I attended FinanceInterns' The Anatomy of an Investment Bank workshop last summer in an attempt to do something useful with my time before starting my final year at Uni and embarking upon, not only my coursework and revision, but also having to endure that tough balancing act - like all my peers - of trying to fit in all those online applications and, hopefully, interviews and assessment centres.
I had my work cut out
I hadn't been fortunate enough to secure a Summer Internship so I definitely had my work cut out for me in standing out amongst all those other applicants. The first thing that FinanceInterns helped me with, and it sounds so glaringly obvious I know, was ro truly realise that I had to get my application in early. Although I'd heard this so many times before at Uni and a few Careers Fairs, it always came across as yet another burden and something else to get around to tackling. The FinanceInterns team reiterated this same message but also emphasised that once you've got those applications out there, it's exciting waiting for those responses and invites to come back. You've done the hardwork then and can relax in anticipation of what might be in store. Putting it so positively really helped - I kind of wanted to run home and start applying right there and then!
Listening to solid content from a real investment banker
As to the actual content, I think I had the most to learn out of the other students in attendance as my background isn't financial at all. I didn't know whether to attend this workshop or the Financial Markets Overview one but opted for this one because I really didn't know where I might fit in at an Investment Bank and what desk might suit me. Also I figured that I needed to have some decent knowledge of what each department did so I could write some informed and convincing answers to all those online application questions, not to mention sound knowledgeable if I actually managed to get to interview. The topics covered were structured with good visuals and coupled with the insights of those who actually work in the markets.
The presenting style was energetic and to be learning all of this stuff from a real investment banker was pretty inspiring. It also gave me the opportunity to ask multiple questions of the guy if I didn't understand something, without clamouring to get a word in amongst some
aggressive self-promoting peers (I've actually been elbowed out the way once at a Careers Fair stand by somebody who had their own business cards!) as seems to be standard during the recruitment rounds these days.
An alternative opportunity
After the workshop I fired off all my applications early on, some of them before my Uni term even started, so I felt quite smug versuses my coursemates come October. I didn't actually have much success in London unfortunately though beyond first round interviews but after
some lousy rejections, I got a great role in Switzerland - a location I hadn't considered until I spoke to the FinanceInterns team. Back then their site was a bit basic, but now there's the Deadlines and Alternative Applications pages, so I'd recommend to anyone to take a look into these if they think they might not be on the radars of the top IBs.