An adventure to remember

The UBS Horizons Program is an exciting opportunity for first years to learn about the working world

The UBS Horizons Program is an exciting opportunity for first years to learn about the working world - about as far away from the office as you can get!

Are you graduating from a European university in 2013, keen on a career in banking and looking for a real adventure? UBS is recruiting the crème de la crème of today's ambitious students to join five-week Raleigh expeditions to Borneo, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and India. It's a unique opportunity to take part in community and environmental projects in the summer of 2011, and get that first foot in the door at UBS. At the end of the project you'll embark on a seven day adventure challenge which could involve raft building, trekking through the rainforest or competitive survival activities.

You might wonder what trekking through a tropical jungle or white water rafting has to do with banking. The answer is that it's a chance to develop transferable skills that you can take with you into your career. The great thing about achieving a placement on the Horizons Program is that you are guaranteed a spot on the UBS summer internship place for 2012. One year on, you'll be ahead of the game, having already acquired so many of the skills you'll need to excel in the workplace. 2010 Horizons winner Shehlina Karimi, who helped build a school in Costa Rica, said: "Dealing with people from a variety of backgrounds on UBS Horizons teaches you to be part of a team. I really feel I've developed as a person and it's made me a lot more open-minded."

Johnny Rowles is studying Chemistry at the University of Oxford. He recently returned from Costa Rica, where he helped to build a hatchery to protect the eggs of an endangered species of turtle that nests on the idyllic Playa Hermosa beach. He hopes to work in Equity Sales when he graduates.

What first attracted you to UBS Horizons?

I liked the fact that it guarantees you an internship early on. I'm doing a four-year course and there aren't many banks that consider you if you're not in your penultimate year. I can concentrate on my studies because I don't need to worry about nailing down a place on an internship. Also, I like travelling and it's a real privilege to go somewhere so untouched.

What did you find most valuable about the experience?

Everyone had to be a day leader at some point, which taught us a lot. I learned that to make progress on that day, you need to understand your team because everyone needs to feel that their work matters. I set people personal challenges so they had a goal in sight. As a leader you also have to emanate self-belief - I found that people responded better to instructions when the logic behind them was clear.

How is the UBS Horizons Program different from others similar to it?

At UBS there's a really personal approach to your development. For example, they've set me up with a mentor at the firm, Jess, who's always there for a coffee or a catch-up. It's lovely that high-up people in the bank have an interest inme - I feel I've got a relationship with UBS that will grow from here.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I could be flexible and adapt to the raw physical surroundings - it was very hot and humid. I also found that I was able to take the initiative a lot of the time. I discovered I don't like it when things aren't moving forward - and I found it very rewarding to inject some pace into the work.

What did you enjoy most?

The feeling of being in touch with the environment and giving something back to it when we take so much from it. When we'd finished the hatchery, the local mayor visited it and he was very appreciative, which made us realise we'd done something worthwhile.

What did you enjoy least?

There were surprisingly few low points, but I got a little frustrated towards the end when we began to run out of work - but that was because we'd finished the project early by working at quite a pace!

What was the most memorable aspect of the trip?

We did a four-day trek over three huge peaks that involved 2am starts, carrying heavy bags, and an early river crossing that gave us damp feet for the whole journey. Despite everything, we all stuck together and the group stayed happy. Getting to the camp felt like a real achievement.

How has the program affected your view of UBS?

I already knew that UBS takes an interest in who you are and your personal development. Their affiliation with Raleigh has confirmed this for me.

How has the experience set you apart from other candidates interested in UBS?

UBS Horizons gives you a chance to come out of your shell - now I know how to get the best out of people. I also learned how to avoid conflict, complete group tasks, forward plan and keep a positive mindset. I'm looking forward to showing off these skills during my internship!

The deadline to apply for Horizons is January 16, 2011.