Learn more, be more

For UBS to stay agile in a changing world, we launched UBS University, a comprehensive platform for employees to take their growth and development into their own hands.

20 Mar 2018

Siobhan McDonagh, Head HR Investment Bank, and Stefan Seiler, Group Head Human Resources, keep UBS employees ahead of the competition by making sure they have opportunities to develop and grow.


In a world where change is constant and where artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly sophisticated, knowledge is what sets us apart and keeps us flexible and competitive as a firm and as individuals. A workforce that adapts and regularly builds its knowledge keeps its employer ahead of the competition too. “Learning plays a key role in organizational success. That is why we want to create an environment at UBS where our employees can accelerate their growth,” Stefan Seiler, Group Head Human Resources, says. In his previous role as Head Talent and Recruiting, he transformed internal learning and development at UBS by launching UBS University and elevating talent topics across the firm.

The launch of UBS University

We launched UBS University in 2017 as a one-stop resource for employees’ continued professional growth, building on our existing learning and development platforms. In total, we offer more than 2,400 trainings – ranging from leadership and advisory training to skill development and specialist product training. Courses are available on demand and delivered in a variety of methods including classroom training, e-learnings, videos and webinars. The offering is constantly evolving.

In 2017, two new UBS University campuses opened in China, one located in Beijing and the other in Wuxi. They complement campuses that already exist in the Asia Pacific region, located in Hong Kong, Singapore and India. This expansion exemplifies UBS’s commitment to the development of local talent in the region.

Learning plays a key role in organizational success. That is why we want to create an environment at UBS where our employees can accelerate their growth.

Stefan Seiler

Siobhan McDonagh and Stefan Seiler are convinced that lifelong learning is critically important.

Learning for today and tomorrow

All our employees can benefit from learning and development opportunities that support them in enhancing their knowledge and skills at all ages and career stages. In 2017, our permanent employees participated in approximately 765,500 development activities, including mandatory training on compliance, business and other topics. This was an average of 12.2 training sessions, or 2.3 training days, per employee.

Global demographic changes mean that many people are working longer in life, and doing so in a rapidly changing environment. This makes ongoing training and personal development more important than ever. We have a number of classes, events and initiatives that target experienced employees across the firm. One example is a suite of lifelong learning programs for age 45+ employees in Switzerland – including specialized learning, personal career planning sessions and training in information and communication technologies, networking, languages, social media and multi-generational collaboration.

Empowering leaders and developing careers

We expect our leaders at all levels to support our strategy and be role models for behaviors that further strengthen our culture. We develop current and future leaders through a leadership program suite that spans from first-level line managers to senior executive levels. Programs like our Senior Leadership Experience for our most senior executives and the Senior Leadership Program for managing directors help define our expectations for leadership excellence and build confidence in our strategy and culture. All employees and managers are asked to consider development activities and career planning in regular, two-way discussions. And line managers are expected to actively support both development and internal mobility for employees, as these are key factors for professional growth, engagement and retention.

By encouraging our employees to actively work on their development and design their own individual learning journeys, UBS fosters an inspiring work and learning environment. “It means that we take full ownership of our own lifelong learning,” says Stefan Seiler, “and develop our capabilities to stand out as a winner, today and tomorrow.”


A school’s decade of success

UBS celebrates a milestone achievement in its support of The Bridge Academy, a secondary school that provides excellent and inclusive education to the local community.

The academic year 2017 / 18 marks the 10-year anniversary of our flagship Community Affairs education partnership with The Bridge Academy. “What I’m most proud of is how far we go back, and how long people have worked together to bring sustainable success to students,” said Andrea Orcel, CEO of UBS AG London Branch and UBS Limited. The Bridge Academy is a secondary school (11- to 18-year-olds) in Hackney, London. Co-founded by UBS (the first financial services firm to do so) and a private client, it is in the top 5% of the most disadvantaged schools nationally. Despite this challenging context, in 2017, the Academy was placed in the top 10% nationally for student progress in exit exams. The school also achieved its best exam results and placements to date, with 91% of graduating students accepting university places – of these, 71% are the first in their family to do so.

Support of younger children planned

Since 2003, UBS employee volunteers have contributed more than 61,000 hours across a range of activities, including final-year and subject mentoring, career and enterprise workshops, reading and maths breakfast clubs, work placements and interview practice. The partnership gives students the opportunity to gain exposure to the business world and provides external expertise and support that might not otherwise be available. There are plans underway to build partnerships to support children from an earlier age and raise the level of employee engagement even further.