UBS is a Swiss bank that is perhaps most well-known for strict bank-client confidentiality, but in recent years UBS has moved further towards a more globally supportive institution that is forward thinking and considerate of the needs of others. Established in 1862, UBS offers rewards and benefits throughout its global business areas that is second to none - and that makes the competition for open positions throughout the business.
UBS is co-headquartered in Basel and Zurich, Switzerland. Employing more than 70,000 people in 50 countries, UBS focuses on four business areas:
- Global Wealth Management
- Personal and Corporate Banking
- Asset Management
- Investment Banking
For those who are looking to work at UBS, knowledge of the culture and desired behaviours of employees is one of the most important things that you need to understand in order to be successful through the application process. These are known as the Three Keys - Pillars, Principles, and Behaviours.
- Pillars - capital strength, efficiency, effectiveness, risk management
- Principles - client focus, excellence, sustainable performance
- Behaviours - integrity, collaboration, challenge
Working at UBS
Job roles at UBS can be found in the following business areas:
- Global Wealth Management
- Investment Bank
- Asset Management
- Personal & Corporate Banking
- Internal Audit
- Internal Consulting
- Risk Control
- Compliance, Regulatory and Governance
- Human Resources
- Marketing, Communications and Branding
Routes into employment with UBS are available to school leavers, who can take on an apprenticeship program to transition from school to the workplace while working towards a recognised qualification.
University students can apply for a number of internship programs, to learn 'on the job' during summer breaks or as work placements while recent graduates can develop through a graduate program specifically for their chosen business areas.
Experienced professionals are welcome at UBS, and the UBS Career Comeback program is aimed at experienced people who are returning to work after time off, such as for childcare reasons, offering them the opportunity to retrain while in a permanent position.
UBS Application Process
The UBS application process is simple and straightforward, with a similar process for all entry routes.
1. Application Form: this is a simple combination of personal, qualifications, and experience details that are specific to the role you are applying for.
2. Online Assessments: Depending on the role or the route you are applying for, you will take at least one online assessment to test your aptitudes. Every applicant needs to take a numerical reasoning test.
3. Video Interview: this is not a live interview, but applicants need to record a response to several interview questions.
4. Final Assessment Day: this is a full day of interviews, face-to-face with line managers and senior leaders.
The online application is slightly different for school leavers seeking an apprenticeship, undergraduates looking for an internship, or graduates looking for a fast-track scheme. For these applicants, recruitment happens once a year or so with each candidate only able to apply for one scheme at a time.
For other candidates, the online application is linked to the specific advertised job. Once you have selected the role you are interested in, you will need to provide information such as your personal information, qualifications, and experience.
When filling in the application form, keep in mind the competencies and behaviours that UBS want to see in their employees, and be as accurate as possible.
The online assessments are an important part of the process to ensure that candidates are a good match for the role advertised, and the specific tests chosen for each route chosen depend on what is needed in the role.
Numerical Reasoning Tests
Every applicant for a role in UBS needs to complete a numerical reasoning test. Numerical reasoning tests are an assessment of mathematical ability - although they do not require a vast knowledge of numbers. The test is about a candidate's ability to read, understand and extract data from tables and graphs and use it to answer questions. The mathematical equations are not complicated; they are based on GCSE-level knowledge of basic operations, percentages, ratios and fractions.
The UBS numerical reasoning test consists of 12 questions based on business scenarios, with potentially dozens of possible answers.
Unlike other numerical reasoning assessments, this one is not timed as a whole - instead, each question is timed individually. Candidates have 90 seconds to answer the first question for each table, and 75 seconds for subsequent questions. This test usually takes about 20 minutes to complete.
The difficulty of this assessment comes not from the content but the time constraints and sheer number of potential answers. Applicants need to complete the mathematical problem, rather than use elimination - and if there is a question that you answer quickly, you will not be able to use the remaining time on other questions that you may struggle with.
UBS Cultural Appraiser
In almost all application routes, the UBS Cultural Appraiser is used to check an applicant for their behaviours through scenario-based tests. In the words of UBS themselves, the UBS Cultural Appraiser offers "realistic, hypothetical work scenarios designed to assess how well you align to our culture and values."
In format, the Cultural Appraiser is similar to most situational judgement tests, with 15 unique and realistic scenarios based on situations that are similar to the ones that you would come across while in the role. The scenarios may be presented in text or video format.
There is no time limit, but it usually takes around 20 minutes to complete. Each question has multiple choice answers, but instead of choosing one, you need to rank each possibility on a sliding scale of most to least effective.
During the cultural appraiser, the answers you give will be measured against seven core values and competencies:
- Problem analysis
- Judgement and decision making
- Communication and impact
- Drive and commitment
- Teamwork and collaboration
- Planning and organisation
Other Online Assessments
In some cases, there may be other online assessments used. These include verbal reasoning - assessing a candidates ability to understand written text and use the information to answer questions - and logical reasoning. The logical reasoning part of the assessment suite is based on recognising shapes and patterns and using that information to predict the next shape.
In the case of the UBS Video Interview, it is not live. Candidates will receive questions that they need to answer via video, and each answer is recorded.
Treating this like a standard interview is the best way to be successful. The questions you will be asked are likely to be around your experience and qualifications, so think about the type of answers you want to give. Make sure you look presentable and are in a suitable environment. Look for anything that might be distracting - and test your video and audio capabilities to make sure that the recruitment team are able to hear and see you clearly.
The benefit of a video interview like this is that you have time to prepare an answer and even practice the way you deliver it - the total video time is not likely to be more than 30 minutes, but you can respond in your own time and whenever suits you best.
The assessment centre is the culmination of the application process, and is a full day of face-to-face interviews.
You are likely to be interviewed by your future line manager as well as senior business leaders. These interviews might be completed in-person at one of the UBS offices, or virtually (depending on the situation).
These interviews are designed to allow candidates the opportunity to not only ask questions (and answer them), but also to market yourself and demonstrate that you have the personality, capabilities and compatibility that will make you a productive and successful employee at UBS.