by Brian DeChesare Comments (73)

Investment Banking Spring Weeks: The Single Best Way to Break Into the Finance Industry in the UK?

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One of the scariest emails I receive starts like this:

“I’m a middle school / elementary school student, and I really want to do investment banking….”

First off, no, you do NOT want to do investment banking if you’re 10 years old, sorry.

You haven’t even hit puberty yet, so how could you possibly be thinking about full-time jobs?

Still, you might have a point.

“Grooming” for future jobs starts very early these days, and the structured “path” starts earlier and earlier as well.

In the EMEA region, this “path” starts with the spring week, and sometimes even earlier than that with the “Finance Insight Day” in high school.

I don’t know much about spring weeks personally, so this article is based on multiple interviews with UK-based readers who have used spring weeks to win offers at banks.

Take it away…

What is a Spring Week?

If you’re not from the EMEA region, you’re probably scratching your head and wondering what a “spring week” is.

Spring week programs, also referred to as ‘spring insight’ programs, are the most sensible way of getting your foot in the investment banking door.

They take place in London in March/April (with applications opening in August/September and closing in December/January), and all the bulge bracket banks run them.

They usually last for a week (or 2 weeks at Goldman Sachs), and they’re intended to give you insight into the industry.

Besides the shorter length, there’s another big difference between investment banking spring weeks and IB internships / full-time roles: expectations are much lower for spring weeks.

If you apply to a bank as a graduate, your interviewer may expect you to have more advanced technical knowledge.

But if you apply for a spring week, the recruiters know that you are a first-year university student (or second-year on a four year course) and they don’t expect you to know as much.

There are generalist spring weeks, where you join a bank and work across several different areas (e.g., at HSBC, MS, CS, and most other bulge bracket banks), and divisional spring weeks where you join a specific group at a bank for 1-2 weeks (e.g., at Citi and GS).

And spring weeks also exist outside of banks – BP, for example, offers a sales & trading program (not the first thing you’d think of…).

Technically, you can participate in multiple spring weeks, but large banks often schedule them so they intentionally conflict with each other – so you might be able to do them at a few firms, but it would be impossible to complete 10 spring weeks.

Some banks also schedule “spring weeks” in the summer (BoAML and RBS, for example), so you can’t always go by the name.

There’s also a big difference between spring weeks on the trading floor and programs outside of trading.

As with sales & trading internships, you won’t get your own set of screens and sum of money and complete autonomy to trade – you just shadow the traders who know what they are doing (for 1 day).

You will still not do “real work” even if you’re in the M&A advisory team (for confidentiality reasons, they won’t let you work with clients or “shadow” bankers), but you will get to attend workshops and other training sessions where you practice valuation and other technical work that bankers do.

Who Are Spring Weeks For?

Theoretically, spring weeks are open to everyone.

In practice, 99% of participants are from top schools like Oxbridge, LSE, UCL, Warwick, and other Russell Group universities.

There tends to a wider range of schools in diversity recruitment programs, such as SEO and Rare Recruitment, which provide assistance with the application process.

Spring weeks are also less common at smaller firms – only Rothschild, out of the non-bulge bracket banks, conducts spring weeks in the UK consistently each year.

Other boutique banks, such as Evercore and Greenhill, tend to focus more on normal 2nd / 3rd year internships.

Why Spring Weeks?

Some banks use spring weeks to identify talent early, and will run an assessment center at the end of the week to fast-track candidates to the final stages of the summer internship application process.

Sometimes, you’ll even get an offer on the spot if you’ve done well enough (Goldman Sachs has been known to do this).

For others, spring weeks are not directly tied to internship applications but their purpose is still to recruit top talent early on.

But the reason why you do them is always the same: to win internships and full-time jobs more effectively.

From a bank’s perspective, a spring week is like a 1-2 week interview. They have more time to assess you, but it’s not as time and resource-intensive as a true 3-month internship.

