by those who completed the internships. Let’s reiterate ‘get in early’ – even if you’re in first year, it’s something to think about now.
The application process starts with an online application, followed by a competence test. You should keep your CV brief – up to two pages; helping them to quickly see who you are. If successful, you will be invited to a screening call from someone in HR; during which they will cover some key ‘why’ questions, for example – why do you want to work for them? This could then lead you to an assessment centre where you are interviewed by a panel. You will be given a set of tasks, including a case study. Remember, at this point they already know you’re clever - they primarily want to see how you work in a team and communicate ideas.
When you apply, it’s important to specify why you are interested in working for them as a bank and what lead you to them. Be certain to link this back to the Bank of America, and not just ‘banking’. They want to know about you as a person – what have you got involved in at university? Do you take part in any extra-curricular activities? Finally, remember: you should be clear why you want to work with them. It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to stay in the banking industry forever – are you applying because they’re the best place to give you a strong set of foundation skills?
On the graduate programme, they really invest in you. You are able to network and access loads of resources, whilst being taught their ‘ins-and-outs’. You will be taught presentation skills and how to naturally network. All of this will enrich your career later on in life.