FIRST HAND: RBS Assessment Centre, operations

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When I applied to RBS, I hadn't expected to end up in an assessment centre for an operations job. I originally applied for investment banking, but couldn't attend the final assessment centre due to another personal arrangement.

I was therefore asked by an HR if I would like to transfer my application to operations. Initially, I had very little knowledge regarding what a job in operations might include. After some quick research and reading, I decided the work didn't sound too bad, and accepted the invitation to attend the assessment centre for a summer internship.

I was scheduled into the afternoon session which runs from 1pm to 6pm. I arrived at the venue near Liverpool Street 15 minutes, early expecting to be the first there. To my surprise, nearly every one of the 10 candidates was already there waiting. They were from various academic backgrounds, such as mathematics, engineering, accounting and finance. In terms of universities, they were from LSE, UCL, Exeter, Manchester and others.

The interview

My first task was an interview with a line manager in operations. The interview was very standard and competency based with no difficult questions. The interviewer was very friendly and gave very clear instructions on how I should structure my answer.

I was asked the following questions:

Why RBS?

Why does operations attract you?

What would the day to day responsibilities of an operations analyst consist of?

Please give me an example of when you have taken initiative?

Please give me an example of when you have changed a process?

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

What would you say is your weakness?

The interview was well timed and organised. I was given time at the end to ask anything I would like to know about the bank and the role.

The Presentation

The next task for me was to prepare a presentation after reading through a set of materials. We were given 40 minutes to read through about 10 pages of an Economist-like article looking at how the financial crisis has hit Asia.

The time was very restricted on this exercise and I don't think any of us had time to actually reading through all the articles in great detail. My advice is to set out the structure of the presentation (heading of sections) on a pad of paper before reading the information.

The final presentation was five minutes long, and delivered to an assessor. I found it a quite straightforward since I tried to keep the presentation very structured and simple, leaving all the statistics for the questioning session. Following on from the presentation, there was a discussion with assessor in which I was asked the following questions:

How did you think you performed?

What would you have done better to prepare next time?

How did you find the exercise? Did you take any specific strategy when trying to complete this task efficiently?

There were also general discussions regarding the technical part of the presentation. For example, the assessor asked my personal view on Asia's recovery from the financial crisis.

Numeracy test

The mathematic test was very much like the SHL one that other banks use: 20 questions to be completed in 20 minutes. Under the assessment pressure, I actually didn't perform very well on the test. My advice would be to take a watch into the room and to skip any hard questions and come back to them if you have time left at the end.

Group Exercise

The last part of the day was the group exercise. We were spit up into groups of five and initially given 15 minutes to read through the task brief and the information (five pages including some graphs).

Our task was to represent a fictitious company and select several sporting events that the company might consider sponsoring for the following year. Since everyone was given unique information regarding a specific event, the group exercise kicked off with everyone making a two minute presentation on their unique information. Thereafter, we had 20 minutes to discuss the events and come up with a final sponsorship plan.

The task itself was very simple and easy to understand. Everyone in my group was very friendly and we actually were very efficient at completing the exercise. A great tip for the group exercise would be trying to participate as much as you can, but make sure everything you say is useful for the task.

That's everything for RBS Operations Assessment Centre! Wish everyone good luck for their future applications in the coming recruitment cycle!

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