You can get summer internships and even full-time offers without completing a spring week, but it is more difficult and networking won’t help you as much as it does in the US.

(NOTE: Some readers disagree with this point – see the comments below – and believe that spring weeks make more of a difference at the bank itself, and less of a difference with internships / full-time jobs at other banks.)

It’s in your interest to do as many spring weeks as you can – sometimes there are mountains of applications for only 50-60 spots, so the chances of getting everything you want are astronomically low.

How to Apply to Spring Week Programs

The recruiting process varies from bank to bank, but they all require a 1-page CV (technically, “up to 2 pages”), a cover letter, and sometimes competency questions as well.

Then, they may make you take online tests – often one numerical test, sometimes a verbal test, and sometimes also a logical test.

If you pass these tests, you’ll move to the next round. Some banks do it differently – Citi only sends the tests to people they’ve already screened, for example, and GS skips the test altogether.

Assuming you pass, the next stage is the phone interview, which again varies by bank.

CS gives you two 30-minute phone interviews; at Citi you get a 30-minute interview with HR and a 15-minute follow-up with someone in the division you’re applying to.

You may also get invited to an assessment center (DB has done this), but not all banks use ACs – and the tasks you complete are not quite as comprehensive as in normal ACs.

In-person interview requirements vary greatly – some banks will require you to interview with their team in-person, while other banks (e.g., Citi and HSBC) do not require them.

In general, though, you will have to go to some sort of in-person assessment in London, whether it’s an AC or an interview or both.

What’s Different About All This?

You might be reading this and thinking, “OK, but I already know how EMEA recruiting and assessment centers work – how is this different?”

There are 2 main differences:

  1. Many interviews for spring weeks tend to be more competency-based… at least in theory. So technical questions can be less common, though you should still be prepared for anything.
  2. Cover letters are very important. You really need a specific application for each bank – copying and pasting won’t work. You need to highlight specific deals/clients that the bank has worked with and name-drop a bit to have a good chance.

They’re also looking for “life experiences” in addition to academics – something like running a business or leading a student group is very positive.

And, of course, spelling/grammatical mistakes on anything above will kill your chances.

Give Me the Numbers

No one knows the exact probability of winning offers, but it’s typical for a bank to get at least several thousand applications for only a few dozen spots.

Odds I’ve heard before include:

  • 4,000-5,000 applications for 50-60 spots at Goldman Sachs
  • 1,500 applications for 50-60 spots at Deutsche Bank

Many of these spots will not be investment banking positions, either – so the odds aren’t great.

On the other hand, I’m also skeptical because numbers like these tend to be exaggerated, and they include many applicants who have a 0.0% chance at any bank.

Bottom-Line: Based on pure probability, your chances are never great, even if they are better than those odds quoted above – so apply far and wide.

Better Ways to Apply?

Besides earning top grades and top A-Levels, participating in great extracurricular activities, and submitting a perfect application, how else can you boost your chances?

First, apply early – banks claim that it doesn’t matter, but you can always improve your chances by applying earlier. This means applying right when applications open in August/September.

Second, apply via other channels – for example, think about diversity programs such as SEO and Rare Recruitment, where you can get fast-tracked through the process. Even if it’s a stretch to claim “diversity,” don’t hesitate to roll the dice and apply anyway.

Third, apply to high school insight programs – you can gain a big advantage because banks like HSBC and CS will often fast-track you to official spring weeks after completing these programs.

How to Secure an Offer Out of Your Spring Week

So now let’s say you’ve defied the odds and won a spring week offer – how do you convert it into an internship or full-time offer?

Let’s go through the 2 biggest pitfalls to avoid first:

  1. Just “chatting with people” – If you just talk to people without getting their names, their backgrounds, and following up with them, it’s useless. Just as in information sessions, you need to get their contact information and follow-up afterward.
  2. Just “asking questions” – In group settings, you’ll often be asked to stand up and ask questions. Many students mess this up and just stand up and ask their questions, without giving their name or introducing themselves at all (your full name, hometown, school, and background are a good start…).

