What to Expect on an Open Day

As a first year undergrad, the hallowed halls of some of the country’s biggest financial institutions can seem a million miles away. But what if someone told you that you could walk straight into these behemoths, have a nosey around and walk away with a hive of information to prepare you for your grad job applications? Surely, that’s a dream?

Nope, that’s an open day. Many of the biggest financial firms are increasingly opening their doors to first year students. It can be quite competitive to get a place on these open days, but the application process is nothing compared to vacation scheme placements and grad jobs!

But once you’re in, what happens next? Let’s find out…

What happens on an open day?

Contrary to the name, an open day can sometimes be two days! Despite this, they all usually include the same components: you’ll get the chance to meet employees, have a tour of the firm, watch presentations and participate in activities. Open days are designed to give you a deeper insight into the firm, something beyond what you can get from reading the website – be prepared for a lot of information!

One thing to remember is that open days are nothing to be nervous about! They are rarely used for recruitment purposes and you won’t be being marked on how many questions you ask or well you perform in any exercises. Open days really are all about you finding out everything you want to know about the firm.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use open days as an opportunity to impress…

What should I do to impress on an open day?

While firms aren’t looking to recruit straight from their open days, there are some things you can do that might serve the purpose of making you stand out (in a good way!) as well as giving you the most from the day itself.

First thing’s first – look the part! Firms might not explicitly state a dress code for the open day, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, i.e. it’s better to look smart than not! Dress for a day in the office and you’ll be fine.

Think about the different questions that you might want to ask the different types of employees while you’re there. For example, questions about the recruitment and training process are best directed towards trainees and members of the graduate recruitment team, while specific questions about the work that the firm does might get a more informed answer from senior employees or team managers.

Finally, look engaged and get involved! It’s not going to be useful to anyone if you’re more interested in the fancy stationary they’ve given you than the firm’s director who’s giving a presentation. Use this day right and it’s a great opportunity to figure out which firms are the right fit for you.

Which firms offer first year open days?

So now you know what to expect, it’s time to have a look at some of the places you can apply to!

  • PWC
  • Citi
  • EY
  • BNP Paribas
  • J. P. Morgan
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Nomura