Santander 2012 Operations Grad Programme

30 November 2011 - 10:02am

Hi all,

Has anyone applied to the 2012 intake of Santander Operations Graduate Programme?

Ive applied, done the tests and am now through to the phone interview stage! I was wondering if anyone had any tips / insight to share with me on what I should expect!


Latest comments

  • 4 April 2013 - 2:29pm
    • warfo00

    is anyone else waiting for their AC dates?

  • 30 March 2013 - 12:38am
    • phonegnome

    I have did my telephone interview with Santander (internship in risk) in January and got offered and assessment centre a week after.

    3 months later and still hasnt been organised, and now I have an internship offer with JP morgan. I would literally have accepted the first thing I got offered, so i think they are losing out due to their terrible organising

  • 29 March 2013 - 11:15am
    • jahuss


    when did you get an invite? is it for a grad role or an internship?

  • 28 March 2013 - 9:16pm
    • apple27

    Hi Rajraj345, I have the AC for Operations coming up. Was wondering if you could share your experience and tell us about the structure of the day. What exercises did it include? Anything that was particularly challenging that we could prepare in advance? Thank you! Congratulations for getting the job offer!

  • 19 March 2013 - 7:09pm
    • bcgunner

    anyone waiting on an AC date for operations. had the 'please wait' email about 4 times now

  • 18 March 2013 - 2:26pm
    • srma

    Does anyone have an AC for the operations graduate programme coming up?
    Has anyone attended in the past?

  • 12 December 2012 - 5:33pm
    • jahuss


    Expect to hear back in Jan at the earliest. Santander ACs are usually around feb/march time although a recruiter I spoke to said there may be one in Jan

  • 12 December 2012 - 6:30pm
    • Meem

    Ah I see, just wondered because I got an email like 4/5 weeks ago saying they were sorting out their ACs now and then hadn't heard anything since,
    Thanks for that!

  • 12 December 2012 - 4:55pm
    • Meem

    Hey all,

    Anyone heard anything about AC's yet?

  • 16 November 2012 - 3:29pm
    • tbcad123

    I have just had a telephone interview for the Geoban scheme, my questions were:
    1. When did I go above and beyond for a customer
    2. When have I worked in a group
    3. When have I had a difficult problem to solve
    4. When have I had a difficult decison to make (too similar to above I found!)
    5, What do I know about Santander
    6. Why do I want to get a place on the Geoban scheme

    Think that was everything! The lady was very nice and made me feel relaxed, but think I didn't do too well on a few of the question because they were all relatively similar!

  • 18 October 2012 - 7:19pm
    • victoria7

    Hi guys,

    thanks for the information, then I guess it is pointless to call them now... will try later, like late December or so...

  • 18 October 2012 - 6:30pm
    • jahuss65

    Yep as fiksi said AC's are around march/april time and my interviewer told me that will hear closer to the time if I will be invited as they have to interview all applicants and decide who will be invited so prob no point in calling them just yet.

  • 18 October 2012 - 6:05pm
    • fiksi

    Hi people, I passed last year also-but never got a place for AC. Also, ACs are quite late, March or so... so you can only wait. Hope it works out for you, but reality is they interview possibly 1000s for one place, so they have to cull wherever they can.

    Best of luck anyways

  • 18 October 2012 - 4:10pm
    • fiksi

    Hi all, just to note, I went for finance... it seems everyone gets questions that are a bit different, and these competency interviews always seem to me like a bit of a gamble. Anyway I failed, dunno why, thought my answers were quite good. Even with 300% preparation, I feel I can't pass all these competency interviews. And I don't get stuck, stutter, pause or anything.

    Well, good luck to all :)

  • 29 October 2012 - 8:52am
    • megamax

    Hi Fiski,

    Can you pls give me a insight to the online test for the finance scheme? Is it psl or shl?
    Is it both verbal and numerical? what was the level of difficulty and how long did it take you to know if u passed the test.
    Any other information would be highly appreciated.


  • 15 October 2012 - 9:04am
    • Meem


    I've just had my telephone interview for the Finance Grad Scheme and thought I'd post my experience on here since it's been so much of a help to me. Lady was nice and friendly and started off with the following competency questions:

    1. When have you gone above and beyond for a customer? Probing: What did you learn etc
    2. Tell me about a time you worked in collaboration with a team? Probing: What did you learn etc
    3. Tell me about a problem you solved to help meet a (personal) target? I asked her if by personal she meant not work related but she said can be either. Probing again - Just tell her what you learnt each time so she doesn't probe!
    4. Made a decision that was unpopular? Probe.

