Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Banking Internship/Job Mania in UK Universities

This blog post analyses the centricity on banking internships and jobs in many university campuses in the UK (especially Warwick). The run for internships and banking jobs in Warwick is not merely limited to the Business School, but includes the departments of Engineering (⅓ of graduates enter the finance and banking industry), Economics, Mathematics and Statistics, and Natural Sciences. The following blog is analysed:

The recruitment strategy of major banks in the UK draw from a number of persuasion and influence techniques. The strategies are analysed using the methods outlined in ‘How to Become a Cult Leader (or avoid being a follower)’ by Pratkanis and Bronson (1992).

Banks create their own social reality on university campuses through immense presence right from the start of term. Firstly, they sponsor a large number of events and societies, in return for students’ efforts in marketing the firm on campus. This is based on the social norm of reciprocity (see Regan, 1971), and coercive funding requirements. Secondly, banks run a large number of events, including CV classes, application guidances, presentations, subject-focussed talks, networking events, and dinners. These events usually include free food and wine to reinforce the reciprocity effect. Peer pressure enhances the social reality, in that students perceive their future career in terms of two binary outcomes: getting into a top-paying bank, or a “cardboard box under London Bridge”.

Banks create a Granfalloon through their sponsorship and merchandising articles. A large number of students wear clothing articles with banks’ brands and slogans. In addition, group identification is frequently established among students. Asking how the application is going, what internship they got, or what graduate offer they accepted, is commonly asked when meeting someone (just before the ‘how are you?’).

Students are required extensive commitment. The application processes are time-intensive, and due to the competitive nature of students are forced to apply to a large number of firms. In return, successful candidates attain social recognition, and are showered with compliments by their future employers. The prospect of long hours in their future jobs is not a detrimental factor, but contrarily a matter of proud competition.

Credibility and authority for banks is socially constructed through students repetitively engaging in discussions about which banks are best, who pays the most, which one is more work intensive, etc. The prospects of intense competition, and future benefits in terms of parties and high wages reinforce the myth of the City. 

When being in an internship, students are hardly let alone. They are bombarded with work, continuously stay more than 15 hours a day in their offices, and are brought to ‘exclusive’ bankers’ parties. This creates the ‘elite’ image of banking, becoming the only imaginable scenario for their future careers.

The single most present method of persuasion is the illusion of a promised land. Students accept short-term adversities for the promise of richness in the future. The illusion of living happy lives once they work in the City, combined with their perceived ‘elite’ status in society drive candidates to extensive commitment. 

Pratkanis, A.R., Bronson, E. (1992) Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion. New York: Holt.

Regan (1971) Effects of a Favor and Liking on Compliance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology

1 comment:

  1. This is really excellent. Thanks for posting this.


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