‘Why Bank of America?’ How graduates and students should answer this question

25 Jan 2023, 13:32

The US-based bank likes to ask applicants ‘Why Bank of America?’ or a variation of this key motivational question; such as ‘Why do you want to work for Bank of America and this specific division?’. Read on for tips on crafting your response.

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Jump to: How to answer ‘Why Bank of America?’ | Following up on targetjobs’ advice | When will you be asked ‘Why Bank of America?’ | Final tips form targetjobs

You’ll be asked at least once during the recruitment process at Bank of America, ‘Why have you applied to Bank of America?’ Recruiters and interviewers will be keen to find out why you’ve chosen the bank over others and they will expect a considered response. We provide some suggestions to get you thinking.


Get more insights and application advice right here.

How do I answer ‘Why Bank of America?’

Thorough research into Bank of America and the role you’ve applied for is the key ingredient for crafting a stellar response to this question. Consider the following aspects for your answer.

Bank of America’s graduate training and development

According to Bank of America, the format and offerings of each graduate programme varies by business function but all full-time analysts receive extensive formal, ongoing training and development opportunities in addition to mentorship and networking opportunities. All employees at Bank of America also have access to a wide variety of competency and skill-based resources – from instructor-led classes to interactive web-based training videos, eBooks and more.

In the process of working for Bank of America you may acquire new skills or hone existing ones. What might those skills be and why would you enjoy learning them? How might they make you grow as a person? Jot down a list of all the possible gaps in your training and experience inside a circle drawn on a piece of paper. Give the circle the heading ‘What I’m motivated to learn/invest in my future’. Next, use Bank of America’s website – and any other sources of information including news reports – to research all of the skills Bank of America might require to ensure its success in the coming years. Write those in a circle headed ‘Investing in Bank of America’s future’. Typically, these skills might include attention to detail, teamwork and an ability to take a considered risk.

Which skills are in both circles? If the answer is ‘many’ then whittle them down to the one or two you’re most excited about and then, briefly, write a paragraph covering:

  • what the skills are
  • why you are excited about developing them
  • how that fits in with supporting Bank of America’s objectives.

Career prospects at Bank of America

Bank of America has always described career mobility as an important part of its culture. Its internal mobility policy is intended to help ambitious employees progress within the organisation; these can be moves both across and within different lines of the business.

Opportunities for IT and technical graduates

Bank of America has said that it is ‘revolutionising the technical possibilities of an entire industry’. IT and technology graduates will be part of this drive. For example, graduate technology analyst are involved in the building and maintenance of trading platforms for equity swaps, using technologies such as the Python and Java programming languages and the .NET framework. Would projects and technologies such as these excite you? Or maybe you’re a computer science graduate who wants a tech job with a commercial twist?

Collaboration across divisions

There’s a lot of collaboration across divisions at Bank of America – even internationally. Within corporate and investment banking, for example, cross-discipline teams support clients in key industries. Bank of America is keen to function as one big bank. Being able to network and collaborate with colleagues, as well communicate effectively, are essential. Maybe these are among your core qualities and you’re keen to develop them.

Strong client-employee relationships

Bank of America claims: ‘[We are] a company united in our purpose to help make financial lives better through the power of every connection. Our story is all about the impact clients and communities can have and the progress they can make. And we are here to serve them and to help them do it.’ All employees (both junior and senior) are encouraged to build their best working relationships with clients, which can involve travelling abroad for meetings. Maybe you’re a person who wants to excel in serving customers and you seek an employer that does this.


Head to the ‘Awards’ page on the Bank of America Newsroom platform and you’ll find that the bank has won industry awards for diversity, inclusion, products and services, governance, innovation and sustainability. Is it motivational for you to be part of a business that promotes itself as acting ambitiously to play a role in combating climate change? Or do you aspire to work for a financial investment institution that has gained industry recognition as being the best in the world for certain sectors of the economy?

Don’t just write, ‘I notice you have been awarded the American Carbon Registry Corporate Excellence Award for your climate actions and I admire that,’ or 'I’m drawn to the fact that you won the 2021 award for world’s best investment bank for the healthcare sector,' for example.

By themselves, statements like these can sound false and insubstantial. You’ll also need to say why being part of an organisation that has won these awards appeals to you and at least give brief evidence that you are capable of displaying ambition and forward thinking.

Head to this article to learn how you can demonstrate ambition to a graduate employer .

Chance to gain international experience

Future opportunities may include travel: Bank of America has branches all over the world from Qatar to Chile. Employees have traditionally been encouraged to explore new opportunities outside of their current group or region, so if travel excites you this could be a great reason to cite.

Bank of America is organised within four geographic divisions: Asia Pacific; Europe, Middle East & Africa; Latin America; and United States & Canada. Does the opportunity to work with and learn from colleagues around the world appeal to you?

The product and service range at Bank of America

Bank of America offers a range of different products and services to meet the needs of its client base – you can get an idea of what it offers by visiting its corporate website. Think about the effect this has on Bank of America’s position within the market. How might this affect how you feel about working for the bank?

How should I follow up on targetobs’ advice?

It’s essential that you don’t just take the above points and regurgitate them during the recruitment process. They’re intended to stimulate your imagination and give you some areas to think about when you’re researching the bank in preparation for the application form, interviews and assessment centre. So if, for example, you’ve chosen Bank of America because of the career prospects, you should now:

  • Do further research into this. Visit its graduate and corporate website, watch its careers videos on targetjobs and YouTube channel, seize opportunities to meet Bank of America on campus, at careers fairs (in person or virtual) or at its open days, and network with current and former employees. This will help you build on your own knowledge and enable you to communicate the reasons for your interest in a genuine and natural way.
  • Note down how you found out about the opportunities for career progression at Bank of America. For instance, maybe you spoke with current employees during a careers fair. Then you’ll be able to back up your response with something like, ‘After speaking with X from investment banking on campus…’.
  • Think of examples from university, work, extracurricular pursuits or elsewhere to support the reasons you give for choosing Bank of America. Maybe you showed great work ethic during a job while at university and were promoted to supervisor or given extra responsibility. This will show that you are driven and genuinely attracted to the career prospects at Bank of America.

When will I be asked ‘Why Bank of America?’ or one of its variations?

Your first encounter with the ‘Why Bank of America?’ question will be when completing the application form. Here, you’ll be asked to ‘describe the function of the division you have selected and why have you applied to Bank of America’ in 200 words.

After this, when undertaking the bank’s pre-recorded video interview, you may be asked ‘Why bank of America and this specific division?’ – as reported by one summer analyst intern on the Glassdoor website. Another summer analyst intern reports being asked the same question during a telephone interview, which they completed after passing the video interview assessment.

An interview is also one of the components of Bank of America’s assessment centre. Although we haven’t read any reports from past candidates guaranteeing that the bank’s recruiters will ask you the ‘Why Bank of America?’ question again at this stage, it’s always a possibility.

Do we have any final tips to help you answer, 'Why have you applied to Bank of America?'

If you want some extra guidance to help prepare your answer to the bank’s core motivational question, then you can head to the following articles.

targetjobs editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the targetjobs content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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