In both individual and group settings, you should never ask really technical or self-serving questions.

Your goal is to come off as a sociable person who’s bright enough to pick up the technical skills along the way, not to know everything 100% going into the spring week.

Your “fast-track status” is usually based on a case study presentation at the end of the spring week, so you should follow the tips on this site and review the sample presentations to get an idea of what to aim for.

You can gain an advantage by doing some research before you start working – so if you know you’ll be in the pharmaceuticals group, for example, it’s worthwhile to research recent deals, industry trends, and more, so that you appear more enthusiastic and eager-to-learn than other spring week interns.

Finally, banks put on social events in the evenings during spring weeks, and it’s your job to take full advantage of these.

You don’t need to go out and get drunk every night, but introducing yourself to a wide variety of people at these events is important.

Many people firm-wide will not even know about these spring week programs – so you’ll impress them, get good advice, and set yourself up to potentially move into different groups in the future.

Once the Spring Week is Over…

As the spring week is finishing up, the bank may give you an offer based on your performance, or it may invite you to the final assessment center for the summer internship – where you could get an internship offer before the normal recruiting process even begins.

If you haven’t done quite so well, they might just tell you to apply via the normal channels.

And if you’ve done exceptionally well, you might win an offer right at the end (this is rare).

Regardless of your offer status, though, you MUST maintain the relationships you’ve built during the spring week.

Stay in touch, ask questions, and grab a coffee when you can – all of that will help you remain in the banking loop. View everyone that you meet not only as a colleague, but also as a resource.

Some banks delay offer decisions for a very long time, so it always pays to stay in touch with everyone you’ve met.

I Missed Spring Weeks! What Can I Do?

You can still get offers – I know people who didn’t even know about spring weeks in their first and second years and who still won internships and full-time offers down the line.

If you missed the timing for spring weeks, you’ll have to rely more on networking and submitting a great application in the first place.

Opinions differ on whether or not you can actually get referrals from students who completed spring weeks, but in general it is tough because they rarely have the time to get to know bankers in a specific group.

Anything Else About Spring Weeks?

I mentioned how I sometimes get scared by elementary / middle / high school students contacting me and asking about finance.

But there’s also a solid reason for those questions: there are many events for younger students interested in working at a bank.

For example, the Bright Network offers big events for 1st year university students, and they let you meet banks in structured networking sessions.

You can apply using your CV, and the only real requirements are having good A-Levels and a good university name.

Some banks (such as UBS) will also do on-campus dinners for younger university students at the top schools – if you apply to these, you could easily get fast-tracked to receiving a spring week offer.

And all you have to do is look on your career service website or in the student newspaper, or ask the student finance society at your school – “everyone” hears about these events, but very few people take full advantage of them.

Whither Spring Weeks?

If you’re in the EMEA region and you’re in your first or second year at university, the spring week is one of your best chances to understand the work environment at a bank and boost your internship / full-time chances there.

Technically, no, you don’t “need” to complete one to win offers – but it will still tip the odds in your favor.

Even if you’re not in a region where banks offer official spring week programs, you still have a takeaway from this article: get on banks’ radar early on and stay in touch.

Sure, banks elsewhere may not run official programs… but they are always looking for top talent to join them, and there are still programs that help you get in touch early on (think about SEO-U in the US, for example).

If you can propose an unpaid or “trial” internship, that’s a great way to get in, get on their good side, and land internships and full-time offers later on.

And you might just end up like many of the readers I interviewed and turn a vacation or gap year into a valuable experience, win a 1-2 week trial run at a bank, and then land a real offer after that.

About the Author

Brian DeChesare is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys lifting weights, running, traveling, obsessively watching TV shows, and defeating Sauron.

