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Route into Research: Bank of England

Before I attended university I worked at the Bank of England as a research assistant for three years.  I did this initially to gain some valuable experience in the financial services industry, as well as earn money to support my family and save for university.

What did Research at the Bank of England entail?

In that time I worked in the Monetary Analysis division. My role in this department involved assisting economists to analyse developments in the household, government and external sectors of the UK economy.

This type of work provided me with familiarity with statistical data and using economic models. I developed plenty of research and analytical skills, and wrote two research and analytical notes, which were selected for viewing by the then Governor of the Bank of England and the Monetary Policy Committee.

How to get in

The route into becoming a research assistant at the Bank of England is relatively orthodox; not many financial institutions have roles for students who haven’t completed their A-levels.. After completing my A-levels, I was sure that I wanted to work before attending university.  I was also convinced that I wanted to work in the financial services industry. So I decided to apply to a variety of financial institutions, including the Bank of England and Fidelity Investments.

The Bank’s application process started with an application form. After being short-listed I was invited for an interview and asked to complete a numerical and logical reasoning test in the Bank’s office on Threadneedle Street.

My initial thoughts as I approached the building on interview day were that it was incredibly impressive and imposing, both inside and out! But the character of the building is compensated for by its beauty and the warmth of those working inside. The test was about one hour long and the interview lasted less than 30 minutes. I talked about my A-levels, my interest in the Bank and my long-term goals.

I also attended an interview at Fidelity Investments, which was a very different experience to the interview at the Bank. I was required to work in a group, which was tasked with coming up with a presentation (under 20 minutes) on the world’s greatest invention. It was so nerve wracking that one of the members of my team left the room as I began to speak! As a result, I had to improvise.

A few months after both interviews, I received a call on the same day from both companies – about 30 minutes apart – congratulating me on a successful interview. I opted for the Bank of England because I figured that the recession would be more likely to affect them, and felt that the training programmes and opportunities for development at the Bank of England fitted better with my long-term aims.

Written by a former Research Assistant at the Bank of England