Major banks are giving new graduates virtual introductions to careers in finance

Finance news

College students have been hit doubly hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and face disruptions to both their studies and job prospects. 

With hiring stalled at many companies — and more still operating remotely — many new graduates have been forced to put their career ambitions on hold. But those interested in a career in finance may have been offered a lifeline as major banks move to take their training schemes online.

Taking training virtual

Citi Asia Pacific last week completed two weeks of virtual recruitment for its analyst insights program, a free online course which will give some 4,000 students from 500 universities exposure to its various teams and operations.

It is the latest in a string of online training programs designed to give students and new grads a taste of a career in finance. 

HSBC, Standard Chartered, UBS, Deutsche Bank and Mizhuo are among the other big banks to launch fully virtual internships and graduate schemes for the first time this year, in a move that signals the industry’s move to embrace modern ways of working.

The courses typically involve a combination of e-learning, problem-solving projects, networking and mentoring schemes. For the first time this year, HSBC will also be offering new sessions in green finance, the future of banking and women in banking.

“This continued commitment to our internship program despite the current environment is not only the right thing to do, but also ensures our future workforce is ready to embrace a digital state of work,” Melissa Angerson, head of early careers at Standard Chartered, told CNBC Make It.

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Standard Chartered, which accepted 300 applicants from 15 markets for its global internship program, expects 60% of the markets to conduct the course entirely online. The remainder — namely those in Greater China and North Asia — will experience a “hybrid model,” combining physical and virtual elements. Participants of the five to six week course will receive the equivalent remuneration for the traditional 10-week internship. 

Further hiring ahead

As well as offering online training schemes, several of the banks have also committed to hiring the new graduates.

Standard Chartered has committed to placing all its 2019 graduates in full time roles at the end of their programs, while 500 positions will be made available primarily to 2020 interns. It is also planning to hire 280 graduates in Singapore and Hong Kong this year under a separate initiative.

Elsewhere, UBS has also committed to training and employing 300 graduates in Singapore over the next 18 months. The first cohort will see 150 join in October on a 60/40 work-study program, with two more intakes in Spring 2021 and Autumn 2022. A similar scheme will be made available to 60 graduates in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank’s Academy course will also offer students in their penultimate year of study an insight into banking. The two to three day course, which offers resume and interview tips, as well as a chance to speak to recent grads, runs in China in August and in Hong Kong in September. 

The recruitment drive comes as major firms have said they’re actively working to diversify their staff.

Last week, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon said there was “no excuse” why the bank’s recruits from top U.S. universities are not more diverse. In 2019, the bank set out aggressive diversity goals, stating that it wanted 11% of all new analysts hired in the U.S. to be black, 14% to be Latino, and half to be women, reflecting the country’s demographics. 

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