I just finished my application adventure with Morgan Stanley Glasgow Operations Analyst role. I was helped quite a bit by others posts on this site and I wanted to give back by telling about my experience interviewing with Morgan Stanley.
The hiring process is as follows. Online application, followed by online tests including a numerical test, a verbal test, and a quick 2 minute same/different test. If you score well on those, you will move on to a phone screening. During this you will be asked why the company and why the role. I was asked what my salary expectations were and after I told the lady, she immediately said that the job pays significantly less than the $75k that I was looking for. She asked if I wanted to continue and I said absolutely (even though I was sad to hear that news). She then scheduled for me a phone interview for 2 days later. That interview consisted of about 4 questions, and I was asked to use the STAR method to answer them. Appx 1 week later I was called and told that I did a very good job and impressed the operations person that I spoke to. We then scheduled an assessment center date for around 2-3 weeks later.
The assessment center consisted of 2, 45 minute interviews and 1 group project. 6 people were applying for the same position during my assessment center day, and we had our 2 interviews first. Before the interviews commenced, we were given a presentation by HR, and we had a tour of the 2 buildings. We were shown the gym, lunch cafe and some office space.
The 2, 45 minute interviews went rather well (so I thought). I was asked less than 8 questions in each and I was told that I can use the same examples for both interviews, and that I was able to take a minute or 2 to gather my thoughts before I started answering any question. 2 upper level managers were performing both interviews. They had preset questions to ask and they were not allowed to stray from them, so don’t be worried about that. If your answer isn’t detailed enough, they will ask for some clarification. Overall the 4 people I talked to for the 2 interviews were very nice and polite. I joked around with them and made sure to ask many questions about the company during the process.
Some of the questions that I can remember were:
Q1: Tell me about a time that you followed a policy even though you disagreed with it
Q2: Tell me about a time that you went out of your way to help someone
Q3: A situation where you were not successful or did not achieve your goal in the end
Then as I moved to the group exercise, there was a brief (15 minute) networking session with other members of the staff. All/most of the employees that did the interviewing were present for this and I made sure to talk to some new ones. I spoke with 2 additional employees. They were friendly but didn’t seem overly interested in me, as they just talked about the firm and didn’t ask me any questions.
Then I went on to the group exercise, which consisted of a case study. We were all given departmental roles and had some budget items to try and get passed. We had around 30-40 minutes to do this and we had to select someone to check the time. There was a small presentation afterwards and we were asked questions by the 3 people who were watching us.
After that, we had pictures of us taken for HR purposes and given back our passports. I was starving at the end of it and left feeling relieved that it was over.
Some advice would be:
After my rejection email, I emailed back the staff to ask them for feedback on my assessment center performance. They scheduled a time with me to go over the feedback on the phone about a week later. The feedback was quite detailed. The main suggestion I would give is to stay on point with your answer to the question and that if they have to probe you for further information on any question, that it is more or less the kiss of death for the job.
They seem to have a particular type of person in mind for the job, and if you deviate from that even a little, you will be rejected. Personally I feel that if your answers are a little off but you came off as very capable, polite, and such that they would give you a shot, but they won’t. They need you to pass all 3 parts of the process. Furthermore, the feedback I received mentioned nothing about the networking session, so I am not able to comment on if its a part of the hiring decision or not. I was told that I had met some of the competencies they were looking for but not all for the 2 interviews. My feedback on the group exercise was surprisingly 100% positive and they liked my performance very much. I was not pushy but I kept everyone on track and made sure that we came up with a decision on time. I was told that I displayed good leadership skills during the group work.
Overall the company is good and the people who work in the Glasgow office are very nice. Beware however that during the interviews I had a great impression from all 4 of my interviewers even though they knew in their minds that I was not going to get the job. They displayed a great front that masked their true feelings so unfortunately you won’t be easily able to know how you performed unless they ended up asking you for more details on several questions which means that you failed miserably.
Best of luck to you all, and I hope this helps someone in their quest for an investment banking position.