A University of Warwick undergraduate offers further insight on how to take the first steps towards a career in investment banking. In his latest blog on this topic he shares his experience of perhaps the most realistic route into the industry, the Insight day and Spring week.
What happens on the insight days and spring weeks?
“After breakfast on the Insight day we were invited to a series of talks, where 5 senior people from different parts of Investment Banking & Markets came to talk to us about their divisions. It was incredibly insightful and really useful to see how they had progressed in the financial world, especially the ones with no finance background like myself. A Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) game followed, we were assembled into groups and were given a ‘deal book’. Inside this was a lot of information and several proposals on what we should do.
It was really fun and interesting to see how other people interpreted data. After this was wrapped up we were whisked off to the trading floor. We were guided around by two graduates and got to ask loads of questions about their job and the recruitment process. This was followed by a trading game in which we were split into teams and had to do a trading simulation. It was incredibly fun and definitely showed me as fun as trading was, I couldn’t do it for a job!
Once we had returned to the boardroom in which we started we had an IB panel, made up of an analyst, an associate and a vice-president. The panel was really useful to ask quite in-depth questions and find out what motivated these people and why they chose the company to work for that they did. This is where I learnt two really important rules: don’t ask about salary/working hours (it’s no secret it is intensive) and don’t ask a question to make you sound smart!
The day finished off with a networking opportunity that proved very insightful, this is where you could ask people more about their job and if they had any tips for you in the recruitment process. A few weeks later they sent out emails asking which team you would like to be considered for the next summer’s intern class.
My second insight was very different as it was five days long. Our first two days of the week featured a lot of high profile speakers who also made themselves very visible throughout the week. These talks were accompanied by talks from analysts who were very new to the company so they could give us a real perspective of what it would be like to be in their shoes within the next year or two.
The next 3 days we were work shadowing. We were assigned a buddy at the start of the week and assigned 3 random teams to work with that would be a mix of product and coverage. One of the teams would be your buddies team. This is where you really got to see what the daily life of someone in investment banking was. We were shown deal books, shown how to build models and how to do all manner of things (even things like the print room and presentation services!).
For my first day, I was with an alumni of my university and it was the person that actually did the telephone interview for me. He spent a lot of time talking me through how you go from raw data to a final pitch book and how all the complex models work. What was really useful (as I don’t come from an Economics or an Accounting and Finance background there were a lot of terms I didn’t know) was the time spent breaking concepts down so we could learn everything they were talking about and really increase our knowledge.
On the insight week, we learnt how to structure a CV, how to interview well, the million and one technical terms, how to build models and what the job really entails.
My top tips…
- Utilise LinkedIn – making connections can make all the difference
- You are being judged every second – always maintain a positive, professional approach
- Do your research – books I can recommend are ‘Monkey Business: Swinging through the Wall Street jungle’ by John Rolfe and Peter Troob; ‘Young Money’ by Kevin Roose; ‘How to be an investment banker’ by Andrew Gutmann; ‘Investment Banking: Valuation, LBOs and M&A’ by Joshua Rosenbaum and Joshua Pearl.
- Persevere – applications are incredibly competitive!”