The recruitment process for MUFG’s graduate programmes consists of an online application, a telephone interview and an assessment day. The telephone interview has in previous years been carried out by a member of the bank’s human resources (HR) team and lasted around 30 to 40 minutes.
Gemma Adams, then HR director at MUFG, said the interview typically comprises questions that fall into five categories.
1) Academic achievements
The interviewer will delve deeper into your degree and ask questions such as: ‘What did it involve?’ and ‘What did you enjoy most and why?’ You should discuss specific modules and assignments that you have genuinely enjoyed, as you will naturally speak enthusiastically about them (passion is a quality recruiters look for in applicants).
Ensure that your examples also show that you have the skills that MUFG seeks in graduates, which include excellent communication and teamwork. Perhaps during your geography degree, for instance, you took part in fieldwork, group walks, interviews and geographical research, and proved your ability to develop good working relationships with others.
Promote the transferable skills in your non-finance degree
Although MUFG is keen to take on graduates from different degree disciplines, it’s possible that you’ll be asked about your degree choice – especially if you chose a subject that isn’t obviously related to finance, such as geography. Promote the relevant knowledge and skills that you developed, such as research, data collection, and data analysis and presentation, to show that you have the required competencies and will bring talent to the table.
- More information on how to promote your non-finance degree during the recruitment process for an investment graduate job.
2) Work experience
The recruiter will ask you about the work experience that you have mentioned on your CV. They’ll be keen to establish how well suited you are for the analyst programme, and will evaluate this by assessing the knowledge and skills you can show you have developed in a professional environment.
As well as emphasising any finance internships, which will show you have worked in an environment similar to MUFG’s and are interested in finance, discuss your other jobs. For example, maybe you worked your way up to supervisor at a fashion retailer; this would demonstrate your commitment and leadership potential (attributes MUFG looks for).
Don’t simply list your duties and responsibilities over the phone (this information in this format will already be on your CV). Instead, highlight something notable, such as your achievements or when you overcame a challenge. This will show that you’re driven and have what it takes to add value to the business.
3) The industry
‘You will be asked some specific questions about financial services and a few questions to see how much they read the press,’ said Gemma. A risk analyst at MUFG advises: ‘Do your homework. Read about the different markets in which the global bank operates. And make sure that you know what is happening in the financial news.’
Visit the bank’s corporate website for an overview of its services, which fall into three broad categories: consumer business/private banking, corporate and investment banking, asset management/investor services/real estate. Research the area to which you have applied thoroughly, focusing on what it does, the divisions of the bank it interacts with and who its clients are.
Once you have a good grasp of the bank, find a few topical news stories about the potential impact financial, political and global events could have (or are already having) on its profitability and business strategy. The ‘news’ section of the bank’s corporate website is a good place to start, while Reuters and Bloomberg are good international news sources.
4) Curveball investment questions
Gemma said: ‘A few curveballs will be thrown into your interview to find out if you know what some trading techniques and investment products actually are. You could be asked, for example: “Can you give an overview of what a certain product is in one sentence?” It becomes evident when asking those questions who really has a passion for the markets and who doesn't.’
Learn about some trading techniques, such as day trading (which is when you buy and sell a stock within the same day) or staying in cash (which is when you don’t enter the market). Also familiarise yourself with investment products such as stocks, bonds, currency and gilts. Visit Investopedia and our glossary for descriptions of terms and phrases that you don’t fully understand.
If you can relate your findings to topical events, you’ll be well equipped to respond to unexpected investment questions. Because even if you can’t answer the specific question the interviewer asks, you’ll be able to respond with something along the lines of, ‘I don’t have much knowledge about that, but X is a good option because...’
A response like this will show that you are a lateral thinker who can think on your feet and find solutions, which are qualities MUFG will be looking for in this interview. It will also demonstrate your technical knowledge and prove that you’re truly interested in finance.
Other reported curveball questions have included, ‘Describe a time when you’ve failed’ and 'Tell me about a time when you worked with people from different cultures.'
5) Motivations and aspirations
‘We wrap up the phone interview looking at why you want to work for MUFG and what you want to do long-term,’ said Gemma. To prepare for questions such as ‘Why have you decided to apply to us?’, ‘What attracts you to this position?’, ‘Why do you want this job?’ and ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’, you must have a good understanding of what the business does, the day-to-day job, and how your interests and experience make you a good fit. You should also be able to talk confidently about your career goals and how the job will help you to achieve them.