    1. Why banking and why finance? Probe: Can you name markets in which Santander operate or PRODUCTS( this product bit I was very unprepared for and tried and failed to waffle, I knew markets so went onto that instead but then she came back to it. I had no idea!)
    2. Why finance grad scheme?
    3. What do you think you'll be doing every day?

    I'm not really sure how it went tbh, the product bit was my ARGH moment. We'll see how it goes!

  • 18 October 2012 - 2:36pm
    • victoria7

    Hi Meem,

    I had my telephone interview the same day you had 15 october, but for Global Operations.

    I had the same questions you had, just apart from "finance" why "operations":)

    Just wanted to ask, have you heard anything back from them?


  • 18 October 2012 - 4:18pm
    • Meem

    Hi Victoria,

    Yeah I got an email this morning saying I had passed (thank god, thought the product bit messed me up) it also said that it doesn't guarantee me a place at the AC though so I guess I'll just have to wait and see if the managers want to see me. Bit painful waiting but never mind. I wonder how long it takes though. Have you heard yet?

  • 18 October 2012 - 5:16pm
    • victoria7

    Hi Meem,

    Congratulations!!! I got an email an hour ago i also passed:) so happy:) my email also says it does not guarantee me the AC... But lets hope that we are lucky and we will get it!!!!:) I will wait for one week and then i call them next friday about the AC. I will let you know as soon as I have some information.

  • 4 May 2012 - 12:48pm
    • djichuan

    I had the AC yesterday for the GEOBAN subsidiary and I thought to share them with you guys. A quick note before I go ahead, not surprisingly I haven't received any feedback still so everything I say is based on my own impressions. I hope it helps though...
    So the trip - I had the AC in Bradford, at the headquarters of Santander. It's quite easy to find because it's right next to one of the train stations and there are plenty of hotels nearby. The office space inside is old and not cozy so I don't know how enjoyable would it be to work there.
    The AC itself - I was scheduled for the morning session which starts at 8:30 but the invited us in at around 8:45. My advice - get to know the other candidates before you go in, it makes your life a bit easier in such a stressful situation. After an inspirational introduction of Geoban and Santander the graduates are asked to participate in a group exercise. In my group there were 8 people and we weren't split for this part. Talking over 7 other people is not easy and the task, although not difficult, should by no means be underestimated.
    After the group exercise half of us did the presentation and the other half proceeded to the interviews. I had the presentation first which was, in my opinion, the most tricky part of the day. A word of advice on the research - try to do a SWOT analysis on Santander and really drive the points you know best for the company. There isn't that much info on Geoban so you'll have to think more about its place in the corporate profile of the bank.
    The interview part was last and I was a bit surprised that it consisted only of competency based questions. I have no idea how I did there since some of the questions were quite strange. Unfortunately I don't remember any specific questions but know you're CV by heart and take your telephone interview questions into consideration.
    Our group didn't do a numerical test, which was a bit odd.

    I had a good time and the people, both staff and candidates were nice which encourages me to believe that the culture and people in Geoban would make it a good workplace. I would also like to thank the other people who posted their experiences here and wish everyone good luck!

  • 12 November 2012 - 1:03am
    • vijaycbm

    Hi djichuan! Did u get the offer from Geoban! I just had first face to face interview in Bradford few days back! They were happy! But I dont know what is the next stage?

  • 4 May 2012 - 12:17pm
    • nye1987

    Hi all,

    Ive just made it through to the numerical reasoning stage.

    Does anyone know what the benchmark is for passing?


  • 30 March 2012 - 9:08am
    • vanbo2005

    Hey Guys, can you tell me when did you hear the outcome of the AC?

    I was at the last AC for Operations yesterday and it was pretty much the same as you describe it here.

    We were told we can expect a call within the next 2 weeks but I think most people get a call the next day, right? :S

  • 27 March 2012 - 6:32pm
    • user-deleted

    Heya sorry for now answering sooner, i just saw this. My questions for my presentation were things like, where did you get the info from, how did you go about preparing for this, how would you improve it, how do you think you did? They also focused on a few things I said and asked me to further discuss, so know your presentation inside out!

    They go through your cv during the individual interview, in quite a lot of depth so be confident with what you have done in the past and how it will apply to your job at santander.

    They refunded travel/accomodation up to 50 pounds :)

  • 22 March 2012 - 8:32am
    • lolailo

    Congratulations Rachel then!!:)
    And what did they ask you for the presentation and individual questions?They do not go through your CV then?Aand did they pay you the cost of the travel?


