In investment banking circles a spring week could be the start of big things for a prospective investment banking applicant.
Spring weeks are a type of pre-internship event which are quite particular to the realm of investment banking. They take place, unsurprisingly, over the Easter holidays. And the application deadline for each bank occurs early – usually around Christmas before the programmes take place!
Depending on the bank, a spring week can be general and cover all divisions, or they may have specific programmes divided into front offices roles and middle/back office roles. Top tier investment banks explicitly state that they hire many of their interns from the group of applicants who have also attended their spring week programme. So if you’ve got your sights set on investment banking in the City, a spring week is a pretty big deal!
What will I do on a spring week?
A spring week programme will follow an itinerary of various different events, such as these:
- Workshops with recruiters, in which will give you tips for the application process for an internship with the bank and the route to a full-time position.
- A number of talks designed to provide you with an insight into the markets and the bank itself.
- Plenty of opportunities to network.
- A chance to meet junior analysts at the firm and receive mentoring from them.
- Seminars in which you’ll get to study business case studies with guidance from employees at the bank.
- Group activities which provide an opportunity to work through scenarios you may face on the job at the bank – and impress the professionals and recruiters!
If there’s one thing the application process does, then it certainly whips you into shape in preparation for the intense road ahead when you move on to apply for those summer internships and, finally, a graduate job in investment banking.
Competition is high for these insight programmes, and it’ll give you a taster of what’s to come! There are a limited number of places on all spring week events, and when you think that part of the process is to help the bank slim down a potential talent pool, there’s no excuse for a half-hearted application!
The majority of investment banks will use this kind of application process for their spring week:
- A straight-forward online application. You’ll have to submit your CV online and provide full details of your exam grades etc. At this point you’ll also have to provide a statement about your motivations for applying for the programme. (Here’s a hint: talking about how you simply dream about financial markets every night here won’t be a good move! It’s about showing them how you do it with your extra-curricular activities and such. All talk with nothing to back it up won’t impress.)
- Invitation to take online tests. These usually include numerical tests; sometimes verbal too, or even psychometric tests.
- Interview. If you pass the tests, then you can expect a telephone interview to follow, or you may even have to attend an interview in person.
A cheeky tip or two
Do your research before you apply! You need to start thinking now about why you want to work for a particular bank before you go ahead and apply for one of their spring programmes. Even at this stage, your commercial awareness is paramount; start thinking about what differentiates banks within the market, where their strengths are, and take a look into deals they’re involved with in the business news. The more insightful your responses are in an application and interview, the better chance you stand of earning a place.
You can also consider practicing a few verbal and numerical reasoning tests online to get a feel for them before you have to do the real thing.
Oh, and it’s best not to apply to more than one spring week programme with one bank. You need to have a solid of idea of which area you are interested in before you apply, whether that be front office, middle office or back office (you can check out the Industry Breakdowns to get a better idea if you’re not sure!), and then go for the relevant spring week for that division.
Banks will usually stagger the dates for their programmes during the spring week season, so it is possible to attend a programme with more than one bank.
What if I don’t get a place on a spring week?
If you don’t manage to bag a place on a spring week programme, don’t despair. All is not lost! It won’t automatically mean that you won’t have a shot at a summer internship place. What you will need to do is work hard to whip your CV into the best shape possible. Investment banking recruiters are looking for applicants with a track record of engagement and interest in the financial markets and banking. With this in mind, get involved with your finance society at university as much as you can and don’t miss out on the networking events they run. This is a great way of getting in front of finance professionals too, building up your network and getting the best tips you can for when the time comes to apply for an internship.