Interviews and assessment centres

How to ace the technology analyst’s interview and assessment process at Morgan Stanley

21 Jun 2023, 15:42

Technology associate Sabrina Singh first completed a spring insight week at Morgan Stanley in 2019 while studying for a bioengineering MEng at Cambridge University. She returned for a seven-week internship as a technology summer analyst working in the enterprise engineering stream in 2020, and now works in Morgan Stanley’s database operations team.

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What did the recruitment process for Morgan Stanley’s spring insight week involve?

When you’re applying for an insight week (usually in your first year at uni) you have to show your passion for the role because you don’t have the same technical or financial background that someone applying for a graduate job would have. Because I was applying for a financial role I researched fintech and looked at what was going on in other firms, and made sure that I talked about current and financial events and my passion for the industry in my application.

I got through to the assessment centre and was determined to make an effort to chat to everyone there on the day, including the other applicants. There were two managing directors at the centre with us and I would say, don’t be afraid to engage with people who are high up in the company. If they are there at the assessment centre it’s for a reason – they want to be involved in the recruitment process and they are interested in you.

It may sound strange, but I enjoyed my interviews. I got to learn a lot during the process. At one of my more technical interviews in particular I picked up a lot of knowledge that I didn’t have before and it was great to sit opposite someone and learn from them.

How did you relate the skills needed for your role in tech to your degree and your background?

Despite coming from a non-tech background (I studied bioengineering), I caught up pretty quickly with those who had studied a tech degree because of the training offered.

Morgan Stanley puts you on a 15-week technology analysts’ programme when you start [in tech]. You attend lectures and small group sessions with an instructor who is external to Morgan Stanley and it is very much like being taught at uni or school again. That – the fact that the firm puts a lot of effort into it and effectively teaches you all the technology skills you need during those 15 weeks – specifically attracted me to Morgan Stanley. It’s a really big part of their graduate recruitment into the technology roles and I don’t personally know of any other banks or finance firms that offer that level of training to their technologists when they start.

When I came here on the spring insight week I had never touched code in my life before, but Morgan Stanley put on a couple of sessions talking about the roles and I found that information useful. It was when I came back for the summer analysts’ internship that I picked up a lot of the skills that I use in my job now, such as project management. And, actually, I took a lot of those skills back to university with me to use during my final year and in my fourth-year project. New skills can be relevant in both areas of life: you can pick up skills through your education and study or whatever you are doing, which can be used in Morgan Stanley, and you will pick up skills at any of the pre- full-time roles – such as summer analyst, spring insight or placement year positions – that you can take back to your university with you.

How do you talk about your skills at interview?

Added soft skills – such as working with people within a team, and talking about what you are doing within university societies, charities or any volunteering that you undertake – are all good for showing your communication skills. I was treasurer for a couple of university societies and that experience taught me quite a lot about finance and money, which I could then talk about in my interviews. No matter what you have done you can relate those skills to working in a firm, especially here at Morgan Stanley, because it is such a large company.

Any final tips for the Morgan Stanley interview?

Ask questions. At the end of most interviews the interviewers will give you the opportunity to ask one or two questions and you should absolutely make the most of it because it’s not just about them interviewing you; it’s also a chance for you to work out if this is a good firm and a good fit for you. There is no point applying for a job that you think you are going to be unhappy in, so go ahead and use the opportunity to find out what you need – ask those questions. Having been on the other side of the interview process now, I can tell you that people love to be asked questions.

Get more from Morgan Stanley

This is one of a series of articles aimed at helping graduates ace the interview and assessment process. Click on the links below to read more and to find out more about Morgan Stanley and its vacancies.

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