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  1. Hi Brian. I really appreciate your articles. I learned a lot going through your website. I have a question regarding spring week applications. I studied for two years outside UK and now I am starting an undergraduate course again at a target school in England. Should I put my previous study in my CV and CL? Should I explain the transfer in my CL? I have heard of people successfully applying for springs weeks after starting a new course at a different university, but I don’t know how they played it. I would be very grateful for your help.

    1. Yes, you should put previous study and your transfer on your CV / CL because it will come up if they ever do a background check. Just say you wanted more rigorous academics or better learning/career opportunities, etc.

      Also, note that spring weeks are somewhat over-hyped and not truly “necessary” in a lot of cases. And they have some downsides as well, such as having to explain why you didn’t receive a return offer in many cases.

      So… you don’t necessarily “need” spring weeks to get in. You just need to make sure you have some relevant-looking internships before penultimate-year recruiting at the large banks begins.

      1. Thank your for the answer. I will include my previous study in CV and CL. And I will rethink applying for spring weeks after your comments. However, it seems as valuable experience and among my friends many people got 2nd year summer internships in London at BB banks after completing spring weeks, and those who didin’t attend those insight programmes during their 1st year didn’t manage to get in. I do get your point though and I will think this through. Thank you!

    2. Leonid Konoplev

      Hi, great article! I am a University of Warwick student, I would like to ask if this process of spring week-internship-job is a UK thing or also a US thing, separately, if you go through this process of spring week, can you then apply for an internship and a job in the US or is it more advisable to do it in the UK?

      1. Spring weeks only exist in the UK, not the US. Many bankers in the US don’t even know about or understand the process, so you won’t necessarily get “credit” for completing a spring week if you apply there.

  2. Hi,
    can students studying in the US interested in working in London apply to those? If so, how are they viewed in London? I am an EU citizen.

    I read below that you think it is not worth it. Why is that? If it is not worth it, how can I land an internship/ FT role in London?

    1. I believe you can, but logistically, it may not be feasible to go through interviews and complete them. You don’t “need” spring weeks to win internships or full-time roles. You can just network and apply normally and use other internship experience to get in. And they do have some downsides, especially if you win one but then do not perform well in it.

  3. Thank you for the great advice.

    I just got a Spring week offer from Goldman Sachs and I am really happy about it! It is for the Securities Division! Any advice on how to stand out? I am trying to maximize my chances of converting my Spring Week into a Summer Internship, but I am not sure what they are looking for and how hard it is.


    1. I don’t really have much to add beyond what’s in the article (and I don’t know much about spring weeks personally since I never went through them). The truth is, spring weeks are somewhat over-hyped and have some downsides as well, which an upcoming update of this article will deal with. To convert your spring week offer, everything needs to line up perfectly – everyone on the team has to like you, you have to introduce yourself and follow-up with everyone you meet, and you have to come across as motivated without being overbearing (e.g., do not start asking technical questions).

      1. Thank you for your reply!

        I have two more questions, if you do not mind:

        How important is what I wear?

        You said that I should not start asking technical questions, should I only, therefore, ask questions about the firm and the business itself? Everybody talks about asking intelligent questions, but what does it exactly mean?

        1. Just look presentable and have proper business attire… you won’t get points for fancy clothes, and it could actually hurt you.

          You can ask questions about the firm and company, but focus on the personal side – how did the person get to where they are? What did they do before? What do they do for fun? Where did they go to school? Start serious and find a way to transition into interest/hobby-related questions.

  4. Hey,

    so basically I wanted to play to “Deutsche Bank”. I am German and that is why I can speak German fluently. Should I mention this in my application? Is it an advantage?

    1. If you want to work in London or Europe in general, yes, European languages always give you an advantage and are often viewed as “requirements,” even in London.

      1. *apply

        Thank you very much. I had also 4 “jobs” in Germany as a student: tutoring, cashier, gardener, newspaper deliverer (during holidays, etc.). I guess I should not mention them, right?

        1. Yes, leave them out and focus on the most relevant ones… ideally finance internships. See the resume/CV tutorials on this site.

