How to demonstrate the core competencies UBS looks for in graduates

Image for How to demonstrate the core competencies UBS looks for in graduates

Throughout the UBS application process, you are likely to be measured against seven core competencies to establish whether you’re suitable for the job. Here you can find out how to demonstrate the skills needed for UBS careers in your application, online assessments and interviews.

The final stage or the UBS application process for graduates is a series of interviews; depending on Covid-19, these may be either virtual or face to face interviews at one of its offices. You’ll meet your future line manager and potentially senior leaders in the business.

UBS core competency 1: problem analysis

Whether you’re working in UBS’ investment banking, global wealth management or asset management division, chances are you will run into obstacles that you’ll be expected to overcome. Analysis is a major part of problem solving because you will have to weigh up and scrutinise information to come up with a solution. Find out more about problem solving .

Make sure you have prepared an example from university, work or your extracurricular activities when you faced and overcame a problem. You could be asked specifically about this at interview .

Remember to think about and include the analytical part of the process. For example, perhaps you organised a charity auction and realised before the event that you didn’t have enough lots. If you then assessed the likely outcome of selling fewer items on the day and thought about how you could get hold of more stuff to sell at short notice, you’ll have demonstrated problem analysis.

UBS core competency 2: judgement and decision making

The ability and confidence to use your own judgement and make decisions will be just as important in your first year at UBS as they will be in your tenth. For instance, as a wealth management analyst you will be expected to co-produce financial plans/reports for different clients. This will involve making judgements and decisions on what information to include. If you had a taste of this type of responsibility during an internship, mention it in interview .

UBS core competency 3: innovation

In the financial services market, banks compete by being innovative. New ideas, having the courage to go against the grain and trying things out are essential to help the bank not only move with the times but get ahead of them.

If you’ve done anything innovative – such as setting up a finance society while at university – your application form is a great place to discuss it if you are asked a question such as: ‘Please provide details relating to your hobbies, activities and interests. Also include any additional information you think is relevant to your application, including positions of responsibility, membership of any student or other organisations, travel experience or scholarships’. Or mention such accomplishments at interview , when asked a question along the lines of ‘What makes you stand out from other applicants?’ or ‘Why do you think you will fit in at this bank?’.

UBS core competency 4: communication and impact

UBS seeks graduates who are effective communicators. This requirement exceeds being able to convey information clearly and succinctly; it is also about being persuasive, influential, tactful and engaging.

From application form stage through to the interviews , recruiters, assessors will scrutinise your communication skills. Read our guidance on effective communication to avoid falling short in this area.

UBS core competency 5: drive and commitment

Your university degree and any additional activities you were involved in during your course, such as extracurricular interests or societies, will be good examples to draw on in your application and at interview to prove that you have the drive and commitment that UBS is looking for.

Perhaps you took a part-time language course while completing your degree; this will prove that you’re motivated – and UBS also seeks strong language skills. Or maybe you’re a long-serving volunteer at a charity; again, this will show your commitment.

UBS core competency 6: teamwork and collaboration

UBS interviewers are known to ask competency-based questions to find out if you have developed a required skill through hands-on experience. To find out how well you work with others, interviewers might ask something along the lines of: ‘Tell me about a team project that you worked on’. Prepare examples so you can answer any teamwork questions without hesitation. Have you worked on a student newspaper? Did you go on a group field research trip as part of your degree course? Think about your contribution to the team’s success.

UBS core competency 7: planning and organising

A graduate programme at UBS will comprise a blend of intensive training and work – UBS wants you to be able to make a contribution to the team as soon as possible. It won't go unnoticed to prove that you can organise and plan your workload during the recruitment process. It’s worth attending any interviews with project management examples in mind.

Spotlight organisations

Get inspired