‘Why Bank of America?’ How graduates and students should answer this question
You’ll be asked at least once during the recruitment process at Bank of America, ‘Why have you decided to apply to us?’ Recruiters and interviewers will be keen to find out why you’ve chosen Bank of America over other banks, and a considered response will be expected. We’ve provided some suggestions to get you thinking.
Bank of America’s graduate training and development
According to Bank of America, the format and offering of each graduate programme varies by business function but everyone is offered ‘access to a wide variety of competency and skill-based resources – from instructor-led classes to interactive web-based training to videos, eBooks and more – all available to support your ongoing professional development’.
In the process of working for Bank of America you might enjoy acquiring new skills or honing new ones. What are those skills 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 in a circle drawn on a piece of paper. Give the circle the heading ‘What I’m motivated to learn/investing 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, team work, 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. An employee who had worked in eight different teams at Bank of America commented: ‘You could literally pursue hundreds of different career options within the bank.’ Are you a go-getter looking for opportunities to thrive?
Opportunities for IT and technical graduates
Bank of America says that it’s ‘revolutionising the technical possibilities of an entire industry’. IT and technology graduates will be part of this drive. A trainee tech developer at Bank of America has said: ‘I’m currently working on a Java-based system that formats market data for quantitative analytics.’ Would projects such as this one 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. For example, within corporate and investment banking cross-discipline teams support clients in key industries. For the sake of delivering excellent client service, 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.
A strong client-employee relationship
Bank of America claims: ‘Our purpose is simple and clear. We are here to make financial lives better. Better by connecting our customers and clients to the financial solutions they need.’ All employees (both junior and senior) are encouraged to build the best working relationships with clients, which can involve travelling abroad for meetings. The bank says: ‘We strive to go the distance to deliver with discipline and passion.’ Maybe you’re a person who wants to excel in serving customers, and seek an employer that does this.
Search online and you’ll find that Bank of America has won industry awards for innovations. Is it motivational for you being part of a business that promotes itself as cutting edge in a competitive market place? Don’t just write, ‘I notice you have won awards for innovation and excellence from trade publication Treasury Management International, and I admire that’. By itself that can sound false and insubstantial. You’ll also need to say why being part of an innovative environment appeals and at least give brief evidence that you are capable of your own innovative thinking and working.
Chance to gain international experience
Future opportunities may include travel: Bank of America has branches all over the world from Qatar to Belgium. Employees are encouraged to explore new opportunities outside 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 with rich and far-reaching experiences appeal to you?
Vast 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?
What you should do now
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 organisation 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 YouTube, seize opportunities to meet Bank of America on campus or at its open days, and liaise with current and former colleagues. 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 worked very hard 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.