Meet 4 inspiring women in Investment Banking. They shared their most important insights about dealing with rejections, breaking into the industry with a technical study, and for the London banking enthusiasts – how to get accepted into Spring Weeks as a boost for your future career.
Dealing with rejections when applying in IB
Investment Banking is a tough industry to get into, and it’s not uncommon that people get countless rejections before they finally land a job. Kimberly van Reisen, Investment Banking Analyst at UBS, went through the process, and she shared the lessons she learned throughout her journey of landing a job in Investment Banking.
“Every time I got rejected, I had to get myself back together and remember I had set a goal to start with, which I would not give up on easily. But I did start questioning myself, and I doubted whether I had been too ambitious in setting this goal. Finally, I came across a case study day organized by the IB division of UBS. I signed up, and before I knew it, I made it to the final round of interviews. A big part of me remained skeptical, asking myself why I even bothered to give it a shot. But I did not get discouraged and my perseverance prevailed. I believe it is exactly this trait which landed me my internship at UBS in London, and later on my Analyst position.”
So, hold onto your goals – easier said than done. But Kimberly persevered through constant rejections and proved that every one of us can achieve ambitious goals if we never doubt ourselves and continue on the path we set out even if there are bumps in the road.
What if you have a different background?
Let’s say you persevered, stayed resilient, and kept applying until an opportunity arose for you. But what if you don’t have the typical finance background?
You might think that having a finance-focused degree is a prerequisite to even be considered for an Investment Banking job or internship. But there are plenty of role models out there who prove otherwise!
Noa Zijlmans graduated from a Bachelor in Technology, Policy and Management, and is now amidst her Civil Engineering and Geosciences Master’s degree. And yes, she broke into finance! She landed her first internship in Investment Banking by attending an event with ten prominent investment banks, where she solved a case and got the chance to meet the Barclays team.
At first glance, going into finance with a technical background might not make sense. But there is actually quite a strong skill set from a more technical background that can be valuable in finance.
“My technical background was definitely valuable – the math in Investment Banking seemed much easier. And the analytical skills gained during my studies were very useful. Besides that, technical knowledge was helpful for researching some specific (technical) companies and understanding their business model.”
Like always, there are also challenges: “In the beginning I was a bit thrown off by some of the technical terms and methods. However, everyone was very willing to help me out with this. Also, self study materials were very useful. And you learn a lot on the way!”
Especially if you have a different background, you need to do your research and talk to people who already did a similar internship. Knowing what to expect and being prepared is key!
The London finance world: Making it into Spring Weeks
If you are interested in not only breaking into Investment Banking, but doing so in London, discover Rebecca’s story about Spring Weeks!
Rebecca, future Investment Banking Summer Analyst at Macquarie Group, shared her best tips to get into Spring Weeks in London, a highly competitive ‘internship’ for first year or second year undergraduate students. The main aim of the Spring Weeks is to get to know both the firm and your division of interest, with the added advantage that you can then be fast-tracked for a summer internship!
There are a few specific requirements, but according to Rebecca, it’s important to show a proactive attitude and a strong interest in finance. Of course, extracurricular activities are always advantageous.
There are 4 main stages of the interview that will determine if you get selected. “Online tests are one of the stages where most candidates fail, so you should always aim to do them in a quiet space, where you can be your most focused self.
The next stage is a virtual interview with questions you have to answer while being recorded. These questions usually include basic motivations and competency. When answering, you should look at the camera and try to be expressive – the software assesses your movements, the tone of your voice, etc. During the final interview they don’t expect you to know many technical skills but they really want to assess your motivation, competency and market awareness.”.