MBA Recruiter Interview: Wells Fargo

Tuesday, December 23, 2014 at 11am

Wells Fargo, ranked 54th on the Universum Top 100 Ideal MBA Employer List, is the world’s largest bank by market capitalization, as well as the fourth-largest bank in the US. But despite its gargantuan proportions, Lance LaVergne, senior vice president and head of the Enterprise Talent Acquisitions and Strategy Practice Group, says that Wells Fargo is a “relationship company”, with a culture that values collaboration and teamwork.

The culture at a company is, of course, one of the key things MBAs should research before applying; LaVergne believes it is particularly important in the case of Wells Fargo. In the below Q&A, he outlines what the bank is looking for in its MBA hires.

Wells Fargo is ranked 54th in the Universum Top 100 Ideal MBA Employer Ranking. Why do you think so many MBA graduates want to work for Wells Fargo?

Wells Fargo is an outstanding organization that offers tremendous opportunity to all of its team members. From a business perspective, Wells Fargo is a leader in just about every segment we serve whether it's our community banks, consumer lending businesses, wealth brokerage & retirement group, or wholesale banking. We have a strong balance sheet and are the world’s largest bank by market capitalization. I believe another reason MBA graduates would be drawn to Wells Fargo is our culture of collaboration and teamwork. We want to be an employer of choice, a company that really cares about people, where teamwork is valued and rewarded, where how the work gets done is just as important as getting the work done. We’re a relationship company, but our relationships with our customers are only as strong as our relationships with each other. Wells Fargo also has a strong belief in the value of diversity and inclusion, and fosters an environment for team members to have an extensive commitment to their communities.

What are the most common job roles for MBAs?

Our most common MBA job roles at Wells Fargo are in our commercial banking, investment banking, and wealth brokerage & retirement (WBR) groups. Commercial banking is Wells Fargo's largest relationship business, with more than 120 regional commercial banking offices nationwide. The Wells Fargo Securities investment banking team delivers industry and product expertise to clients of all sizes, from middle market clients across the country to the largest, most sophisticated global companies. WBR is one of four main lines of business at Wells Fargo with US$1.4 trillion in client assets. Services include investment management, brokerage, private banking, estate planning strategies, trust, insurance and both individual and institutional retirement.
Is MBA hiring going up or down this year?

We expect hiring at Wells Fargo to be on par with the last couple of years.

Could you give an overview of Well Fargo's MBA recruitment and interview process?

Wells Fargo’s recruitment and interview process is straightforward. We host many information sessions and targeted events on targeted college campuses across the country, and this is often the first step in the recruitment process. There is a recruiting schedule on our careers website where MBA students and graduates can learn about if/when Wells Fargo will be on their campus. Often times first round interviews are conducted onsite at the campus and as candidates progress in the recruiting process, they may participate in additional interviews at a Wells Fargo location.

Which MBA conventions and job fairs do Wells Fargo recruiters attend on a regular basis?

While a good amount of our outreach is done through campus recruiting, we do have alliances with MBA-oriented enterprise partners including the National Black MBA Conference & Career Expo, National Society of Hispanic MBA Conference & Career Expo, Reaching out LGBT MBA Conference & Career Expo, Asian MBA Conference & Career Expo, and the MBA Veterans Conference.

What do you look for when evaluating résumés and candidate experience? Are there any important skills you look for that might not occur to MBA job candidates?

Our recruiting team is focused on reviewing coursework, activities, experiences and responses to interview questions as part of the assessment. They are looking for candidates who have demonstrated leadership, possess strong critical thinking, communications and project management skills, proven experience in successfully working in a team environment, and embrace similar values as Wells Fargo including diversity, community, and integrity. Candidates should have a demonstrated interest in the company and the financial services industry.

What are some dos and don'ts students should be aware of during the recruitment process in order to make a good impression?

I think it’s important that candidates ‘do’ express a consistent interest in the company they are interviewing with. I can’t stress enough how important it is to do your homework – know what the company stands for, what their vision and mission are, and ensure that aligns with your personal values. I also think candidates ‘do’ need to follow up with someone internally. Build relationships and develop advocates within the company. I would say that the ‘don’t’ list is pretty standard with things like no typos in résumés, don’t harass a recruiter, but I also think it’s important to not underestimate every interaction with anyone in the company you are applying for. Whether it’s a teller in our community bank, or a relationship manager in wholesale, every single interaction matters. You never know when you’ll cross paths again with that person inside the company or in other professional circles.

How many MBAs interned at Wells Fargo this year? Of those interns, how many left with full-time job offers?

In 2014 we had 85 MBAs intern through one of our formal intern programs in the wealth, commercial and investment banking groups, and 81% received formal full time job offers.

From which business schools does Wells Fargo recruit the majority of its MBA employees? Are most of these schools located in the United States or does Wells Fargo recruit MBAs from other countries?

We recruit from 15-20 top MBA programs across the country, along with a handful of regional MBA programs to support regional operations across the company. Our recruiting is primarily US centric business schools.

What does Wells Fargo expect from new MBA hires? What can new hires do to increase their chances for advancement down the road?

At Wells Fargo we want all of our team members to make meaningful contributions to the company and maximize their full potential. We believe that all team members are called upon to be leaders – to be the link between the vision of the company and our customers. Leaders are accountable, and great leaders inspire other team members to have confidence in themselves. Our vision & values states, “It’s not the strongest or most intelligent who survive in our industry, but rather those who best adapt to change. By being common where possible and custom where it counts, we can take full advantage of the knowledge and experience of all our businesses and the creativity of all our team members.”

Is there anything else MBAs should know before applying for jobs at Wells Fargo?

I think it is worth saying again that candidates should do their homework. It’s incredibly important to understand what the company does, and explain how they can and add value in that position. More importantly, candidates need to be able to articulate that they understand the culture of the company, and how it aligns with their personal values.

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