First steps in the Banking & Finance industry
It’s not easy to do first steps in any field, but especially in Banking and Finance, the challenge of finding a first entry point to gain some insights and experience might feel a little daunting. That is why the Finance Club has prepared a short guide for one option we feel is very well suited to get a look into the Finance world: the so-called „Insight weeks.“
What are „Insight weeks“?
Insight weeks at their core are compressed internships: throughout one, two or sometimes even three weeks students in their first or second year of studies get to experience corporate life and get a glance of what a full internship or working there might be like.
You usually rotate and see several departments, meet employees at different levels, can talk to recruiters, participate in case studies and much more depending on the exact program offered. It’s a great opportunity to see for yourself whether you can imagine working at the company you visit, especially considering that many of the peers you meet there will most likely also be your fellow co-interns or co-workers at some point. Groups are usually not too big, so use the opportunity to ask any questions you have about the company, industry and career path that interests you. A legitimate question at this point is:
Why should I do these if I can just do an internship right away?
The answer consists of several key parts: It is significantly easier to get a spot for an insight week than an internship (at the Brown Bag Lunch in 2016 JP Morgan employees told us they had to go through 12 interview rounds to get their internship place in London!) and you’ve got better chances of actually getting an internship in the future since you can make reference to the insight week you attended.
Moreover, it is shorter which makes it simpler to fit into your university schedule (moreover might be a plus if you end up not liking it) and also usually the whole atmosphere is a bit more relaxed: the events are mainly framed as means of introducing the company to you, so there is no pressure to perform on your side and you can focus on learning and enjoying the experience.
Who offers insight weeks?
These days most big corporations have an insight week program or something similar, even outside of Banking and Finance. Nonetheless considering the origin of the idea and our own focus, here are some banks offering these events:
- Goldman Sachs ⇒ Link
- Credit Suisse ⇒ Link
- JP Morgan ⇒ Link
- BNP Paribas ⇒ Link
- Morgan Stanley ⇒ Link
- HSBC ⇒ Link
- And of course many others that we could not all list here!
Application and tips
Depending on the company the application process varies and obviously you can find all relevant and more detailed information on the company’s website. Here we just quickly sum up some basics that might be helpful and someone shared with us along the way.
- Clear and concise, not more than one page
- Photo is a strongly debated topic but doesn’t really have much influence (at least at this stage for sure)
- No grammar mistakes, it’s a no-brainer really
- Emphasize results not just tasks
- Highlight your interest in the company you are applying to AND the industry it is in
- Since for now your work experience might be not so extensive, mention and focus on your skills and qualities, especially relevant to the career path that interests you (e.g. quantitative methods when going for a hedge fund)
- Half a page to one page maximum
- And again: no grammar mistakes
We hope this brief overview introduced some of you to the concept of Insight weeks or maybe even helped you to get started on your applications!
Good luck everyone and have fun,
Your Finance Club