Morgan Stanley

Prepare for the Morgan Stanley recruitment process with tailor-made practice materials.

Morgan Stanley Aptitude Tests

About Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley is an American investment bank and financial services company that is headquartered in New York City, but has local headquarters across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas.

The Morgan Stanley European, Middle East, and Asia (EMEA) headquarters has been in London since 1997, and there is also a well-established office in Glasgow that has been offering the Morgan Stanley services since 2000.

Morgan Stanley offers the following services to EMEA clients:

  • Institutional securities for corporate, sovereign, investor and others
  • Strong investment banking services, including financial advisory, equity, debt underwriting and other financial services
  • Sales, trading, research, content and technology for equities, fixed income and commodity investment
  • A lucrative range of actively managed investment strategies for private and corporate clients

Careers at Morgan Stanley

While many people start their careers at Morgan Stanley straight from college or university, there are a lot of options for experienced professionals to come aboard. Morgan Stanley are lead by their core values:

  • Do the right thing
  • Put clients first
  • Lead with exceptional ideas
  • Commit to diversity and inclusion
  • Give back

For potential employees at every level, demonstrating personal competencies that match these values is part of what is needed to progress through the application process.

For graduates and students, there are a wide range of opportunities for work experience, insight programmes, apprenticeships and internships as well as a strong offering of full-time graduate placements.

Applications for graduates open for the following year in the last year of study, and internships are on offer for students who are in their penultimate year of study. For other students, insight programmes are offered to first year students who are interested in becoming part of an investment banking company that has technology at the heart of the business.

Morgan Stanley Recruitment Process

The Morgan Stanley recruitment process is straightforward at all levels - there are several distinct stages to the process which do not change much for both experienced professionals and interns/graduates.

The exact content of each stage is what will change, depending on the level of the role and the location. The below details are related to the graduate and internship process. Morgan Stanley representatives often attend campus recruitment events, especially in US colleges - so these are a great opportunity to meet current employees and begin networking before you get started. In the UK, Morgan Stanley offers 'Step In, Step Up' events at their offices that offer insights into banking, their diversity opportunities, and how technology is improving client experiences.

Online Application

There are generally two types of graduate and internship opportunities that are advertised on the Morgan Stanley careers site - the first are the 'normal' opportunities that are advertised to coincide with the beginning of the university year. The second type of opportunity is known as 'off-cycle' and these do not follow the educational calendar.

The first part of the online application is to choose the opportunity that you are most interested in. As a graduate or a student looking for an internship, you can apply for up to nine opportunities in a calendar year - but you are likely to be asked why you have chosen that role to apply for during the recruitment process.

The online application includes uploading your CV, where you need to ensure that you have good academic credentials, including an actual or expected 2:1 degree in your chosen subject. While the majority of interns and graduates come from a maths or other financial background, there is no specific requirement for your degree to be directly related to banking.

There is also space to upload a cover letter, and this is where the recruitment team wants to understand why you have chosen Morgan Stanley in general as well as the specific business area you have applied for - and is an opportunity to demonstrate your passion and ambition.

Depending on the business area, you might also be asked a few open-ended questions related to your competencies - with 150-200 words to respond.

It is always best to get applications in as early as possible - there are 1500 students recruited every year, but many more apply. Applications are reviewed as soon as they are received so get in early to ensure that you get proper consideration. Waiting until the deadline could mean that you miss out.

As part of the application, you are likely to receive a link to complete online aptitude tests which are used to assess your inherent abilities that relate to workplace achievement.

Numerical Reasoning

The Morgan Stanley numerical reasoning test assesses your ability to read, understand and assess data presented in graphs and tables, and then use that information to choose the right answer to a multiple-choice question.

Numerical reasoning assessments are not testing mathematical ability. The content of the questions are based on basic GCSE-level maths operations like multiplication, division, addition and subtractions, as well as fractions, decimals and ratios. The difficulty comes from the combination of the time pressure in the test, and the way the data and questions are provided.

Verbal Reasoning

Verbal reasoning assessments test a candidate on their ability to quickly read, understand, and analyse information presented in text. This information is then used to answer a multiple-choice question.

Verbal reasoning is often presented as a block of text on a specific subject, most often related to the job role that you are applying for. There is no previous knowledge needed or assumed, and it can actually be detrimental to your performance if you do not take the information presented as truth. Verbal reasoning is not complicated, but you do need to be able to quickly read and understand the information so that you have enough time to complete all the questions.

Logical Reasoning

Logical reasoning is one of the more challenging parts of the assessment, as it might not be a skill that you have a lot of experience with. That being said, much like the other aptitude tests, the content of a logical reasoning test is not difficult, it is the format of the questions and the time pressure that makes it tough.

In a logical reasoning test, you will be required to take the given information and follow it logically to a conclusion. Logical reasoning tests can include two statements that are related, and you must form a conclusion based on them. Sometimes logical reasoning can relate to finding the rules for a pattern of numbers or images, and then using that rule to find the next number or image.

All the information you need to get to the correct answer is provided, and all you need to do is apply that knowledge in a logical manner to reach a conclusion.

Checking Test

Error checking is often a part of aptitude tests - and this checking test is about being able to quickly and accurately spot errors between two documents. You will be presented with two sets of information, and you will need to highlight the mistakes on the second sheet.

Checking tests are about speed and having a good eye for detail - no revision of complicated content, just a well-practiced method of checking for and highlighting mistakes. It sounds simple - and it is - but candidates are under time pressure which can make it much harder. Practice 'spot the difference' puzzles to hone your skills.

First-round interview

The initial interview can take place in one of three ways. It can be a telephone interview with one (or more than one) member of the recruitment team,it can take place via video conferencing, or it might be a live face-to-face interview.

During this first-round interview, you can expect that your answers to the aptitude test, your CV, cover letter and the other questions on the online application will be discussed.

This might be the first time you will have spoken (in person or on the phone) to the recruitment team, so it is the ideal time to demonstrate that you have taken the time and the effort to learn about the business, and have answers to common competency questions ready.

If you are successful in the first-round interview, you will be invited to the last stage, which is the assessment centre. It can take many weeks to get to this point, so patience is a virtue throughout the application process.

Morgan Stanley Assessment Centre

The assessment centre will take place at the Morgan Stanley office, and is usually a full day of recruitment activities designed to see what you are like in a workplace situation. You are being continuously assessed throughout the day using a number of different activities and exercises.

During the assessment centre you are likely to complete a combination of the following:

  • One-to-one interviews
  • Panel interviews
  • Written tests
  • Individual presentations
  • Group exercises

Assessment centres often bring together candidates who have applied for many different roles in the organisation - so although there will be competition for the role you want there, not everybody will be after a single position. However, you are under assessment through everything, so remember to be positive, thoughtful and confident throughout.

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