Updated: Jan 15, 2021
Hi everybody! I am Darsha Kataruka, a third year Accounting and Finance student at WBS.
Last summer, I was fortunate enough to have received and completed a wholesome summer internship at Citibank, London in the Commercial Banking division - now converted into a Graduate role for the upcoming year.
After being approached by a few juniors who will soon be giving their assessment centres in the coming weeks, I decided to write a brief blog describing my journey before and during the internship - hoping to help anyone looking at Citibank as their prospect company.
What does my division entail?
I applied for Commercial Banking - which is the segment of Citibank that deals with the financial needs of corporations with a turnover ranging from $10 million - $3billion. As a commercial banker, your role will be that of a Relationship Manager involved in tasks such as Liquidity & Cash Management, Lending and Trade, and often work with the Investment Banking and Markets team for capital raising etc. There are 4 sectors that CCB covers broadly - Industrials, Business Services, Consumer and Healthcare, and Technology, Media, & Telecommunication.
Skills most important for my division (in my opinion) are: relationship building, understanding client needs, communication, reading and analysing financial statements, negotiation and persuasion.
How was my internship structured and what was it like?
Due to COVID, my 10 week internship was cut down to 5 weeks and was made virtual... The team was SUPER amazing to curate the best internship possible despite the time shortage and the trying times back then - leaving no aspect untapped.
Week 1 was filled with some exciting training with Fitch Learning where I learned Valuation, Financial Modelling, Microsoft Excel and some Financial Concepts - all from scratch. This helped all interns have a common foundation to build upon. We had tons of networking webinars where we got to meet fellow interns and seniors colleagues from and beyond our respective divisions (Even had a webinar with Mike Corbat and Jane Fraser - the current and incoming CEO of Citi respectively).
Following this was a set of super hectic yet enriching 4 weeks where I worked on several live projects - some analytical and some research based - with different managers across my team covering different sectors (Business Services, TMT, Consumer and Healthcare). The projects we worked on were actually used by our colleagues later on which was super empowering and fulfilling.
We even had weekly Buddy sessions with the current graduates at Citi who gave us honest insight, helped us with our projects, and added a friendly touch to the entire experience.
What did I love most about my time at Citi?
The people. The people here, especially in my department, were EXTREMELY welcoming. From Day 1 they made us feel included. Despite how junior we were, our inputs were always encouraged and valued (I mean it!), and we were made to feel trusted with the autonomy that was given to us while working on the projects.
Since Commercial Banking is a relatively small (and fastest growing) department I got the opportunity to meet the senior most people in my division almost on a one-on-one basis and have meaningful conversations that opened my mind significantly. I learned that the learning curve is much steeper here given how small yet steadily growing this division is.
Importance on MY career development. Colleagues here genuinely care about your career growth. I remember my managers going out of their way to give us additional exposure than what was expected - to name a few instances - by inviting me to attend client calls, allowing me to give a presentation to the Risk team (something that’s not expected of interns), setting up meetings with senior colleagues from “outside” our division simply to give us exposure.
What was the application procedure like?
Stage 1: Filling the application form and answering 3 motivational questions.
Stage 2: A 15 minute psychometric test. No specific practice was required.
Stage 3: Set of 2 telephone interviews, thirty minutes each - one was competency based with questions like “Tell us about a time xyz happened…” and the other was a Technical interview consisting of questions like “Challenges faced by the industry” and many more.
Stage 4: Assessment Centre which consisted of 3 sections - 2 competency based interviews and 1 case study presentation.
Tips for the Assessment Centre?
Case Study: Unlike consulting case studies which require a lot of external preparation, practice, and knowledge, this case study in my personal opinion wasn’t as challenging, however very thought-provoking and analytical. I had to analyse a few geographical markets to make investment and divestment decisions. No external knowledge and research was needed. The case study was self sufficient, however I did use a little of my own knowledge about my home country, India, to go beyond what was given. Something that really helps me is reading the case study twice - once without making any notes, and just highlighting all what seems important; and then once you have the complete picture, filtering the data and using what is most important.
Competency based interviews: One tip I’d give is don’t repeat a particular project/example for 2 questions even if you’re trying to portray a different skill. Try to gather a bunch of experiences to talk about. If you have a virtual AC, definitely keep a hard copy of your CV right next to you, to help you choose the right example for a given question without having to think hard!
If you still have any questions, please feel free to connect with me on Linkedin (www.linkedin.com/in/darshakataruka).