  5. Lyndon Mallia

    Is it possible to apply for spring week in London if you are neither a first year nor a second year university student? Say, a fourth year student from a non-target school? Asking this question since I come from Malta where we only have one University in our country.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. No. Please see my responses to your questions in the other thread.

  6. Hi, I’ve done a spring week and will be applying for summer roles now. I was curious what your advice would be in terms how many bullet points I should put on my resume for the spring week? Should I keep it just at 2? After all, it was only a week. Thanks!!

    1. Yes, 2 at most, maybe just 1 (depending on how much other experience you have).

  7. David Lovato

    Do they have any things like this for college students in the United States?

    1. Not to my knowledge.

  8. Hi Brian,

    First of all thanks for having created such a dynamic website for aspiring investment bankers, I’ve learned a ton already from other posts !

    I’m a 20-year-old student in France and I just got into HEC Paris.

    I’m writing this post because I’m determined to get into the Investment banking field and I’m looking for some advice as regards the best ways to prepare myself from now on, for future spring/summer internships and eventually jobs in IB.

    Here are some questions that are on my mind, I would very much appreciate your inputs on them:

    1. What books should I read ? Should I aim only for the “easy reads” for the moment (Monkey Business type books) ? Are books like the one on Investment banking by Rosembaum recommended for guys like me, since I have near zero precise knowledge about finance yet ? (I was in preparatory classes for 2 yrs and didn’t have any finance-related course there).

    2. Is it too soon to look at your BIWS interview prep guide ? I understand that these are designed for students about to get internship/job interviews, whereas I will likely have my main internships during my gap year, 3 years from now (Although I will likely go on a spring internship in 2 years’ time). But can the knowledge contained in these guides still be useful to me from now on, so as to become more familiar with IB concepts as early as possible ?

    3. Do you have other suggestions as regards what would be best for me to do during the following 2-3 years in order to be fully prepared when I finally lend interviews ?

    Thanks in advance for your time Brian !

    1. M&I - Nicole

      1. I’d first go through the free articles on this site. This should give you a better idea on what IB is about etc. I have not read this book, though it maybe interesting to you:
      2. No, I don’t think it is too soon to do so. If you have the time, going through the guide can give you a better idea of what to expect in interviews etc.
      3. I’d make sure you 1) get really good grades 2) join a finance/accounting club 3) perhaps gain some finance/accounting experience at work so you can build up your resume. I’d also try to find a mentor in the industry to show you the ropes.

  9. Hi Brian,

    This article is as useful as all others. Just a really quick question: what do you usually talk about in follow up emails ?


    1. M&I - Nicole

      We suggest keeping follow-up emails short. This link maybe useful:

  10. HI,

    Thank you so much for all these super useful post! I am a year 1 international student and English is not my first language. I am now studying in one of the targeted universities in London. I understand the need to follow financial news but the issue is i find all the technical terms very hard to understand . I tried to find finance related articles in easy to read english but have no success. and I am really not sure which journal/ paper should I read- Economist? FT? Bloomberg? Do you have any recommendation for a starting point?

    Thanks in advance

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Economist, FT, Bloomberg are all useful. However, I’d pick 1-2 publications you like best and stick to them. Spend 30-minutes a day going through the news by looking at the headlines, analysing industry trends, and really processing the news (instead of just reading the news – think after reading each article. Ask yourself: What does the article mean? How does this relate to the markets and trends?)

      1. Thank you so much for your reply. In your opinion, which publication would be the easiest to read among FT, economist, and bloomberg? Thank you!

        1. M&I - Nicole

          I’d suggest that you start out with FT

  11. Thank you very much for posting these information. They are extremely helpful. I am currently applying for spring weeks and realised I cannot know less about the banking industry. I have extremely basic knowledge and I was wondering where could i get some basic introduction into various banking roles in simple language. i tried googling and it wasnt very helpful with a wealth of technical terms. I am at a supposedly high reputated uni and the fact that everyone seemed to possess perfect knowledge is really freaking me out. Waiting for your reply and thanks a lot!

