Hello from a
Bank of England Intern!
Hello there! My name is Nicole Yap, the Director of Finance & Corporate Relations Office of GenCorporate 2018/19. I’m here just to answer a few questions that people often pose, and to give a general gist of how my summer went at the Bank of England. Let’s cut to the chase – I’ll hopefully be able to clear up some doubts you might have!
How was your summer at the Bank?
The first-year internship program at the Bank of England is 6 weeks long, from the end of June to early August. The working hours are pretty flexible but it is quite dependent on your team/manager. I was in the Insurance Supervision department, basically tasked in supervising insurance firms. Some parts of the project I was working on included risk scoring, research on certain regulations and organizing data. It’s confidential work, so I can’t really name what the specifics of what I did. What I can say though, is that it was certainly very cool and real work that was helpful to the team. There’s a sense of satisfaction when the team uses the data you worked on!
How was the application process?
The application is a typical bank application, I won’t go into the details because you can honestly find everything on their website. It consists of an online application, some online tests, a video interview and then the assessment centre.
The only real advice for the first few stages would be to go through the Bank website, be familiar with their values and what they do. There is no faking preparation, be it doing practice tests or doing further research on the work they do. It is essential you show knowledge of their functions. It doesn’t have to be technical or in-depth, a basic outsider’s view on the central bank would do. Google is your best friend in this case.
I would say the real challenge is the AC. Rather than giving generic AC advice, I’ll mention a few things that I think the Bank looks for. First would definitely be interest in the Bank and the work they do (but if you have reached this stage you should be quite well-versed in this sense). Secondly, being able to analyse and argue a case. You have to be quick thinking on your feet, coming up with an opinion for the issue(s) they raised, and make sure you can back it up with legitimate reasoning. Next, it’s important to be adaptive and responsive to new information! Working at the central bank means constantly anticipating changes in the market or economy. And most importantly, being a good fit for the team. Show your best self!
What is the Bank's culture like?
Friendly and welcoming. I was free to approach people from various divisions and ask them about the work they did. The Bank has a range of functions, from very technical analysis work to supervisory tasks, so it’s a great opportunity to talk to people from all these different divisions. Since I am working on my own mental health project, I also talked to quite a number of employees in the Mental Health Network.
Other than that, there was sufficient guidance as you progress through the internship. At the very start, my manager asked me what kind of tasks I’d like to work on, and subsequently gave me the freedom to choose a few out of the list he prepared. I enjoyed being able to approach the work with my own ideas, at the same time getting feedback on how I was doing.
There were also intern socials to get to know your peers and the older interns as well. (There were postgraduate interns, and some doing their industrial placements too!)
Of course, while all these opportunities are available, it takes your own initiative to reach out to the others. How much you gain is how much you set out to gain.
What did you like about the Bank?
There was an astounding variety of talks and events. I attended a few where they invited PhD students or professors to talk about their thesis/papers, and the Bank employees who were interested would sit in and give their opinions on the papers. These were generally related to the economy, be it about international trade or local banks. There were also talks from prominent people in various industries, where they shared their experiences and stories. These were more like TED talks in a sense, and were all very inspiring. Of course, there were also discussions where the committee (eg MPC) sat together and talked through their decisions, which were not necessarily completely understandable (for a first year) but nonetheless eye-opening. These were the things that you read about in your coursebooks or lectures, after all.
Also, the coffee was super cheap. The prices ranged from 30p to 90p. It was amazing.
If you’re thinking of applying to the Bank, go to their website and check out the different departments they have. The Bank is so huge, there’s probably a fit for you! Working in a central bank is really different from a private bank (or anywhere else for that matter), so the experience you gain there is unique. Just go ahead and give it a try!
NICOLE YAP XUE JING