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If you don't have a spring week in an investment bank, try this

The investment banking recruitment process starts early. Very early. If you want a job when you graduate, you need to start laying the groundwork in your first year – with a spring internship.

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If you’ve got a spring internship, congratulations. If you don’t have one, you need to get busy. You’re on the back foot; Trackrr, formerly the Bristol Tracker, calculated that a spring internship on your CV could double your chance of getting a first round interview.

Luckily, failing to get a spring week isn't the end of the process. In a virtual panel event hosted by Clio, the University-agnostic student finance society, a number of summer analysts (and full-time analysts) spoke about their experiences of getting summer internships without matching spring experience.

“I made sure to take part in all of my university-related finance stuff,” said Arunabh Bagchi, an Imperial College student and incoming investment banking analyst at Goldman Sachs. He completed an internship at Galaxy, a blockchain fintech, instead. “Pretty much apply for anything.”

Incoming BlackRock analyst Varshith Uppalapati agreed. “It’s pretty easy to get a summer internship,” he said. “Even if it’s not at the biggest firm.” Getting that internship – and what you do on it – is more important than where it is. “It’s not about the brand, in your first year. It’s about the role.”

There are other options too. Even if you don't have a spring week and the resulting summer internship, you can apply for off-cycle internships. The students said these can be easier to obtain if you apply in Continental Europe. 

“The work doesn’t change,” said Giulia Duca, who interned at Lazard. “The quality of work doesn’t change.” Doing an off-cycle internship at a smaller firm outside of London also lends itself well to proving yourself beyond your peers with narrow experience. Satellite offices, such as in Milan or Frankfurt, have “complete autonomy” in working on a deal, and that means that juniors and interns have a lot more responsibility.

“You have a lot more visibility. You can go to meetings,” she explained. “This is not normally something that happens in London unless you have a very good relationship with your team, or if it’s a very small team.” And the more you see, the more you learn, and the more varied experience you have.

“If you are an intern who can do an off-cycle in a regional office in Milan, Munich, or Frankfurt or Paris – you’ll learn a lot more in those three to six months than you could learn in two months doing a summer internship. That impacts you a lot.”

That doesn’t mean that doing a regional office off-cycle should be considered preferable to doing a summer internship in London – that has its own advantages, such as networking, and you probably have a wider variety of things to work on, if it’s a big (bulge bracket) firm.

The benefits of spring internships shouldn’t be understated. Banks often use them to scope out potential summer interns (Barclays, Rothschild, and PWP are known to do this). There’s usually an assignment that you have to complete during your spring week that decides if you’re getting a summer internship offer (but not always).

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AUTHORZeno Toulon

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