MSc Admissions Blog

Advice and Information from the MSc Admissions team

A Focus on Graduate Recruitment Programmes – When should I apply?


Typically in the UK, there is a lot of activity in September to October in the graduate recruitment sphere with many of the big names in graduate recruitment such as PwC, Deloitte, JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank (to name but a few) opening  their applications for graduate programmes for the following year, effectively starting their recruitment process a whole year before you step through the door as a graduate hire the following summer. So for this year applications will tend to open in September 2014 and close as early as November 2014 for a summer 2015 start.

However some companies are opening their doors for applications as early as August 2014(Trafigura) and Barclays have already opened applications for their Asia Pacific region for 2015.

Every company will have different opening and closing dates so it is important to know when these are.

It is also important to note that many internship programmes will also open applications at the same or similar times as the graduate schemes so if you intend to take up an internship once you have completed your course then you also need to take this into consideration.

Why do they open so early?

A question we get asked every year by students is why do some graduate recruitment schemes open so early?  One of the main reasons is due to the number of applications that some of the large organisations receive (up to 33,000 per year for 120 places) so recruitment teams need to start this process early.

When should I start applying?

It is becoming more and more common for organisations to open their applications without a closing date. This effectively means that organisations open their applications and when they deem they have enough, applications close. With this in mind our advice would be apply as soon as possible.

We are also seeing some companies opening rolling applications which effectively means they will accept applications all year round as well as recruiting at various points throughout the year for off cycle internships, which tend to be longer internships (typically 6 months +) that arise throughout the year and availability will depend on business needs.

How long does the process last?

For many graduate programmes the application process can be quite lengthy, typically lasting several months with first round interviews and psychometric testing taking place towards the end of the year and further assessments happening the following spring.

What can I do now?

Given the above we would recommend the following:

  • Research companies you would like to apply to in your desired sector using resources such as:

Inside Careers


Target Jobs:

Efinancial careers

  • Sign up for e-mail alerts/ follow organisations on social media so you are alerted when their vacancies go live
  • Look at website that have deadline diaries such as:

Save the

(We would recommend that you don’t just rely on these sites for information on deadlines and that you also keep track of them independently)

What if I don’t want to join a graduate programme?

Graduate training schemes are not the only route into the jobs market and there may be some of you who don’t want to join a graduate programme if you have more experience. Typically we would expect to see more activity for these individuals 2-3 months before you complete your course as lead times to employment are much shorter. However you can start networking as soon as you arrive at Cass as well as using this time to consider your options and build knowledge on companies and industries that you might be interested in.

Look out for our next blog about What are employers really looking for? on Thursday 31st July.

If you have any questions please contact us at


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