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’d start here: and go through the articles.

  12. Hi,
    Thanks a lot for all these awesome posts.
    Im a first year student from a canadian university and I was wondering whether students not from the emea region can also apply to the spring week program if they are interested in pursuing a career in the UK.
    If they can, is it much harder to get in as they arent from that particular region?

    1. I believe technically you can, but your chances of winning a spring week are lower if you’re not actually in the UK. So it’s probably not worth it unless you’re studying abroad somewhere in EMEA.

  13. Hi.
    Thanks so much for all the articles published on your website, especially this one. I was just wondering how to write specific cover letters for different IBs. I downloaded the cover letter template and managed to fill it. However, I found that there isn’t much I could modify for various banks, as spring weeks are basically looking for candidates with similar quality. Am I wrong with this understanding? Do you think there is anything else other than highlighting specific deals as you mentioned?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Perhaps you can elaborate on your skills and list examples of your achievements to make you more distinct amongst other candidates.

      1. Thanks for the reply, Nicole. Does that mean I could use the same cover letter (just copying and pasting, with some minor change) for my spring week applications?

        1. M&I - Nicole

          Yes you can tweak the cover letter for your spring week applications.

  14. Hi. I got selected for a reception( half day event) at a BB. Submitted my application which required my cv, grades and had to craft 4 short answer for the application. I would say it’s pretty competitive. It’s to introduce us to one of the department at the BB. It’s stated that some of us will even be shortlisted internship. Do you think it’s worth putting this on my CV as an experience for the spring week application?

    1. In fact, not just spring week. Is it advisable to have this in my CV Generally? Thanks

      1. M&I - Nicole


    2. M&I - Nicole

      Yes I’d list this on your CV.

      1. Thanks for the advice Nicole. Just wondering, is it advisable to include my GCSE credentials and results in my CV?? Since I’m in university, should I only include my university and my A lvl?

        1. M&I - Nicole

          You can just include your A-level grades.

  15. Hi Nicole, thanks so much for this info, it’s really helfull for us all.
    I still have a question for you :
    I am currently in a 4 years bachelor program at EDHEC Business School (target school in france), and I will be graduating in 2016.
    I intend to apply to severals Spring internship this year (2016 spring session).
    Do you think my application will be rejected because of my graduation date ? (as normal graduation date for 2016 spring week is 2018)
    Thanks for your help

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Not necessarily. I may reach out to HR recruiters at the firms you’re applying to and speak to them about your situation.

      1. What do you mean ?

        1. M&I - Nicole

          I’d contact the human resource department at investment banks (you may want to reach out to the university recruiting team specifically), tell them about your situation and seek their advice.

    2. Hey Nicolas,

      I am also at EDHEC BBA… (promo 2017).
      Why don’t you try summer internships ?

      Do you think EDHED BBA is not enough to apply for summer internship ?

      Thanks ;)

  16. hey, would networking help in winning spring week offers or is the time frame too short as applications would have to be done in the first year?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes it can still potentially help, but I would say not significantly. I’d still network and connect with people though for future purposes i.e. summer recruiting etc. But most importantly focus on your grades, extra-curricular activities, and meet up with alums in the industry if you can.

  17. Hi Nicole, what do you think it takes to distinguish one for spring week application? Assuming I have 3 As at A level, attend a target school. Will doing examinations like Investment Management Certificate by CFA UK helps in the application?

    1. It might help a little, but spring week admissions are very random so you can’t assume that will make a big difference. Apply widely, follow the tips above, and diversify your applications…

      1. Hi Brian, thanks for the reply. What would you recommend doing to boost my chance for spring week? Will doing meaningful internship not necessarily finance kind help?

        1. A meaningful internship helps, yes, but the selection process is still very random. The biggest point is making sure your CV and responses to the questions they ask you are good.

