Its probably useful to mention that we each had our own personalised timetable for the day which basically split our group in 2. Anyway, I think my first task was called understanding Aviva which involved 2 new grads talking to us about the challenges facing Aviva and its competitors e.g. unemployment, eurocrisis. Its unassessed apparently but its probably just the grads deciding who they like in the group. Its easy and the grads were nice. I don’t even think you have to say anything and you wouldn’t look badly. If I remember correctly we had lunch at this time as well as the other half of the group were doing their interviews.
After this task I was then taken out of the room to do my individual analysis exercise.
Analysis/ personal presentation exercise
This task involved you read a short document with a background case and then presenting your findings to 2 managers. The brief was basically an organisation had grown too large for it’s building and you are presented with 4 courses of action to make your recommendation on. Anyway the 4 options are expanding your current dilapidated building, moving to a cheap building, moving to a medium priced building and then an expensive one. Obviously the brief states that the organisation has always had a cheap and cheerful approach to its buildings but as a result the staff morale is horrendous - as shown by the employee surveys you are provided with - and each office has its own drawbacks and benefits. Again standard.
After about 30 mins working by yourself the 2 managers come back in the room - in role play mode - and you have to have a pretending meeting with the HR person who doesn’t understand any of the finance of the organisation i.e. don’t waste your time on financials with her. I may have misunderstood the brief but I thought the meeting was the get further information and treat them as if they were a real manager. Anyway I was acting and asking her questions about the staff surveys but the manager seemed to have not read the brief themselves and when asked questions that were specifically covered in their written answers they would just answer “don’t know” with a blank face. Anyway I clearly didn’t ask the right questions because when I finished leading the meeting and ended it the other assessor then read out all the answers I should have gleaned from the HR manager…
Next is the actual presentation. I spent most of my time on the recommendations as I guessed this would be the most important part. I evaluated all the other options together and then basically made the ultimate recommendation at the end - I picked middle priced option. I’m almost certain there is no right answer and it’s just how well you argue your point. That’s it for that part.
Then we go back into the main room of the AC. For me the next part was a tour around Norwich. This has it’s own section of the day but the weather wasn’t amazing so we did a quick lap with 2 more new grads that had joined us and came back. Again these grads seemed fine - pretty friendly and happy to answer questions.
After we came back for me it was my interview.
This was with 2 managers who decided to give me a proper grilling. It was just my luck that I had one of the assessors that was asking the tough questions at our presentation earlier in the day… The interview was standard procedure although they strictly follow competencies and the whole thing is structured. The ask questions from different headings. From what I can remember there was Leadership, Change, Decisiveness, possibly Achievement of goals but apart from those I don’t remember fully. I got absolutely annihilated on Decisiveness as I had never ever heard that one before so I made a really weak answer for that. The questions each have like 4 parts you have to answer in them from my memory. Sorry I can’t help more here but it’s all competency based really.
After this I then had a task that involves you working with another candidate.
Candidate Role play task
This task is really weird as I don’t think it actually shows anything as you’re both obviously wanting the job so you’re not acting in a real-world way. It’s all some kind of forced acting in a way that you think is employable.
The task is centred around building a team of 6 people (I think) but the little challenge is that you have both been given different briefs. You are given a bio of 6 employees and their strengths and weaknesses. You and your partner are both managing projects and between you have to decide who will go on whos team. The problem comes that there are some people who have many more strengths than others so you are competing and “working together” to get 2 strong teams. There are little things in the brief like one person can’t work with another person. It’s hard to describe what this task is all about but it’s basically dealing with conflict and teamwork. The other candidate I was working with was actually all right as I heard some people can just be really stubborn and not work together which is a massive ball ache. Anyways it went all right and the assessors were quite passive as from other people I heard they can be really stubborn and throw unexpected things at you.
After this we had a debrief. It’s just a chat with a manager to ask you how it went etc.
Sooooooo I think that is basically it for the day. It was a really long day and if I’m honest it kind of put me off. Although they told me it would be placed at Norwich OR York it was apparent that it was only Norwich…
Other points were that the offices were really cool but unfortunately I did not get a that kind of high performing sense of a FTSE 100 financial services company which I wanted to experience - thats probably the asset management office in London. It seemed muted at best and I’m pretty sure you just get put in a specific division e.g. tax and that’s that for you ha.
I thought everything the organisation did was nice and they made an effort and clearly spent a lot of money on it but after meeting the people and the other candidates I would not have wanted to work there.
It is important to note that I was UNSUCCESSFUL and it probably seems like I am bitter but at the time I attended the AC I already had an outstanding job offer in a bank in London so I probably didn’t take it seriously. I can honestly say I put a lot of effort in for the telephone interview and then about 1hr at most for the AC so it was not going to be my best performance.
After going to the AC it put me off because I didn’t like Norwich, I definitely couldn’t have worked with some of the other candidates and the culture of Aviva wouldn’t have fit with me and as you may have gleaned. I don’t want to put people off as this is MY view and my experience only but I think this thread could help people in the next intake have better preparation and know what you’re going in for. No doubt they will change it next year but if there is anything at all you need to know feel free to PM me.
Thanks and sorry for the length. Good luck.