After our Investment Banking Month, it was very interesting to have discussions with our community experts about the investment banking career opportunities, how to write an investment banking resume and how to ace the investment banking interview. In one of the events, what sparked our interest was the concept of Spring weeks in London. That’s why we reached out to Rebecca, one of our event speakers and investment banking summer analyst at Macquarie Group, to ask about this topic! Let’s go through this blog together to discover more what spring weeks are all about!
Can you explain what the spring weeks are?
Rebecca: A spring week is basically an ‘internship’ reserved to first year or second year (if you’re in a 4 year degree) undergraduate students that lasts anywhere from 4 days to 2 weeks. During this internship, the range of tasks that you do heavily depends on the spring week you’re in. For example in some you’ll be required to do some shadow works and projects with your fellow interns whilst in others you’ll just listen to panels and do networking sessions.
The primary goal of these spring weeks (that are during the month of April) is to get to know both the firm and your division of interest (whether it’s IB, markets, RM or technology) better and understand whether it is something that fits you and that you can do in the long term. During the spring weeks, in general, your attitude should be really positive and interested. They don’t expect you to know much given that you’re just a first year but you should aim to have a good market awareness. A day during a spring week could look like this, but again, it is heavily variable and there’s no day that is exactly like another.
8am – get in the office and have breakfast with your fellow interns
9am – start (morning panel)
9.45am – workshop
11.15am – Q&A
12pm – networking lunch
13pm – Q&A
14pm – coffee chat
15pm – panel
16.30pm – workshop
18pm – home
Spring weeks are really useful because they allow you to be fast-tracked for a summer internship.
Are there any specific requirements in order to join the spring week?
Rebecca: I’d say there are no specific requirements, as you can apply from basically every country because banks offer sponsorships to the UK, and usually they pay for your transfers/accommodation. Obviously, you must be in your first or second year (if you’re in a 4 year degree), but for other requirements you should check directly on the bank’s website when you apply (for example some programs are reserved to black students).
As for the CV, it is obviously not required to have previous work experience, but they do want to see that you’ve done other things other than academics (sports, music, volunteering…) and that you’re interested in finance.
What about the application process for Spring Weeks?
Rebecca: There are 4 stages in the application process for Spring Weeks:
- CV screening
- Online tests (math + situational judgement)
- Final Interview
Keep in mind that the application process may feature more or less stages depending on the bank you’re applying to.
The Online Tests are usually sent out within a few days of your CV application submission and you usually have 2-3 days to complete them. It is recommended, although not mandatory, to practice before, so you can go online and check for websites that do simulations. I believe Online tests are one of the stages where most candidates fail, so you should always aim to do them at your best and in a quiet space.
The HireVue is a virtual interview where questions pop up on your screen and you have to answer them whilst being recorded. These questions usually include basic motivations and/or competency. When answering you should look at the camera and try to be expressive, as the software assess your movements, the tone of your voice…
During the final interview they don’t expect you to know many technical but they really want to assess your motivation, competency and market awareness so be prepared and practice the answers to those questions (remember though that in the interview seemingly rehearsed answers are valued negatively).
What do you need to highlight in your profile in order to get the summer internship offer?
Rebecca: During the final day of the spring week the HR team will tell the interns about their fast-tracking opportunities. Usually if you’re fast-tracked for the summer internship instead of your regular application process you’ll just have to do the final Assessment Center.
In order to get fast tracked, you should perform well during the week. The easiest way to do this is by asking lots of questions and showing interest, then you should aim to network a lot and finally be aware of the news and market conditions. To build that knowledge, be consistent in reading the FT and learn more about economics/finance if your major isn’t related to that. If during your spring week, you’re required to do a project, try to complete it at best of your ability and if something is not clear, do not be worried to ask for help from others.
If you’re fast-tracked (they usually tell you within 2 weeks after the spring week ends) you’ll have to do the AC.
Can you tell us more about the final Assessment Center?
Rebecca: The assessment center is a day (in person or virtual) where you have 4-5 interviews with people working at the firm in your division of interest. An AC day could look like this
- Case study preparation
- Motivational interview with juniors
- Competency interview
- Technical interview
- Motivational interview with seniors
- Case study interview
A tip for the case study is: During most of the time in your schedule, you’ll have the case study preparation and then after the interviews before you do the actual case study interview, take a notebook and note down everything that could come useful for the interview later, given that you’re not allowed to have the PDF with you then.
The technical interview during the fast-track AC is usually not that detailed because you are in your first year, but still, they do expect you to know basic concept such as the 3 statements, DCF, valuation. Most important thing is: if you don’t know something, come clean about it and don’t try to give arranged responses as interviewers won’t like that.
“If you don’t know something, come clean about it.”
Do you have any other advice you want to give to girls who are interested in Spring Weeks?
Rebecca: During the spring weeks, dress sharply and present yourself well at the office, tend to arrive a bit earlier in the morning and try to chat with as many people as you can (even if they don’t work in your division of interest), it is important to form connections because they can help you even if you don’t join the firm after or get an offer somewhere else. Try to form connections and be friendly also with your fellow interns. Whilst it is true that you’re in competition, they could be your colleagues next summer so you don’t want to have a negative attitude. Furthermore, your attitude throughout the week should show curiosity and you should aim to ask a lot of questions (remember there are no stupid questions and people are there to get to know and help you). Finally, during networking sessions ask meaningful and interesting questions and ask to connect on LinkedIn or e-mail should you need anything else in the future.
One last thing…you’re there to understand if that division is something you could see yourself doing in the future, so don’t forget that and use the week as a learning opportunity, not just with the goal of converting to a summer internship