  18. So many tests and interviews for just a 2 week insight?
    Begs the question as to whether the juice is worth the squeeze?

    1. Yes, well, that applies to everything job search-related these days.

  19. How would you put down a spring week on your CV?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’d list it under finance experience, and list the tasks you’ve been doing there, even it you were just shadowing senior bankers

  20. Hi Brian,

    There isn’t so much info about IB on the internet, thank you very much for this blog. My major is CS just like you but I’m in a non-target school. Network opportunities for me are very limited because I live in a 3th world country and our school don’t have much alumnus in finance. But I recently had a PWM spring internship at a BB.

    I’m looking for a part-time IB -especially M&A- internship before applying for a summer internship. I sent my CV to BB IB offices in my country but I’ve still got no answer. I guess they are only hiring by recommendations from their network. Would it be helpful for the next summer if I had a M&A internship in big 4 accounting firm or in a local/boutique IB? I hope to get some suggestions from you about what do to next. Thanks.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes it will be helpful if you have experience from local/boutique IB, and an internship at big 4 may potentially help

  21. This Spring Week thing does exist in the region I am in (APAC), but only a few banks offer them, notably European banks (like Deutsche). What are the chances for me if I apply for Spring Week directly at EMEA even though I’m not a citizen of any of those countries (by Commonwealth Law I *am* allowed to vote in UK even though I’m not a UK citizen though. Very strange and anachronistic law)?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes I think you can still apply and some larger firms can still take you in.

      1. Thank you for the reply. I will further include this consideration in my future plans :)

        1. M&I - Nicole

          You’re welcome.

          1. I have been called for a Spring Week interview by Deutsche next week. The format will be only 1 round solo interview by 2 HR personnel and 1 Corporate Finance guy (HR didn’t say which rank). Areas tested will be “competency, behavioral and technical”. Is there anything I should take note of particularly to do well in this round? What should I expect that is similar and different from say, a summer internship interview or a full-time interview?

          2. M&I - Nicole

            HR is generally more qualitative and behavioral so talk about your background, ability to work in teams and lead, as well as why you want to join that group and firm. The interview with the corporate finance professional maybe more technical and in-depth – what experience have you had previously, why do you want to do banking, and technical questions. I think they wouldn’t go into very technical questions vs. questions you get at summer internships/full-time interviews, but best to have some basic accounting and finance knowledge down. Investopedia is a great place to start

  22. Hi Brian,

    I have to say I really appreciate all the articles on your page and learned so much from them but I am not really happy with this. I went through this whole spring week craziness and know a lot of other people who have and some points are just not as stated up there. Of course I don’t know who you interviewed for this … but well…

    First off: It is true that you get to do at least one day of work shadowing when you participate in a s&t program but you will definitely NOT going to do any “real” work in the IB. Personally, I can only speak for Goldman Sachs where you DON’T even get to do work shadowing when you do the IB program (out of confidential reasons). Instead you get a lot of workshops, often interactive where you really get hands on valuation and things like that. From what I’ve heard from other people, other banks handle that similarly. (Still, you get a lot of other networking opportunities, of course)

    Another thing where I and all the people I know disagree is the sentence about referrals. You won’t be assigned to a team during your spring week as you will be during a summer internship (@happy_springweeker: you won’t be assigned to a certain m&a team at Morgan Stanley. Instead you will go through a rotational program, you will meet investment bankers, traders, … MS puts all participants in the institutional securities group or technology). As a consequence, you won’t really be able to get a referal from someone who just did a spring week at a bank. It’s hard enough to build your own little network at these events but you will definitely not be able to recommend your friend if you haven’t even interned at the bank. Remember that you haven’t even worked for one of the bankers. So maybe there is one who likes you and will get you a place in his team but it won’t go any further.

