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How to start a career at Deutsche Bank in Asia (even with an arts or science degree)

Sze Ming Ho 2

Want to begin your banking career at Deutsche Bank in Asia? While you must have outstanding academic grades, these no longer need to be within a business or finance degree.

Neither do you require a burning ambition to work in investment banking – in fact the bank is targeting Asian graduates who are keen on careers in compliance. And while an internship is still a huge help in securing a full-time analyst job, Deutsche Bank remains open to applicants who have notched up other relevant work or life experiences.

We chatted to Sze Ming Ho, APAC graduate recruitment manager at Deutsche Bank, about recent changes to the type of students and graduates that her firm likes to hire in Singapore, Hong Kong and across Asia.

Which type of degree courses do you target in Asia?

Students are often surprised when they find us on campus running target events to non-business/finance faculty students – even asking us why we’re there! We have many different careers on offer across the bank, so we look for students with a similarly diverse range of skills, interests and degree disciplines. A student with a science or arts background could make an excellent banker, while those who’ve studied business and finance might be more interested in pursuing a slightly different area for their career. For us, it’s about demonstrating what you have learnt in the broadest sense and then applying that knowledge to your future career.

What generally motivates students in Asia to embark on a career in banking?

The banking and financial services industry is still very much at the core of the economic landscape in Singapore and Hong Kong – and across the wider region. The students that we meet recognise the career potential the industry provides as Asian economies become increasingly important globally. Our ability to provide the intellectual challenge and opportunities for continued learning holds lots of appeal.

Are students increasingly interested in careers outside front-office IBD?

Over time, we are seeing increased engagement with students who are interested in opportunities outside the investment bank – ranging from commercial banking roles, through to private wealth and asset management, to our infrastructure functions such as technology and HR. Compliance and risk are drawing an increased number of applicants. We recently held a joint Hong Kong and Singapore compliance-specific event, which saw around 100 students attend. For a typical infrastructure event we’d expect only around 50 to attend, so we were very encouraged that students and careers services seem to recognise the opportunities here.

Which business areas are you focusing on for your 2015 campus recruitment?

We’re a global universal bank which means we offer the full spectrum of banking products and services to our clients. This also means we have a wide range of careers and opportunities to offer, ranging from investment banking and wealth management, through commercial banking, to a vast array of infrastructure functions. The major change in recent years is the relative increase in the requirement for employees in control functions such as compliance. We also have a strategic focus on building the global transaction banking business so we continue to bring in talented young people to this as well as our other divisions.

How is your recruitment divided up across Asian markets?

We continue to hire most of our graduate class into our core banking divisions in hub-office locations in Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney and Tokyo. However, we’re constantly evolving our business and building our presence across the region. Our graduate recruitment programme now encompasses everything from commercial banking in China, through service centres in India and Philippines, to growing businesses in Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan.

What do you look for when recruiting summer interns, besides excellent academics?

For us an excellent academic record is the baseline, but we consider a lot more when selecting students. We’re looking for people who really stand out – who can demonstrate genuine passion for the industry and can show us how they will make an impact. Participating in extra-curricular activities and developing skills outside the classroom is a great way to get noticed – it gives us a good indication of their potential. Of course, if those outside interests are aligned with our business activities, then so much the better – but ultimately, we make our decision on the way their minds work and their ability to interact effectively with others.

What would you advise third-year students who haven’t completed an internship but are applying for a full-time graduate job?

Make your experience work for you. It need not be an internship with us or even a banking internship – you may have been involved in volunteer work, a semester abroad or a temporary or part-time job. Tell us about your experiences and how you will use them when you start your career with us. We’re interested in hearing from all kinds of people with different experiences and backgrounds.

Tell us about your application and assessment process

The process for both our full-time and intern hiring is the same, as well as being globally consistent. The usual timeframe, from application deadline to receiving a verbal offer, is four to five weeks. The process starts with students submitting an application on our careers website. From there they are asked to complete an online numerical and verbal reasoning test. We look at a student’s CV as well as their responses on the online form, so we encourage applicants to complete all the questions. These free-text questions help us determine if they’ve done some research into the company and industry, with a well-thought-through answer demonstrating their interest. Successful applicants will be invited to interview with a panel of two interviewers. Those successful in the first round will be invited back for final rounds of interviews. Some of our business divisions may provide a case study, with the interview structured around this.

What makes an internship or traineeships at Deutsche Bank unique?

First and foremost, an internship with us is a real job with real responsibilities. From day one students will get a genuine insight into Deutsche Bank, the work we do and the opportunities we offer. Crucially, we’ll also expect interns to deliver results. On top of this, I would add the commitment to the programme by the senior leadership of the bank. Both interns and graduate analysts benefit from direct exposure to members of our group executive committee and our co-CEOs. The final aspect I’d highlight is the global nature of our graduate programme. It begins with a global induction event, where over the course of three to five weeks, graduates are involved in classroom training, networking and orientation events with their peers, across all divisions and locations. At the end of their first month with the bank, graduates have a global network of colleagues who’ll be invaluable to them throughout their career.


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