  • 21 March 2012 - 2:05pm
    • user-deleted

    yea I had the assessment day a while back in January :)

  • 21 March 2012 - 11:37am
    • user-deleted

    Hi lolailo! In the operations programme you move place every 6 months, so four placements in total. You choose between London, Leicester, Bradford, Liverpool, Glasgow and Milton Keynes (i think thats it?) You won't need to tell them your preference until they have made you an offer :)

    If anyone needs any help on this send me a message, best of luck!

  • 8 March 2013 - 6:52pm
    • Lopez

    Hi Rachel,

    First, congrats on securing a place at Santander. I have an Assessment Centre in Leicester next thursday and I am feeling quite nervous about it. I have a silly question and wondered if you would be able to help.... do you know if you must choose 4 different centres or can you do lets say London, Milton Keynes and Leicester and back to London? Also, do you know how many spaces are there for the Operations programme?

    Any info would be much appreciated!!

    Thanks in advance for reading this.

  • 21 March 2012 - 1:05pm
    • lolailo

    Rachel B, have u got already an offer?

  • 21 March 2012 - 1:05pm
    • lolailo

    Rachel B, you ve got already an offer?

  • 19 March 2012 - 1:25pm
    • lolailo

    Hi Guys!!

    It seems I will see some of you on the 29th in Leicester for the Operations Grad Programme!!!Thank so much for the information shared here!!!
    The asked me what people shared here + what did I learn from those experiences.

    But what I do not completely understand about the program, I guess you can help me, is the rotation done within santander branches??Cause the job description does not mention anything about branches specifically, as it does say in the Retail management program, of course. But I guess they do not have THAT many offices around the UK, do they?

  • 14 March 2012 - 12:02am
    • LCH

    Hi guys, I just attended the assessment centre today. Felt like everything happened so quickly! There were 7 of us in total.

    Here is a description of what we did.

    It started with a presentation by a business representative, introducing Santander and sharing with us his experience working in the bank.

    The first activity we were assessed on its a group exercise. We were given a 3-page document on the performance of a call centre team of a fictitious bank. We were given 10 mins individual time to go through the document, think of 3 priorities, bearing in mind that during the group discussion we had to come up with 3 recommendations and the impacts that the recommendations have. The group discussion time was 20 mins, after which we presented our 3 recommendations to the assessors. There were then follow up questions by them.

    Then half of us moved on to the presentation task, another half to interview and numerical test. I was in the group who did my presentation after the group exercise. We had been asked to research some information on Sanatander as a whole and Santander UK upon invitation to the assessment centre. The topic of presentation was only given on the day, we had 40 mins to prepare for the presentation. No chart of diagram or any presentation materials needed to be created, we just had to write down our points on a piece of paper, which we could refer to during the presentation. By the way, this is an individual presentation, not a group's. We were given 10mins to present to 2 assessors, which was again follow up by questions and answer session. The topic of presentation I got was: (1) What are the challenges and opportunities faced by Santander UK? (2) What are your recommendations for Santander UK to be (a) the best bank for its customer (b) the best bank for its staff (c) the best bank for its shareholders

    Then there was a break, which was then followed by competency-based interview, by 2 interviewers. The other half of the group who did their interview and numerical test were now doing their presentation. The interview questions I was asked were as follows,

    (1) Tell us a bit about yourself. Why are you interested in joining Santander and Why the Operations Graduate programme in particular?

    (2) Describe a time when you had done something that was not in line with the expectation of you

    (3) Describe a time when you had to understand someone to complete a task/ project

    (4) Describe a time when you had to apply commercial or business analysis to an action/ decision you've taken.

    (5) Describe a time when you were asked to do a task that was out of your expertise

    (6) Describe a time when you motivated others in a team to achieve a team objective/ task

    After that, the last activity for me was the paper-based numerical test. They use SHL, like the online numerical test. It lasts for 20 mins and consist of 20 questions. Then that's the end of the assessment centre!

    That's about it. Overall, it was a good experience, also met some other nice candidates. They will take longest a week to inform us the outcome.

  • 5 March 2012 - 12:08pm
    • LCH

    Hi all,

    Just had my phone interview and though that I will jot down a few things before I forget. It's pretty much the same as what was shared previously.

    At the beginning they will set the structure of the interview process and tell you a bit about the graduate programme.

    As usual, they are looking for the STAR structure from your answer. As long as you answer accordingly, they won't be probing you further.

