Reimagining Our Analyst Training

Published May 19, 2022 | 5 min read

Each summer, graduates from colleges descend on Wall Street and financial centers around the world to start their finance careers. For many companies, managing these large incoming populations is a challenging feat of program management.

While managing across different time zones, multiple geographic and divisional streams, and new digital learning platforms, prioritizing the new hire training experience is paramount. Leveraging innovative solutions allows us to better serve our new hires, and drive positive results.


Growing challenges and opportunities for Learning & Development

In the years leading up to the pandemic, rapidly evolving Gen Z preferences (more digital learning, just-in-time learning and career-based learning paths) have prompted companies to explore innovative approaches to training.

Meanwhile, talent wars have made it all the more important to empower employees and to create a cohesive culture that fosters connection and shared purpose.

The pandemic has accelerated these trends while creating new challenges for organizations looking to hire. For example, nearly every company had to quickly “flip the switch” from in-person training to virtual sessions and reengineer long-standing programs.


A completely reimagined analyst training

When we reimagined our Global Investment Banking, Global Markets, Quantitative Technology Services, and Research Analyst Training programs, we identified five key objectives:

  1. Empower learners and give them more choice;
  2. Reframe the learning journey of new hires as a 3-year program, starting with the internship;
  3. Make learning more experiential;
  4. Deeply integrate digital learning into the learning journey; and
  5. Foster a sense of shared purpose, mission and community.
“RBC knows how to tailor thoughtful, engaging, and practical training programs for each step of the career readiness journey. I appreciated the balance across applicable “day in the life” skills, personal career development, and networking with RBC leaders and peers.”

– Sophia, Analyst, Global Rotational Program, RBC Capital Markets (New York)

Our new approach included a revamped onboarding experience for new hires that eschewed the traditional classroom for a conference-style format.

We found that the new format empowered learners to curate their own learning journey while we provided an innovative support structure. A college-style credit system with electives and prerequisites ensured baseline learning objectives were met and digital learning was deeply integrated into the onboarding experience.

“The summer training offered an interactive approach to virtual learning with in person online teaching, networking sessions, leadership speakers and self-study time. This not only prepared me for joining my desk in the UK but also allowed me to build my network globally.”

– Beatrice, Analyst, Global Rotational Program, RBC Capital Markets (London)


Reframing the learning journey as a 3-year program, starting with the internship

The majority of our 2020 intern class returned as full-time hires and participated in the New Hire Training.

Instead of treating the internship and full-time programs as separate, learning objectives were created across a 3-year timeframe. This learning roadmap was supplemented with online pre-work for those joining outside of the internship program, followed by individualized learning plans based on their group placement and performance during training.


Making learning more experiential

One of the biggest challenges of traditional training programs is that they’re unconnected to what actually happens on the desk. To solve for this, we crafted an interactive and engaging learning experience that used case studies, games, simulations, and contests to replace basic lectures. Participants competed on speed and accuracy questions that gamified content review and provided the instructor team with real-time data to track individual learner performance.

“Considering the depth of the content delivered, the structure of the program allowed me to learn effectively in a pressure-free environment. The guest lectures and recreational activities also provided a great opportunity to network with established employees and fellow new grads.”

– Emeka, Analyst, Global Rotational Program, RBC Capital Markets (Toronto)


Creating a sense of shared purpose, mission, and community

Organizations that foster a shared sense of purpose and an inviting culture are the organizations that retain Gen Z team members for extended periods of time.

Creating this culture in a virtual environment is a challenge that requires careful and purposeful planning. We’ve utilized a range of different approaches to build virtual networking opportunities including “virtual cafeterias” where participants socialized while having a meal together and more structured project-centric groupwork sessions in which members collaborated with a common goal.


What’s next?

It is critical for talent development programs to innovate and adapt to an evolving recruiting and talent retention environment while providing much needed upskilling to support business lines.

One nearly universal lesson from the pandemic is that remote learning is not only here to stay, but is a critical tool for learning and development. Above all, we are committed to ensuring our new hires are prepared, engaged, and connected to the organization.

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