I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at RWE npower in February 2013.
Interview Details – Applied online, had a telephone interview and was invited to the assessment day in Suilhull office. The day consisted of a 2-1 interview (with a junior and hiring manager), logic test (common sense maths test), presentation and group exercise.
Interview: It had 2 parts, competency and technical. The latter weighs more than the former. The latter topics include (not exhaustively) Volatility modelling, forward curve analysis, non-linear (but parametric) regression techniques, Brownian motion, stochastic calculus. For the competency questions, one must be able to give examples directly related to quantitative risk. Even for a simple question such as "give me an example when you had to work in a team," better to give an example from a coursework in mathematical finance than an example from your extracurricular activity or work experience as a barmaid.
Logic test: This consists of a series of common sense mathematics questions such as how many squares are there in a chess-board.
Presentation: Once you pass the telephone interview with the HR, you are sent a topic of your presentation. You will then have to present this to 2 assessors. Because of the nature of the graduate programme, there seemed to exist right and wrong answers to the topic.
Group exercise: In a team of 4 - 7, you are asked to fill out 10X10 grid. You are given partial information about the complete grid and are allowed to communicate with your team members only verbally.
Overall, the whole process is pleasant. It's great that the company reimburses the travel costs. The assessment day began at 8am, so many stayed in Birmingham overnight. The company paid for the hotel as well (as long as the total travel cost was less than £100). You will need to keep the receipts though.
My advice is you don't necessarily have to know much about nPower or RWE to get an offer. You need to be familiar with financial mathematics. Spend less time on researching the company. Spend more time refreshing your memory. It's difficult to answer the technical questions if you are already graduated some time ago (your memory fades away).
One negative is You have to have an obligatory lunch with assessors (so you can never relax) and you have to pretend that you want to know more about the job even though you don't even have an offer yet.
Interview Question – Draw a Brownian motion. Answer Question
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