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Why a MBA / Leadership Development Program (vs. direct hire)?
I made an industry switch from management consulting to Banking. LDP was a good way to learn about different facets of banking in a quick way.

What are the key advantages / disadvantages of being on a MBA / Leadership Development Program?
Advantages: Exposure to different parts of the business, to senior leadership (I have presented directly to the UK Retail Bank CEO and reported directly to an Executive Committee member who is among top 20 leaders at UK Retail & Buiness Banking unit of Barclays), steep learning curve, and opportunity to build a strong network across the bank etc.

Disadvantages:
Highly structured programme where most people felt that they were being treated like school children, at best limited say in choosing the business area you want to have a rotation with, very poor HR team managing the programme, little focus on our contribution to the business and a lot more on what we have done for the LDP HR team managing us from LDP perspective. Most importantly, the LDP HR team acted as a blocker for most of us - whether it be choosing the right rotations, or getting ratings which reflect contribution to business, or securing good after LDP permanent roles (e.g. the business offered me a double promotion to VP level based on competitive interviews and my performance in the business. But the LDP HR brought it down to AVP level!).

All in all a great programme which is very poorly managed - a lot of fake promises really!

How does the MBA / Leadership Development Program fit in your career goals?
It does not fit any longer as the recruiting team hardly met any of the promises/commitments they made at the time of recruiting me and most people on LDP feel the same way.

How strongly did you weight the location of the program?
Very highly - UK is an english speaking and multi-cultural country and London is a major financial hub globally.

What to look for in a MBA / Leadership Development Program?
How much flexibility you have in choosing your rotations, what level can you expect to move at after the LDP, and commitment from the business. Barclays FLDP is definitely not the program to join if you want to be in control of your career.

Can you summarize the recruiting process you went through and how long it took?
Application (CV, Cover Letter, Essays), Online testing (numerical, verbal reasoning, psychometric), Competency based telephonic interview, and full day assessment centre (involving more tests, interviews, individual and group case studies, and a presentation). The process was very smooth and professional - the only good thing about FLDP,

What were the required skillsets and prior experience and how were they evaluated (behavioral interviews, case studies, assessment center, panel interview, etc)?
No particular skill-sets except common sense, comfort with numbers, commercial judgement, and ability to communicate concisely and precisely at all levels. Behaviors tested included Bold, Inspiring, and Collaborative.

What advice and tips can you share with those interested in MBA Development Programs?
Look for programs other than Barclays FLDP.