UBS is a financial services company and investment bank that is based in Switzerland, and it is well-known for strict confidentiality, which is probably why it is the largest private bank in the world.
There are more than 74,000 employees who work at UBS across 48 countries, and opportunities are available for early careers and experienced professionals across the following service areas:
Global Wealth Management
Group Internal Consultancy
Compliance, Regulatory, and Governance
UBS application process
For early careers, in particular, opportunities exist for apprentices, internships, and graduates. The application process is straightforward, but there are a few stages that you will have to go through if you want to apply for a position.
All the roles at UBS are advertised on the job board, and the job descriptions contain all the details you need to know to see if you are a match. You’ll have to complete a simple application form, which needs your contact details as well as information about your education, qualifications, and previous experience as well as any other languages that you speak and relevant skills.
If your application form matches the basic criteria for the position, you will be asked to complete some online assessments. These include the UBS Cultural Appraiser (which is similar to a situational judgment test), as well as cognitive assessments like verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, and logical reasoning. The cognitive assessments are published by AON. If you have applied for a technical or IT role, you might be asked to complete a coding challenge as well.
The next stage is a video interview, where you will be asked to record your answers on video to predetermined questions.
The last stage of the assessment process is the Assessment Center, which might be a series of activities or interviews.
Why does UBS use assessment centers?
Assessment Centers are an important part of the application process for many companies including UBS because they offer the recruitment team and managers the opportunity to get to know more about applicants in person.
The recruitment team put the candidates in the Assessment Center through several different exercises and activities that need them to use their soft skills like communication, teamwork and leadership - skills that are not easy to assess in other ways.
For the candidate, the Assessment Center is an immersive experience that demonstrates what types of activities they might do if they get the job - and they get the opportunity to meet other candidates, future colleagues, and managers.
What skills is UBS looking for?
UBS advertise that they are looking for seven Core Competencies in every employee. These are:
Decision Making and Judgement
Drive and Commitment
Teamwork and Collaboration
Planning and Organisation
They are also looking for candidates who can demonstrate the shared values of the business, which are described as the pillars, principles, and behaviors.
Pillars: capital strength, simplification and efficiency, risk management
Principles: client centricity, connectivity, sustainable impact
Behaviors: accountability with integrity, collaboration, innovation
Throughout the application process, you need to bear these in mind - as well as any specific skills, aptitudes, and competencies that are described in the job description.
UBS assessment center format
The specific content of the exercises that you will be asked to complete in the UBS assessment center depends on the role you have applied for, but you can expect to have to do the following:
A presentation at UBS might be conducted individually or as part of a group exercise, but either way you will be given a topic and some supporting information. Using this, you will need to form a strategy or come to a conclusion to support a client with a decision, and then present that to the group.
You’ll be expected to give details about the decision, and answer questions about it afterward.
UBS group exercise
The group exercise is all about communication, collaboration, teamwork, and leadership. You will be given a topic for discussion, and you will need to debate it and come to a conclusion.
The topic shouldn’t be too contentious, but you will need to be able to negotiate and discuss the options that are available and reach a conclusion, while ensuring that everyone in the group has an opportunity to have their say - the recruiters want to see that you are supporting your colleagues and getting through the process.
The last stage of the assessment process is several interviews. You will have interviews with recruiters, with managers, and you might have a panel interview too.
These interviews will ask a range of questions, from your motivations for joining UBS to your existing knowledge about the role and the business. You can also expect to answer some competency-based questions.
The motivational questions are all about your future plans and how the role at UBS will fit into your career. You might have questions like:
Where do you see yourself in five years?
What attracted you to this role?
The interviewers want to know that you have some knowledge about UBS and the wider financial market. They might ask questions such as:
Who is the biggest competitor for UBS at the moment?
What should UBS be focusing on in the next 12 months?
The last type of question will need some preparation. Competency-based questions need you to draw on your previous experience to provide examples that demonstrate that you have the specific competency that the interviewers are looking for. You can prepare by looking at the job description and the Core Competencies mentioned above, and think of a time when you have shown that particular skill. The questions you might be asked include:
Describe a time when you had to lead a team.
Tell us about a time when you had to communicate some bad news to someone.
Tips for passing the UBS assessment center
As a global institution, UBS has a long history and a large footprint in the financial industry, and you will be expected to do research about the business - and demonstrate that knowledge throughout the application process.
You can find out a lot of information on the UBS website, but also keep an eye on financial news so that you can build on your commercial knowledge.
2. Arrive early
Assessment Centers usually take place at one of the main offices, and it is likely that you will have to travel there. Whether you are driving or using public transport, you need to plan your journey so that you arrive in plenty of time - especially because the start time is likely to be around rush hour.
3. Get plenty of rest
Although it is normal to be nervous about the assessment center, you will not be able to demonstrate your skills and knowledge if you are tired. The optimal amount of sleep for good cognitive ability is 6-8 hours, and anything below (or even above) this can have a detrimental impact on your thinking.
4. Dress to impress
Aside from the video interview, this is likely to be the first time that the recruitment team will be seeing you ‘in the flesh’ as it were, so you want to make an excellent first impression. You should make sure that you look clean and well-presented, choosing a suit or similar to wear, so that the team knows you are taking the opportunity seriously.
5. Be yourself
Although you want to put yourself forward as being the perfect candidate for the role, you need to remember that the UBS team is looking for more. You have specific knowledge and experience that they need, and your perspective will add value to them in terms of diversity - so when you are in the assessment center, be yourself at all times.