eFinancialCareers: upReach CEO on supporting applications to highly competitive banking graduate schemes

John Craven, Chief Executive Officer of upReach, talks with Sarah Butcher of eFinancialCareers on the support upReach provides Associates for competitive graduate schemes in banking.  

They say that getting a first job in financial services is a difficult business; the success rate is often less than 1%.

John Craven, a former director of structured products and cross-asset solutions at Merrill Lynch and SocGen, now runs upReach, a charity that helps students from non-privileged backgrounds* get top jobs.  Craven says his students are encouraged to apply for banking jobs they’re interested in, rather than banking jobs that are easily accessible – and they’re successful: of 90 students on upReach’s banking program, 46 have already received offers.

“You have to be very well prepared to get a graduate offer from a bank,” says Craven. “You need to do a lot of research into the area you want to go into, and you need a genuine interest in the industry.” You also need to be highly familiar with banks’ recruitment process – it’s no good deciding you want to work in banking at the end of your second year, you need to be in the game from your first year at university. Craven says the students he coaches attend first year insight days and spring weeks before applying for the second year summer internships that lead to full time jobs.  They also participate in skills workshops, mock interviews and online tests. “If you know the application game, you have a much higher chance of success,” Craven says. Don’t be deceived by the raw numbers.

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