1541453808071 - ourGen - Ivelin Ivanov

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Ivelin Ivanov

Operations Analyst at Citi

Whilst studying International Business, Finance and Economics, Ivelin secured a placement year at Citibank in Belfast as an Operations Analyst. He found that being actively involved in different university societies equipped him with relevant transferable skills, which helped him secure the internship.


Applying for finance internships, do's and don'ts

Ivelin recommends you listen to this podcast where we provide an insight into how you can stand out in your finance interviews.

Application process

1 Online Application
2 Numerical Test
3 First-round Interview
4 Assessment Centre
Online Application

Online Application

This stage will take about 2 hours to complete. It requires you to fill in the usual personal details and education history. You will also be asked to submit your CV. Citibank doesn’t require a Cover Letter, instead, they ask you three questions, based on motivation for the role and company, your skills and experiences and the final one asks for a recent story in the news. Each question has around a 250-300 word limit.

How to respond for success
As well as your CV, the way you respond to the three questions asked is a great way to try and stand out. In the first question, Citi will expect to see that you have done your research and understand the role you are applying for. You will need to show a clear motivation of why you want to join the company. The next question will give you the chance to demonstrate that you are the right fit for the role.

My advice is to look at the job description and see the specific skills needed. For the last question, you need to pick a relevant business story. I recommend finding news that can be related to the bank. By doing this, you can also focus on the impact that it will have on Citi and your division of choice.

Expect a 2 to 4-week wait before progressing to the next stage.

Numerical Test

Numerical Test

If your application is successful, you will be invited to complete an online numerical test. It is timed, and it will take about 15 minutes. However, each question has its own time limit. You will most likely be faced with four scenarios, and you get asked three questions in each scenario. Of those 3 questions, you will have 90 seconds on the first question and 75 seconds on the next two.


Example Task 
The questions are all mathematic based, but a quantitative background is not required. However, you will need basic mathematical concepts (percentage change, ratios, etc.). You will be asked to interpret data sets and analyse different graphs.

How to respond for success
My advice is to use all the time allocated to get familiarised with each scenario on the first question. The second and third questions will most likely be more challenging than the first. Hence, if you are not familiar with each scenario, it’s hard to answer all questions within the time limit.

The test is conducted by Korn Ferry. I would recommend it because you will get used to the format. It is a good representation of the actual test.

Expect a 4 to 6-week wait before progressing to the next stage.

First-round Interview

First-round Interview

This stage consists of a zoom interview with a recruiter where you will get asked about your experience, motivation and understanding of the role. Here you will have the opportunity to showcase your research and how well your skills align with the job. However, you will probably not be expected to have a deep understanding of the role and day-to-day responsibility at this stage.

Example Task 
Expect general motivational and competency based questions.

How to respond for success
It is essential to make a good impression at this stage. For instance, you should have specific reasons why you want to work for Citi. The interviewer won’t be impressed if you just mentioned that it’s one of the biggest banks in the world. Moreover, my advice is to think about the required skills for the role. For Operations, these are problem-solving, teamwork, communication, analytical and critical thinking. Expect to be asked questions assessing if you have these skills. Therefore, think about how your experience has helped you develop these skills in advance.

Expect a 2 to 3-week wait before progressing to the next stage.

Assessment Centre

Assessment Centre

Since the pandemic, Citi has been running its assessment centre's online. The assessment centre will have a group exercise and an interview.

During the group exercise, you will work with a small group (around 3-4 other people). You will be given a case study and some time to read through it and make notes. Then, you will be asked to discuss it with your group and come up with a solution at the end. You will be assessed throughout the discussion and not only on the final solution. The assessors will likely focus more on how you interact with other people rather than the appropriateness of the solution. If possible, try to take the lead from time to time but avoid being the only one to speak. If other people are shy, try asking them about their opinion instead of pushing your own.

The interview will consist of competency and motivation questions. In my interview, I was asked about my experience and motivation for Citi. However, I didn't get questions regarding Operations in particular. I believe the assessors assume you don't have in-depth knowledge of the role as it covers many different teams.

Example Task 
The interview didn't include any technical questions. The competency part was around my experience. For example, I was asked questions such as, tell me about your weaknesses and tell me about a time when...

How to respond for success
Spend a significant amount of time researching the company. In my opinion, it is essential to have a definite reason why you want to work for Citi. It will be best if you link this motivation to your past experience. Also, when preparing for the competency part, it is helpful to research more about the company leadership standards. The assessors will look at whether your profile matches each standard and assess whether you are a potential fit.

Expect a 2 to 3-week wait before receiving your offer.

Ivelin also secured his position at Deloitte as an Audit Intern.

Focus points

Based on this insight and others like it, we recommend to focus on the areas below when preparing for your application. The longer the bar, the more important that skill is for you to maximise your chances of having a successful application.

Soft skills 🗣

Problem solving

Hard skills 👨‍💻

Microsoft Office

Knowledge 🧠

Business acumen


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