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Large number of Investment Banks offer a spring “insight” week programme


I have found that a large number of Investment Banks offer a spring “insight” week programme. This is an opportunity for university students to experience being in the organisation and to get a feel for the daily working environment of an investment bank. The following global enterprises offer one: Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Barclay's, JP Morgan, UBS, RBS, and Credit Suisse. I have obtained information on the above investment banks and found that each organization promises quite different experiences and possibilities to the lucky candidate.

Morgan Stanley

J.P. Morgan, his grandson Henry S. Morgan, and Harold Stanley came into existence on September 16, 1935. Since then it has become remarkably successful and renowned. Today it consists of five departments; they offer institutions, individuals, small firms, wealthy families with a “remarkably broad” list of financial services, including helping you with complex deals, trading in the capital markets, offering investment plans and strategies etc.

In relation to the spring week programme, the organization insist that each university undergraduate who applies, should have at least 320 UCAS points or equivalent standard (100 CAO points=90 UCAS points). This would mean that 355 Cao points would suffice. Also you must either be in your first year of a three year degree or be in your second year of a four year degree (undergraduate). Morgan Stanley has a vast amount of areas in which you can work; sales and trading, investment banking, global capital markets, finance, corporate treasury, tax, financial control, and operations. If you wish to apply for a spring week programme with Morgan Stanley it is very important to apply as soon as the application process begins (September), the deadline is the 31st of December, however this is not a target, as many of the firms start to choose who they will take sooner than the deadline (rolling basis). When applying your checklist should look like this:

Contact Details

Information about previous employment

Current Education Information

Technology Skills


Cover Letter

You submit your application online and include the above details on the forms given, in some cases you will need to undergo an aptitude test in order to complete the application process.

Log in and Create an account

Enter the details: contact details, previous employment, education etc.

Review the submission on the preview page which will enable you to preview all the information entered before submitting.

 Apply to more than one area: Once your details are saved it will be much quicker to apply for a second position in firm

Be sure to fill out appropriate forms quickly otherwise your pages will time out after 60 minutes of inactivity and return you to the Search page. You have to complete the process in one session. The application time will differ depending on the type of informational questions you may be asked. First time applications will take only 15–25 minutes. However they recommend that you should allow at least one hour in case the position you are applying for requires additional essay or additional questions.

If you are successful in your application an interview will be arranged, as Morgan Stanley’s nearest branch is in London, a telephone interview is usually the one Irish applicants undergo, on the website they appreciate that any interview can be a daunting and nerve wracking prospect, but suggest that they wish to suss out whether or not we have a genuine interest in their organisation and their work and whether or not we would be suited to work with them. A lot of their questions are to the point, easily answered, and with preparation seem very achievable, for example:

Tell me about yourself.

How would your friends describe you?

Give me an example of a situation where you demonstrated leadership.

Give an example of how you worked on a team.

What courses have you liked most? Least? Why?

What do you do in your spare time?

They welcome questions also and encourage you to research their firm and the financial market in general, recommended reading are: The Financial Times, The Economist, Times Top 100 Graduate Employers, eFinancialCareers, GTI Target Publications etc. Preparation is the key to success.

Sample area: Sales & Trading Description

This means you facilitate people who wish to buy and sell shares, equities, commodities, foreign exchange and derivatives-you accommodate your clients- and rely on them for your commission, so the more share transactions you do with them, the more commission you make! A typical day as a trader: you start work at 6am, on the floor all day, it’s extremely intense and there is little margin for error, attention to detail is a prerequisite, if you slip up and loose clients/money you’ll be more than likely be fired. A trader’s day will finish between 5.30 and 7 pm.

Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs was founded in 1869 by Marcus Goldman. The company became very well known by pioneering the use of commercial paper for entrepreneurs; it wasn’t until 1896 that the firm was invited to the New York Stock Exchange. It was one of the first companies that believed in recruiting as many of their workforce directly from leading business schools and MBA graduates-this is still a very big part of their recruitment. Soon after the firm launched Goldman Sachs Trading Corp, unluckily it failed as a result of the Stock Market Crash of 1929, this had an impact on the firm's reputation for several years afterwards. Today the organisation is a leader in mergers and acquisitions advice and securities underwriting, they offer mainly investment banking and asset management services to corporate and government clients, as well as institutional and individual investors worldwide. They are also one of the biggest private equity investors in the world.

