How to make the most of the Morgan Stanley application process, ace your interview and build your network

Last updated: 21 Jun 2023, 15:42

Tashaan Daniel works in the finance division at Morgan Stanley on the analyst programme. She explains how she aced the bank’s application process, focusing on preparation and networking.

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What kind of preparation did you do before applying to Morgan Stanley?

My application to join Morgan Stanley as an industrial placement student (while studying for an accounting and financial management degree at Loughborough University) was the first one I’d ever done, so I didn’t really know how the process worked. I really made use of my university careers department and they were so helpful throughout the whole application process. I was able to send them my cover letter, my CV and my application form and get some useful feedback. They have been through many applications before and they know what Morgan Stanley and many other companies are specifically looking for.

I prepared myself at the start of the application process by undertaking what you might think of as standard research of the company. My advice to all job hunters is that you should get to know as much as possible about the company and the role you are applying to. I also looked at Morgan Stanley’s core values, so I could align my answers. They want to know that you’re going to fit in.

What sort of research did you do?

Rather than just applying as if it were any other investment bank, I also researched the networks within Morgan Stanley so that I could give a more personal view on what my specific interests were. I wanted to stand out. I found speaking to other people who had been through a similar process or worked in this industry, gave me an insight into what sort of things a bank like Morgan Stanley is looking for, and that really helped me.

How did you successfully build connections during your recruitment process and how did that benefit you?

I networked at the assessment centre. Prior to that, I hadn’t had any face-to-face interaction with anyone from the firm, but it was easy to do that at the assessment centre. We were able to speak to some graduate trainees during our lunch break and that allowed me to have an informal chat and get a real perspective on the culture at Morgan Stanley and the roles we would potentially be stepping into. Investment banking comes with preconceptions – that the work is going to be cut-throat and everyone is really serious – but, of course, when you get to meet people it is completely different. Speaking to the graduate trainees put my mind at ease and gave me a real perspective on how they were actually finding it.

Another way I networked, somewhat unknowingly, was with the other candidates throughout the process in the assessment centre. By speaking to people in exactly the same position as you and getting their perspective on some of the tougher tasks you have to do – or just on how they are feeling – you relate to them. It helps keep you calm and relaxed throughout the process, instead of feeling anxious and bottling that up.

I’ve managed to keep in contact with a lot of the people that I met at the assessment centre, and those of us who were actually offered a role here were able to build a small support circle before we even started the firm. It makes everything a lot less daunting when you start because you know you’re not coming in on your own – you know a few faces here and there, and then when you are actually within the firm that is a really good starting point. Because you already know those people, who are all placed in different teams to you, your first point of call is networking with their team, as you meet them for lunch, for example. A lot of that kind of networking happens without you even thinking about it that much.

Any advice for candidates going through the interviews?

I would say be your true self, because that’s what Morgan Stanley is looking for; try not to conform to a stereotype you might have of an investment bank or of the people who work in an investment bank. The recruiters are interested in you, specifically, and how you can fit in with everyone that is already here – and everyone is so different. Also, try to demonstrate that you do have a genuine interest in Morgan Stanley.

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