Investment Banking Internships

College students majoring in accounting, business administration, finance or other areas of business get plenty of classroom theory, discussing what works and what doesn’t with faculty and fellow students. However, no matter how much time is spent in the classroom, the best way to ensure success after graduation is by having previous real-world experience. While in school, the best way to get that experience is through internships. Students planning on careers in investment banking have many opportunities to obtain internships with leading companies, allowing them to put classroom theory to the test.

The best way to get an internship is to start planning for it as early as possible. Students should begin talking with their advisor at least one semester prior to when the internship would begin, and also work with the school’s career placement office to start gathering information about respective companies and what they have to offer. Most internships allow students to earn credit for their completion, often being the equivalent of one or two college classes.

Most internships are done in the summer, and last 10-12 weeks. Many internships are done in the United States, but some companies offer students the opportunity to do their internships abroad. Some companies offer internships in Spain, Italy, France, England and many other nations. Students with an interest in international business and finance often jump at these opportunities for the experience they provide. Host families, usually executives in the company, provide students with room and board during the internship, with all meals provided and a small stipend paid to the student.

Applying for an internship with a company is much the same as applying for a job. Students should prepare a cover letter and resume, gather transcripts, letters of recommendation from professors and others, applications and anything else that may prove helpful. If possible, it’s good to attend career fairs and networking seminars to meet company representatives and get to know them and their company. These meetings are also great chances to find out details about the company’s recruiting and interviewing practices.

Applying for internships with investment banks can vary depending upon each company. Many companies now require applicants to apply online initially, answering questions about their past experience, school activities and interests and hobbies. Some companies require students to pass online tests just so they can get an interview. Students who get a first interview usually speak with human resources personnel and mid-level managers, answering questions about their academic background, technical expertise and overall industry knowledge. Applicants who pass round one will go on to speak with senior-level management, where much of the interview is spent talking about why they would want to work for that firm. In these interviews, having a thorough knowledge of the company can make all the difference.

Investment banking internships are important not only because they provide real-world experience, but they also get a person’s foot in the door and provide chances to be seen as a key member of the team. Applicants who get selected for internships often receive 7-10 days of training in accounting, valuation and company software. After this, interns are assigned to a team, begin working on projects and are considered rookie investment analysts.

Interns perform a variety of tasks while working on projects. Being part of a team, interns are encouraged to use initiative and think outside the box when necessary. Some common tasks performed by interns include industry research, preparing written materials and PowerPoint presentations, financial analysis and assisting senior bankers in executing merger and acquisition mandates.

The benefits of an investment banking internship are numerous. Besides learning about a company from the ground up, interns also get experience in teamwork, communications and industry-specific financial skills. Doing a good job on a project can help interns stand out to executives, increasing their chances of receiving a full-time job offer after graduation. After completing an internship, some students may find they wish to try another company, which is also considered part of the learning process. Understanding one’s strengths and weaknesses is part of becoming an adult while in college, and there’s no better way to do this than with an internship.

Most students who succeed in internships do so by entering the opportunity with the right mix of enthusiasm, knowledge and confidence. They are never afraid to ask questions, no matter how crazy they may sound, and don’t view the process as a competition between themselves and other interns. Working well as a team member is extremely important in investment banking, and interns who are able to do this often are the ones accepting excellent offers of employment upon being handed their degree.