What it does: consumer, corporate and investment banking services.
Best known for: The group has gained recognition as the best bank in Pakistan.
Staff stats: More than 5,000 employees.
The good bits: Recent graduates have the chance to pursue a management role more quickly through the company’s Management Trainee Officer programme. The bank also provides competitive salaries for entry-level bank officers.
The not so good bits: Askari Bank doesn’t accept applicants for the training programme if they are over 30 years old.
Hiring grads with top marks in: accounting, banking and finance; business and marketing; communications and media; human resources and legal; commerce and economics; information technology.
Askari Bank opened for business in 1992 and initially provided banking services in compliance with the Banking Companies Ordinance 1962. The company listed on the Pakistan Stock Exchange, which is the combined stock market after merger among the Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad Stock Exchanges.
Since then, the group has grown into a significant commercial and retail bank in the country. Askari Bank’s portfolio of consumer and deposit products comprises 14 categories including credit cards, current and savings accounts, mortgage finance and vehicle loans. Their non-retail business consists of agriculture banking, corporate and investment banking, SME financing and the equity capital market.
The bank has won several recognitions over the years. The Asian Bank named the company as the ‘Best Retail Bank in Pakistan’ from 2004 to 2005. Global Finance magazine recognised the company as ‘The Best Bank in Pakistan’ for 2001 and 2002, and the ‘Best Consumer Internet Bank’ from 2002 to 2003. The Consumer Association of Pakistan also ranked Askari as ‘The Best Consumer Banking’ for three consecutive years since 2004.
Askari Bank implements different hiring processes for several positions. The company routinely hires entry-, mid- and senior-level positions because of its constant expansion. Recent graduates must complete a series of job interviews and exams to qualify for their desired roles. Experienced candidates need to attend job interviews that can either be done by a panel or a single interviewer.
Fresh graduates who pass the tests and interviews can also choose to join the bank as Trainee Officers. You can be a Management Trainee Officer (MTO) or a General Banking Trainee Officer (GBTO). MTOs are groomed to be the next leaders at the company. Askari Bank will train MTOs and GBTOs through classroom sessions and on-the-job exposure. The company screens trainees through a test that covers topics such as accounting and finance, business mathematics, economics, English and general knowledge.
Askari Bank requires aspiring trainees to be not more than 30 years old, have a minimum CGPA of 3.0 and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, Economics, Commerce, or Banking and Finance. The bank accepts a diploma in a relevant programme from HEC-accredited schools.
Students can pursue an internship at the bank at any time of the year. Askari Bank will require you to submit an application form, a copy of CNIC and resume, passport-size photos and a recommendation letter from your school.
Interns usually earn at least PKR 5,000 per month. The monthly average salary for an entry-level bank officer ranges from PKR 34,000 to PRK 36,000, which is higher than the industry average of around PKR 290,000 per year. Askari Bank also provides employees with annual bonuses, Eid financial incentives, gratuity and provident funds, LFAs and reimbursement of hospital expenses.
Some employees reportedly follow strict work schedules that usually last between nine and ten hours daily. Senior roles can be stressful, but it can be a rewarding experience.
‘My work was challenging with an “unbalanced work-life”, but that was a great learning experience.’
- Jamal Khursheed, Former Assistant Vice President, General Banking Division
Askari Bank’s rivals include Al Baraka Bank (Pakistan) Ltd, Bank Al-Habib Ltd, National Bank of Pakistan, MCB Bank Ltd and Allied Bank Ltd.
The bank’s corporate social responsibility projects focus on the underprivileged sector in Pakistan. Askari Bank trains graduate children of ‘low-cadre employees’ to boost their chances of passing the standardised test after graduation. The company offers paid training and guaranteed employment for those who pass the exams.
Fresh graduates need to have an impressive academic history before thinking of joining Askari Bank. Qualified applicants have greater chances of landing a management role at the company through the MTO programme, although you need to prepare for possibly long working hours and an uneven work-life balance. You should also expect a tough competition among your peers, particularly for roles in the company’s banking division.