    The questions I was asked were as follows:

    Part 1: Competency questions:
    1. Describe a time when you had delivered good customer service
    2. Describe a time when your individual contribution towards a team helped to accomplish a team task goal.
    3. Give an example of when you had a challenging task but still manage to accomplish it (so the example I gave was how I had to meet multiple deadlines)
    4. Give an example that demonstrates your leadership skills, in the context that you had to take an unpopular action.

    Part 2: Motivational questions
    1. Why are you interested in joining banking industry?
    2. Why are you interested in joining Santander? (After your answer, they will then pick up on the things you mention and test you on your knowledge of the bank, e.g. recent acquisitions, their competitors)
    3. Why are you interested in the Operations graduate programme?
    4. What do you think you will be doing on a day-to-day basis in Operations?

    At the end of the interview, you will be asked if there are any questions you would like to ask. I asked about what will happen after the graduate programme, career progression etc.

    It'll take them latest 1 week to let you know about the outcome.

    Hope these help! Good luck :)

  • 24 February 2012 - 11:16am
    • tommy1990

    I applied for the operations programme and found out I'd passed the same day but they are taking a little longer to let me know if I'm through to AC. apparently more people have passed to this stage than they want to take to AC so they are reviewing everything we have done so far.

  • 13 February 2012 - 11:24am
    • tommy1990

    thanks SuperbadDude and sasha5!!!

  • 9 February 2012 - 6:47pm
    • user-deleted

    Sasha you don't need to prepare the presentation in advance as you won't know the topic but what you need to do is gather as much info as you can about Santander and their competitors which you are allowed to take in with you. You are given half an hr during the AC to prepare the presentation and ten mins to present, hope this helps!

  • 10 February 2012 - 1:13pm
    • bjones

    Thank you Rachel, it really helps.
    I appreciate it very much!

  • 9 February 2012 - 4:52pm
    • L1VSEY

    Hey Guys,

    Just had my telephone interview yesterday, don't know the outcome but I think it went ok. The competency based questions were a mix of the ones given by SuperbadDude and sasha5, so it seems they've just got a pool of questions and pick four to ask you.

    With the motivational questions of the interview, I got asked:

    Why Santander and this Graduate Scheme?
    Why Operations?

    And within those questions I got asked things Like,
    Can you name any of Santander's competitors?
    Outside of the UK, can you name any countries in which Santander operates?

    Hope this helps and good luck with your applications

  • 9 February 2012 - 4:54pm
    • bjones

    and one more came to me:
    Name Santander's Competitors.

    * sorry for this, things are just popping in my head.

  • 9 February 2012 - 4:53pm
    • bjones

    Oh, and I just remembered they asked me, what do you think you will be doing on a daily basis :)

  • 9 February 2012 - 4:51pm
    • bjones

    Hey Guys,
    I have just passed the telephone interview and I wanted to share the experience.

    It was very straight forward (the ready script kind of interview)- they ask you a couple of questions at the beginning such as - can you confirm that you are flexible to travel, or do you have/require a work permit... so this gives you a little but of time to just relax and get used to the whole "talking on the phone"

    the questions I got asked were:
    1. Why Santander
    2. Why Operations
    3. Give me an example of a time when your decisions/actions made you unpopular? (you can imagine my face when I heard that :) but its fine - you can use an example of a Conflict situation, where you tried to defend your point of view or something like this)
    4. an example of working in a team
    5. when you had to change your way of working.
    6. example when you worked towards a deadline/under pressure

    * I dont remember already the exact wording of the questions, for which I am sorry, but you get the point.

    My impression was that there were a lot of questions in comparison with other telephone interviews I had. One after another. The interviewer didn't interrupt me not even once, which was good as it gives you the chance to cover everything you had in mind. (although not more than 2.30-3 min per question is the standard)
    Mine was exactly 35 minutes ( so say 10 min general talk at the beginning and at the end and 20 min actual interview). They give you the chance to ask something at the end, so prepare a question if you want , although I don't think that saying you don't have any questions is bad.
    Hope this will helps.
    I am invited to an assessment centre now.

    I just have one question, does anybody know for sure if the presentation that should be done there needs to be prepared in advance, or they give you information for this task there and then they give you some time to prepare and then the interview/presentation follows?
    I am worried because I can't find information confirming this.

  • 7 February 2012 - 7:44pm
    • techcherry

    HI all

    Yes SuperbadDude you are a star, it is because of people like you that forum like this one can work...I got yesterday the email inviting me to do the online reasoning tests and was when I found this threat...well done and once again thanks a million!

  • 7 February 2012 - 5:05pm
    • L1VSEY

    Thanks SuperbadDude, your reply has really helped alot! Good luck

  • 7 February 2012 - 3:56pm
    • tradman27

    You are truly a superbaddaude and I have no doubt that you would receive an offer soonish.