In terms of a spring week programme, Goldman Sachs offer an insight into areas such as Finance, Global Investment Research, Internal Audit, Investment Banking, Investment Management, Operations, Securities, Services, and Technology. Entry requirements are not as clearly outlined as Morgan Stanley’s; however, they warn that there are specific language requirements for their European and Asian offices. European students are asked to submit grade transcripts and every applicant will need to list their relevant work experience, and say how this experience and what you’ve learned can bring to Goldman Sachs. You also have to list your qualities, how they would help the firm and say what motivated you to apply in the first place.

The spring program runs for eight days. During that time you will go to and be a part of their seminars, presentations, assignments, team projects, desk rotations with teams across the trading floor, and various social events. If you can make a good impression during your short time there you may be lucky enough to be offered a securities analyst program the following summer. Deadline for applying is 9th of January 2011, none the less they encourage an early application like the other investment banks. The interview process consists of two stages, the first is a 30 minute telephone interview, for the area where you made the application, or they may offer you another area, as they may feel you are better suited to it. The interview itself is behavioural, they will focus on your past experiences and achievements and future goals. Goldman Sachs look out for candidates who can balance teamwork and competition, show integrity and intensity, they look for leadership potential and people who will think outside of the box when it comes to problem solving and coping with challenges. As well as this they look for the candidate who will go out of their way for a client or colleague and give the firm everything they’ve got on a daily basis.

Sample area: Investment Banking Analyst Description

An investment banking analyst focuses on one product type, or business area e.g. energy, financial, or retail services and are expected to have an expert knowledge of this. Their job is to generate information for companies so that the best possible investment decision can be made. They analyse companies annual reports on potential investment sectors which would help companies generate maximum profit. Investment banking analysts are linked with asset managers, product specialists, risk managers and client managers to support their investment banking team. An analyst creates prospectuses, writes pitch letters and proposals, also they manage scheduling and form weekly newsletters. A typical analyst earns between $50000-$71000 per year excluding bonuses. (Source: June 2010 Pay Scale report)

Barclay’s Capital

Founded by John Freame and his partner Thomas Gould in Lombard Street, London in 1690. It wasn’t until 1736 when James Barclay who had married John Freame's daughter that the company traded under the name Barclays. At the time their business was to hold their client’s gold deposits ensure that they were kept secure. Loans were offered to credit-worthy merchants at the time also. In 1986 Barclays was the first British bank to have its shares listed on the Tokyo and New York stock exchanges. Recently the organisation acquired the investment bank Lehman Brothers, and has branches in the USA, Europe, Australia, Latin America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. At present they trade and deal in equities, credit, mergers and acquisitions, foreign exchange and fixed income.

Like almost all other leading investment banks, they offer a spring week, it’s designed to give the lucky applicant as much of an insight as possible into the broad range of opportunities available, through work shadowing, presentations and interactive activities. New graduates and senior members of the business will be at hand to give you advice on considering a career in investment banking and the way forward for you. Throughout the week there are also a number of sessions designed to develop your skills to enable you to successfully apply for internships and graduate programmes.

If you wish to apply for the spring insight week, you’re advised to do so as soon as possible as the recruitment is operated on a rolling basis, starting in August; the closing date is the 11th of January 2011. You’ll be asked to fill in a short application form, upload a CV, and successfully complete numerical and verbal reasoning tests. You must score highly in the online numerical test to be considered for the next stage, which is an interview-if you are a native of a non English speaking country, you’ll have to complete a verbal reasoning test along with including a transcript with your application.

Sample area: Global Capital Markets

This division is split into the following departments: Equity Capital Markets, Leveraged & Acquisition Finance or Fixed Income Capital Markets. If you work in equity capital markets, you will be an expert at using ratios for valuing companies. You’ll understand how equity deals are priced and you’ll have an active role in origination and execution of transactions. Also, this job will involve you to work closely with Corporate Finance counterparts in the Investment Banking Division.

