From Application to Offer: My Journey through the UBS Recruitment Process

Publish Date: 2023-09-01

About me


Hi! My name is Faizan and I am from East London. At the time of writing, I am about to start my degree apprenticeship at UBS. I am joining the CDIO (Tech) business area. I took A-Levels in Maths, Further Maths, Computer Science and Physics.


Why I chose a degree apprenticeship 


I was first introduced to degree apprenticeships by my Dad, who was involved in the hiring process of some apprentices at his work. There are many obvious benefits of doing a degree apprenticeship over going to university, such as having no student debt, earning a wage and having the chance to earn a degree whist gaining valuable experience in the workplace. Student loans are problematic in my faith, so this was a perfect way to avoid those, and having real life experience will help my career to progress faster. 


Degree apprenticeships are not for everyone however, and this is something I would like to highlight. Personally, I am someone who loves the practical side of tech. I enjoy coding, playing around with different software, and doing all sorts of stuff with tech. Although I enjoy solving problems, I am not a theory person. I found the theory of A-Level Computer Science boring, and eventhough I enjoyed my time studying Further Maths, as the problems and concepts got more and more complex and confusing, I did start to feel a bit lost. I actually had an offer to study Data Science at LSE, but I turned it down for this reason. The course had a large mathematical and theoretical focus, and although it had a little bit of programming in Python and R, the course was too theory heavy for my liking. I still would have enjoyed going to LSE, but I felt doing a degree apprenticeship was more suited to my strengths and interests, and this has led me to the position I am in today.


How I found out about the opportunity 


In year 12, I did lots and lots of research to find companies who offer tech degree apprenticeships. This involved lots of googling, going through university websites, using the UK Government apprenticeship vacancy document and signing up to job alerts on the website and UCAS. This is how I found out about UBS. I had a list of companies that I wanted to apply to, and I monitored their websites to find out when applications open, so I could apply before they closed. In the year that I applied, IBM opened applications for their degree apprenticeship for just 24 hours! I also attended the Young Professionals Conference in Westminster, where I got to speak to loads of employers (including UBS) and the apprentices that work there. Events like these are great opportunities to expand your network and to obtain some top tips from apprentices before you apply. I have also read about people using LinkedIn to find degree apprenticeships. I personally did not use LinkedIn but from what I have heard it is also a good resource to check out.


My experience applying to UBS


The application process for me consisted of 4 stages. The first stage was the application form. This involved all the usual admin you would expect, as well as uploading a CV and writing a short paragraph on my hobbies and interests. The second stage involved doing 3 online tests: an English test which involved reading short passages and answering questions on them, a non-verbal test involving an activity with shapes, and a culture match test which consisted of scenarios that could occur within the workplace and choosing one of 4 responses. The third stage was a 30 minute video interview, where a question would pop-up on screen and there was a short amount of thinking time before you would have to speak to the camera with your response. The final stage involved 2 interviews on Microsoft teams, a competency interview and a commercial interview. Of course, I cannot reveal what questions are asked in the tests or interviews, but what I can say is try your best and be confident.


In my experience, everyone at UBS is very kind and welcoming, and they are not trying to catch you out. The interviewers are given a list of questions and a list of competencies to tick off as you speak. They genuinely want you to demonstrate as many as possible, and will ask follow up questions to try and take you in the right direction, but they cannot do this if you are nervous and don't say the required statements to meet the competency. Also, take these interviews as an opportunity to find out more about the company. Ask your interviewer what they do, how they find the company culture or ask what their favourite part of working at the company is.


Concluding statement


I hope this has helped you learn more about degree apprenticeships, and what it is like to apply to them. I wish you all the best in your applications and I hope to meet some of you at UBS soon.


Faizan Arshad