Earlier this year I applied to the Lloyds Banking Group’s Future Executives Programme which is open to MBA graduates. When I first saw the programme it really excited me as you get the opportunity to work in two rotational placements in the first two years which then prepares you for a leadership role in the group. The programme is looking to find the leaders of tomorrow so they are looking for future leaders with ambition, people who like dealing with complexity and are able to deliver within a large scale business. This is the first time they have run this programme and you can read more about it here: http://www.lloydsbankinggroupmba.com
I was not really looking for a job at the time but I decided to put in an application anyway.
In order to apply you need to have completed your MBA or have completed your MBA by October 2012. I graduate in September so that was the first stage passed. You also need to have 230 UCAS points from your A-Levels. The application form is fairly straightforward with no surprises.
2. Numerical Reasoning Test
Within a week I received an email telling me that my profile was a fit and that I had one week to complete a numerical reasoning test. The test was administered online by SHL. You can find some example tests here: http://www.shldirect.com/practice_tests.html. I would recommend you do a lot of prep for this even if you are good at Maths. There is a lot of time pressure and it is a like the GMAT, once you get a feel for the questions it is a lot easier.
3. Critical Reasoning Test
The next stage was an online critical reasoning test and again I had a week to complete the test. The test was a Watson-Glazer critical reasoning test and again once you understand how it works it was fine.
4. Competency Based Interview
There was a little wait until I heard whether I had got to the next stage. Then I received an email saying I had made it to the interview stage. I had a 90 minute competency based interview with a lovely interviewer at the LLoyds office near Barbican.
It was a very relaxed interview (although highly structured) and it was fairly typical of other competency interviews I have had. Make sure you have lots of examples planned in advance and make sure you understand the banking industry and about the LLoyds brands.
Also try to map your personal examples onto the qualities LLoyds are looking for (leadership, ambition, complexity, delivery). Ask lots of questions as the knowledge you gain will help you in the final round.
5. Half Day Assessment Centre
About a week after my interview I was sent an email asking to book the final stage which was a half day assessment centre.
The assessment centre lasted for about five hours and there were 12 people along with me. Again the day was fairly relaxed and all of the interviewers and assessors were very relaxed and very bright. Interestingly none of the tasks were in groups all were individual which is different to other assessment centres I have had.
The day started with brief introductions and was followed by three tasks: The first task was a short interview which lasted about 30 minutes. The questions were around my strengths and areas for improvement, there were also some questions around my ambitions and hobbies. Towards the end of the interview I was asked some in-depth questions about LLoyds e.g. how do some of the brands differentiate themselves and should Lloyds operate a multi brand or single brand such as Santander.
The second task was a stakeholder meeting and I had 30 minutes to prepare. I had a stack of emails and reports to review before the meeting. The role-play meeting was closely watched by a assessor and was between myself and a trained role player. I played the part of a general manager on their first day at work and I had 30 minutes to cover four areas such as the details of a contract, department operational issues and a staff performance review. The time pressure is immense so manage your time and make sure you keep on time and move on if necessary.
The third task was strategy presentation. I had an hour and a half to prepare with hundreds of pages of information to review, some important and some not. There was a lot of pressure due to the volume of information. The presentation lasted 15 minutes and had to include the key department issues with a plan for tackling the largest issue. There was then 15 minutes of very in-depth, probing cross examination by the assessor. The questions posed were very insightful and I really enjoyed the process of defending and debating my strategy.
6. Final Decision
After a tense couple of weeks of waiting I finally I received a phone call telling me that the impression of me throughout the process was very positive and that they would be making me an offer. I was on a huge high for several days afterwards!
I will be starting on the programme on the 1st October 2012!