J.P. Morgan

“J.P. Morgan & Co.” was rechristened in 1895, prior to this it traded under a number of different names, based on what partners J.P. Morgan, and his father worked with. It had other business names such as Drexel & Company of Philadelphia, Morgan, Harjes & Company of Paris, and J.S. Morgan & Company, or Morgan, Grenfell & Company), of London after 1910. In 1900, Morgan was responsible for one of the most powerful banks in the world, which carried out consolidations and reorganizations for clients. Today the company trades under the name ‘J.P. Morgan Chase’, they have 20,000 clients, including corporations, municipalities, education institutions, healthcare organizations, governments, banks and investors. They are a one of the best in their field at providing their clients with advice, lending them money, raising capital, and help manage their financial risk.

They offer two different spring weeks that are open to: exceptional academics (2:1 grade minimum), fluent English speakers, and 2013 graduates only. They title one of their weeks as ‘Experience investment banking and risk’ which involves a look at investment banking and IB risk, and the other ‘Experience the markets’ which is aimed at those who want to be a sales trader, or a researcher. Each insight consists of being a part of the firm’s presentations and case studies; also you will be work shadowing and attending recruiter workshops. You also get to meet with senior members of staff and new members who offer guidance and advice if you wish to pursue a career in their area. The “Experience the Markets” week involves four rotations where you’ll get an insight into these roles: marketing, research, sales, sales trading, and structuring trading.

Applications for the week begin on November 1st 2010 and ends on January 2nd 2011. The application process is almost identical to the other investment banks process’, you apply online and complete the steps giving your personal details, educational background, upload a CV and include a motivation statement, stating why and what made you decide to apply etc, the only difference is you can make one application only. If successful you will undergo an interview with a senior member of staff, and complete a numerical examination. J.P. Morgan warns that merely showing knowledge or interest in their business is simply not enough, if you wish to be successful with your interview, you need to do your homework! Ideally you need to have a reasonably in-depth knowledge of their business, its areas, and the financial world in general.


Union Bank of Switzerland was formed in 1897.

Today they operate in thirty countries worldwide, employing fifteen thousand people. Even though UBS are a major Global operator, they ensure a personal service to their clients, and put employees working very close to their clients to ensure an “intimate understanding” of local socio-economic factors, this guarantees that trusted advice is given and needs are met. The bank is the second biggest wealth manager in the world, just behind Bank of America; they offer an investment management advisory service, advise many large corporations on mergers and acquisitions and help them to raise capital through debt and equity. UBS’ headquarters are in Switzerland, a country with banking and privacy laws which offer a tax haven for many tax evaders; this gives the organisation a competitive advantage over many other foreign investment banks

The Bank offers a spring insight week which is open to first year students of a three year degree and second year students of a four year degree. The weeks runs from the 28th March – 1st April or 4th – 8th April 2011, during the week you will work shadow a member of staff in your chosen field ( Finance and Accounting, Investment Banking Department, IT, Operations, Research, Sales and Trading.

The week promises the candidate an invaluable insight and feel for how it really is to work at UBS London. The week also focuses on social events, they organise a fun pub quiz and an informal dinner aimed for every student to get to know each other and have fun! The typical day will for the chosen candidates will start at 8am and finish at 5pm. Half way through the week a numerical reasoning test will be completed by students, if you do well, you will be assessed and possibly fast-tracked for a summer internship in 2012. The application process for the spring week is done on a rolling basis, starting on the 1st of September 2010 and finishing on the 16th of January 2011. The application process is very straight forward, consisting of four steps:

Go to explore opportunities section and select the field you wish to work in.

Create an online account.

Submit online application

Keep an eye on your emails, for an invitation to take an ‘online assessment’.

If you are successful with your assessment test, which is set out and corrected by HR, you will be contacted and an interview will be arranged. The interview will be conducted by telephone, where the interviewer will assess your professional qualities and ‘raw’ business skills. They do this by seeing whether the candidate has the seven core competencies such as:

Problem analysis: Can you identify and analyze problems well?

Innovation: Can you tackle problems with a creative approach?

Decision Making: Can you make a balanced reasonable business decision?

Communication: How do you influence others, do you have good interpersonal skills?

Drive and Commitment: Are you enthusiastic, are you determined?

Teamwork: How well will you work in a team, will you support team members?

Planning and Organizing: Do you organize your work and manage your time effectively and stay focused on priorities?