    And it is not entirely true that it is a lot more difficult to get internship offers without completing a spring week. Of course, it will help you at the specific firm where you did the insight program but remember that a spring week is NO work experience, many bankers in EMEA don’t know and don’t care about them. The hype about those programs started with threats in forums like thestudentroom uk where hundreds of students discuss what the difference between “application received” and “application under review” on the GS page means and where a of those first-year students think the know everything about IB, spring weeks and internships. I’m sorry but your article sounds exactly like those kids.

    Of course I don’t want to offend you, Brian, with this at all. I’m just reading so much crap about those spring insights on those forums and now this article or the guys you interviewed for it sound exactly like this. The other points are really good and well researched.

    1. Thanks for adding those points, I just updated the article to reflect them.

  23. Hey Brian, I have been extremely lucky in getting an interview with a top asset management firm. I also managed to pass the first introductory phone call which asked just to “fit” questions.
    I have extremely crap A levels and I go to a non target.
    I have a big phone interview with the firm, How much emphasis will be placed on my grades?
    Surely if they did not want me because of my grades then I would have been rejected already?

    1. I think they will definitely ask about them so you should be prepared to address why your A-Levels were low. That won’t be the focus of the interview, but grades never go away entirely even in future rounds.

  24. happy_springweeker

    Hi Brian. Your article is a godsend.
    I’m a third world citizen in a non-target (like 0 alumni in m&a) where I study math that managed to get a spring week @ MS(m&a) and Citi (within their CMO division or ECM)

    I was just wondering about how I was going to transform this effort in a real internship so I really appreciate the advice.

    Just a few more details: I applied to all 14 available spring weeks besides the Asset management ones (Schroeder and blackrock)

    it’s true that at some banks the process is really similar to the summer internship one. I had 3 interviews at MS , there was an AC at Barclay etc. But I’m still positive that it’s easier to get a spring week than a summer internship or at least, the screening is. Else I don’t see how I got 4 interviews out of 14 given my school while I did try to best apply all the stuff I read here from the resume to the cover letters and then trying to get referrals over on linkedin(which helped a lot @Citi)

    I have a few numbers:
    at MS, it went like this +3000 cv_s > first interview > 150 people x 2 interviews with more senior folks of which they finally choose 60. (but this includes IT and operations)
    I also know that in my division @Citi, we are 8 people to have been admitted.

    I also know that DB only has in fact 15 ‘cool’ spots between s&t and ibd and not 60 which makes it the hardest bank to get onto at this level.

    and then a few question:
    I’ve never studied any finance or accounting. Should I do that ? What should I study in order to be ready for whatever they may throw at me at a SW? You talked about study cases and valuation:research etc but I don’t know anything about that stuff.
    And lastly, I asked for ECM @Citi because I thought that :
    1. It’s rumored to be less prestigious than m&a so easier to get into
    2. The guy I talked to on linkedin was in CMO and I thought that he could help more this way.
    3. I was under the impression that business exposure to strategy was as good as in m&a and that the ECM guys just did the IPOs instead of the mergers.
    After much more reading I realized that what I want is to get into an industry coverage group to then go in said industry (export/TMT/real estate)
    is this possible if I start in ECM? or is it considerably harder to do than for an m&a guy.

    Thanks !

    1. Thanks for sharing those numbers, very helpful.

      On your questions:

      1. Yes, I would study basic accounting and finance a bit. You don’t need to be an expert, but at least know the 3 financial statements, net present value, and concepts like that. You can read about them online, look in our interview guide, or even look at some of our free tutorials online.

      2. You can move into an industry group from ECM, but it may be a bit better to start in M&A. However this is just a spring week, so you should be able to move around fairly easily afterward, assuming you do well and end up with an internship / FT offer there.

    2. Hey, I read your post and can see that you are a determined person, willing to work hard which is very inspirational to me. This year I will start my undergraduate studies at UCL and also apply to spring weeks. If you think you have any useful piece of advice for me or just want to chat about your experiences as an applicant, I would love to get in contact with you.

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