Are you interested in getting into banking? This is a very popular choice and here are a few tips:
- Read the right subject: If possible, take a subject that demonstrates that you are numerate; banks like economics, maths, engineering and finance.
- Understand the roles: Be clear you know early which area of the bank you wish to apply to for internships. This mainly splits into two: Investment Banking which is corporate finance and M&A or Global Markets which is sales and trading. Some banks also have separate programmes for their asset/investment management or private wealth areas. The banks will expect you to understand the difference and know which one you wish to pursue. They also normally will have a separate programme for technology students. For further information on the different roles –click here:
- Start early: Ensure you apply in your first year to all the Spring weeks (Easter of your first year). Try and complete a number if you are offered and its logistically possible – they are often on different weeks, so you could do three. Most of these will then ‘fast track’ you on to their summer internship. Also look out for other opportunities offered by the banks – campus reps for example or essay or trading competitions. Pursue them all. Look Here.
- Practice online numerical tests: Most banks use these as a screening process to eliminate large swaths of applicants. There is a notional pass mark and everyone below this gets automatically rejected. The tests are tricky and need practice. A few bank do not use them (eg Goldman Sachs) so ensure you apply to these if you are worried about them. Practice tests here.
- Secure a summer internship: Most banks recruit their graduate entry from their 10-week summer internship, so it is imperative that you secure a place on one of these. It does not have to be in your penultimate year – many of these internships have graduates and masters students on them. Also ensure you apply to most of the banks, even though this is onerous – it improves your odds of securing a place. Summer internships here.
- Build your knowledge: Do things that demonstrate you are interested in the banking world – join the finance and investment society at your university, participate in a trading game or other such competition, read the financial press etc.
- Build your CV: Because banking is so competitive, it is not good enough to only offer academic excellence. You need to have other extra curricular activities. For example, banks like sport and people who play in teams. So participate in clubs and societies at university. Other activities could include, music, drama, volunteering, leadership roles etc. So when you get to university don’t just sit back and party!
- Don’t give up: If you cannot secure your chosen job first time, apply for middle office roles in areas such as credit risk or market risk. Once you are in the bank, take your SFA exams and start to explore ways of moving into the area you are interested in. Alternatively look at other financial firms in the investment management area - here