The Royal Bank of Scotland was formed officially chartered in 1727, after twenty years of protecting compensation they received as part of the arrangements of the 1707 Acts of Union. In 1728, the bank became the first bank in the world to offer an overdraft facility. The bank grew by arranging mergers with other Scottish Banks. By 1910, the bank had 158 branches and around 900 staff. Today the Royal bank of Scotland has over 40 million customers in over 50 countries worldwide. They credit their success to the treatment and unrivalled service they provide to their clients. The bank realises that everyone’s needs are different and require different products and services at different times, also they believe in earning trust through their hard work, integrity and transparency.

The bank divides itself into the following areas:

Sales & Trading

Investment Banking


Global Capital Markets

Corporate Treasury


Financial Control


The Bank offers an ‘Easter insight programme’ which gives candidates the opportunity to have a taste of: GBM Markets, GBM Banking, GBM Operations, Corporate & Institutional Banking, Business & Commercial Banking. During your week at RBS you will work shadow members of staff in your chosen field. The application process opens on the 9th of August 2010 and the deadline is the 31st of January 2011. Eighty percent of the banks best interns last year were offered places on the graduate programmes. Applicants need to have a minimum of a 2:1 or international equivalent, fluent spoken and written English, and have no county court judgements in the last 6 years, first year of a three year degree, or second year of a four year degree. If you meet these requirements you can apply online, all you need to do is select the area in which you would like to work, register your personal details, and fill out the forms that are given on the website. Sometimes a numerical test is included in the application process. The recruiters advise applicants to “keep it brief and to the point” as there is a word limit on all applications, also they recommend you apply for a small number of positions, as you can then focus on giving the attention that’s needed to be successful with your application. You need to include a CV and cover letter with the application, all applicants are advised at this stage to ensure their grammar, spelling, and punctuation is correct.

If you are the application is worthy, you will undergo a 30 minute phone interview. It is advised that you find out as much as possible about RBS, the position you applied for, and the business area it is in beforehand. Also to have a copy of your CV to hand would be a good idea as the interviewer will be referring to your CV, skills, and previous work experience you have obtained in the past. In general just be as prepared as you possibly can be, as you will be more at ease and have a higher chance of being successful.

Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank was founded in Germany in 1870 as a specialist bank for foreign trade in Berlin. In early years, the bank became involved in projects such as the Northern Pacific Railroad in America and the Baghdad Railway. The Bank had a role in WWI when Adolf Hitler was in power; the three Jewish directors were forced to resign. Today the Bank employs more than 80,000 people in 72 countries, including, Americas, Asia Pacific and the emerging markets. The bank is involved in services such as sales & trading, mergers and acquisitions, risk management, i.e. derivatives, corporate finance, wealth management, retail banking, fund management, and transaction banking.

Deutsche bank offers a both a spring insight week, titled “Spring into banking” and a scholarship program. The spring week programme, like other investment banks, is open to first year students of a three year degree and second year students of a four year degree. The week offers an insight into the following divisions: Finance, Global Markets, Group Technology & Operations and Legal, Global Banking, Risk & Capital. When applying, you can only select one of the divisions you would like to spend the week in. The week will educate students about the financial market works and Deutsche bank’s place in the market. Throughout the week you’ll get the opportunity to be acquainted with analysts, associates through to senior management! While work shadowing, you’ll witness and be a part of live deals and see how real projects are undertaken and approached. At the end of the week you’ll be short listed to an interview for their Analyst Internship Program.

The application process is reasonably flexible and relaxed in comparison to other investment banks, in that, you can complete it in stages and save your work as you go, and return later on to finish it off. Some applications are very straight forward, just create an account, and submit your CV along with a cover letter, whereas, others can take up to 40 minutes as you have to complete numerical tests etc. It all depends on what division you’re applying for. As soon as your application is submitted, you will be called upon to do an online test (numerical assessment); if you are successful your next step is to do the interview.

Interview’s are done over the telephone and last about 30 minutes. You are expected to have a good knowledge of the financial markets and know how Deutsche bank differs from other investment banks and how they will be suited to you, rather than other investment banks and vice versa. Also it is essential that you’re able to explain why the role to which you’ve applied is suited to you more so than any other role in the industry. HR advise applicants to read the bank’s annual report and see how they’ve performed in relation to other banks, and to keep an eye on press realises. This way you are much more likely to succeed.

Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse was founded by Alfred Escher in 1856. It traded under the name Schweizerische Kreditanstalt until 1988. The bank took over “The First Boston Corporation” around the same time as it changed their name to Credit Suisse. In 2009 Credit Suisse was awarded Bank of the Year by Euromoney. Also the Bank is part of the prestigious ‘bulge bracket’ of investment banks. The Bank operates in a broad range of financial products and services, including global securities sales, brokerage and capital raising, corporate advisory, trading and execution, and investment research.

The bank offers an insight week for students studying a BA or MA or equivalent, you need to be in your first year of a three year degree or second year of a four year degree. You need to have an “excellent academic record”, have a very strong analytical ability, and be organized in general. It goes without saying that you need to have a flair for numbers and work well under pressure. The week lasts for five days, you’ll work shadow a professional member of staff in your chosen division (Invest Banking, Operations, IT, and Finance), as well as this, you’ll get a broad understanding of other areas of the company while you’re there. The bank gives CV writing skills, business information sessions and social events during the week.

The application process is easy; you create an account, where you type in personal details (name, home address, term address, email, telephone number etc), once you’ve that filled out; you upload a CV accompanied by a cover letter as a pdf or word document. A maximum of three applications can be made. Be sure to apply as early as possible, application deadline is the 17th of January 2011. If the bank considers you a potential candidate, a telephone interview is conducted, it lasts approx 30 minutes. When you’ve successfully completed the interview, Credit Suisse will contact you later on by email to arrange an online numerical test. Provided you are up to standard and do well, a structured multimodal interview will be arranged. The multimodal system is designed for students and graduates. HR consultants, together with line management, use the results to select candidates. If you’re selected, you’ll be offered a place on the spring insight week.

Credit Suisse prefer students like the following:

Enthusiastic, energetic, motivated students.

Students with a potential to bring “fresh perspectives” to the company.

A leader who attracts followers.

A problem solver.

Team worker, ability to collaborate and get on well with everyone.

A very good communicator.

Entrepreneurial flair.

A high analytical ability.


After researching the various investment banks, the spring week programmes they offer, their minimum requirements, different roles available, the application and interview process, it seems that by and large they all offer a superb experience. It would be a fantastic opportunity to get an insight into some of the most successful, prestigious companies in the world, and the possibility of an internship/job afterwards would be incredible. If anyone is considering a career in banking, it is the ideal opportunity. After all an application takes no longer than 40 minutes to do, when you consider you may be short listed to an extremely well paid career.

Appendix & Application




Peter Mc Laughlin

Coolfadda House,

Laurel Walk,


Co. Cork.

Date of Birth: 29-4-90

Phone: 023-8841621 (home)

087-7406015 (mobile)



2009-2013 University College Cork

BSc. Finance Degree

Hamilton High School Bandon

I achieved a 2:1 grade in my first year college exams, some modules included: Business Finance, Financial Reporting, and Economic Data Collection and Analysis.

Work Experience

March 2008- Sept 2010 Bandon Rugby Football Club

Bar Staff

Worked and gained experience at many club events including matches,

launches, fundraisers, birthday parties etc.

I was given complete responsibility for organization and management

of the bar and staff when the bar officer was absent.

Summer 2004-2010 Kinsale Outdoor Education Centre

Sailing & Multi Activity Instructor

Worked as an instructor leading groups, both children and adults.

Duties and responsibilities including instructing a range of sailing

courses from novice to advanced sailors and managing the

weekend sailing club during autumn. Each day involved a great deal

of organizing, from preparing day/week plans of my courses to

ensuring I had made all necessary safety provisions. I set

achievable targets for groups to meet, making sure I could relate to

group individuals and keep them motivated to help them reach their

potential and enjoy themselves.

Personal Skills and Achievements

Autumn 2006 Elected as “Foroige’s” (Youth Club) West Cork’s Public Relations Officer,

Elected as Bandon's “Foroige” Chairperson,

Financial representative for our Transition Year’s school


Autumn 2008 Elected by my peers as sixth year class representative.

Elected to lead our Grads Fundraising Committee.

Summer 2009 Awarded by my peers as Hamilton High School’s Students Student

of the year.

These achievements helped to develop the following personal skills: organizational, communication, leadership, and teamwork.

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