    Thanks and Good luck.

  • 7 February 2012 - 2:59pm
    • SuperbadDude


    Apologies for the delay in getting back to all of you.

    20/25 mins with a spanish guy who has a groggier voice than Kermit and sounds like he's just woken up. Passed it though. Below are the questions which he (or if you're lucky, she) will ask:

    Q1 - Describe a time when you delivered exceptional customer service
    Q2 - Describe a time when you worked under pressure/had a limited time available for completing a project
    Q3 - When you showed teamwork
    Q4 - When you showed leadership
    Q5 - What does the Operations division do
    Q6 - Why Operations

    He'll start by 'eloquently' speaking about the structure for 10-15 mins, so it'll give you a chance to compose yourselves. The tele interview is mostly competency based, but with a little effort in preparing some good rigid answers with structure, you should be fine.

    Apart from a horrendous journey to Narborough, a village on the outskirts of Leicester where the assessment centre was, the day was quite an enjoyable one. Meeting likeminded individuals from across the country, sharing experiences and generally getting a feel for how the company works made it an interesting day. I will say although most of the assessors are quite welcoming, there were a couple that looked like they had a stick up their 'gluteus maximus'. I did and still do feel I did enough to pass on the day but unfortunately I had Tweedledum and Tweedle-flipping-Dee for my interview, and therefore I am on hold. Outcome is next week.

    Structure -

    Introduction - Interview by senior member

    Group Exercise
    Scored highly on this

    - 10 mins individual time to analyse several documents loaded with info. Dont worry, break it down and it's actually very straightforward. No complex concepts to grasp. Regarding business performance of a company and how you can improve it.
    - 10 mins discussion to come to a conclusion concerning 3 policies which you as a team would pursue and why
    - 10 mins to present to the assessors. There were around 12 assessors and 8 candidates. They encircled the room as if we were in a Flavian Amphitheatre, armed with clipboards. Nah, I'm kidding. They did encircle the room and were armed with clipboards, but don't think about them and you should be okay!

    30mins to prepare before you go in to present to two assessors. Scored highly on this.

    - Will vary between person to person I think, but research on Santander UK activities, really drive home the point that you know alot about Santander, the market it is in, the volatile market it faces, and what can be done to overcome these challenges

    Two assessors, scored weakly on this. 40-50 mins

    Describe a task where you demonstrated teamwork
    Describe a task where you faced a difficult experience and didn't know what to do
    Describe a time when you did something but turned out to be wrong and what you learnt from it.

    Many other follow up questions, what motivated you, what challenges did you face, what obstacles did you overcome, why did you take this action etc. The assessors made me wait about 10 mins outside and i think they were trying to catch me off guard but I managed to compose myself before I went in. Make sure you provide very thorough examples of each competency, use your telephone interview questions as a precursor.

    Guys, I would like to say something. This website runs on the premise that those who have had experiences from any bank/firm contribute and give back what they learnt and what others should do better. In this tumultuous and uncertain economic environment, we all know it is extremely difficult to attain a job. Those of you who have done so, well done. Those of you who haven't, lets work together and use the experiences to ensure that we WILL do better in this app process. I spite none, nor hold grudges with those who have succeeded before us. But giving back is an innate quality that should be practiced. We need to help each other! I want each and every one of you to contribute to any threads, posts, blogs regarding the application processes you have been through, for the benefit of other graduates.

    God be with you all.


  • 6 February 2012 - 6:21pm
    • tradman27


    Did you get the same questions as Francky?

  • 6 February 2012 - 3:54pm
    • tommy1990

    Hi all,
    I hope those of you who had assessment centres, tests and interviews ect did well.

    firstly to those asking about the verbal and numerical reasoning tests there is nothing to worry about as long as you practise. most large organisations including santander use SHL who have practise tests on their website (you need to signup just use fake details if your bothered) . if you do a few of them you get the hang of them.

    secondly did everyone who completed the telephone interview recieve the same questions as francky?

    I think I will have the same guy for my telephone interview, the person who phoned to set a date didnt speak particularly good english :/. it worries me slightly.

    did you get the same questions as Francky for the interview?

  • 4 February 2012 - 2:34pm
    • Michaeldouglas1985

    Check your inbox

  • 3 February 2012 - 12:44am
    • tradman27

    Thanks for that Francky.

    I do have one next week - Operations.

    Good luck too.

  • 1 February 2012 - 6:44pm
    • tradman27

    Francky ,

    Have you had your Telephone interview?

    How did it go? do you mind sharing some details?