Canary Wharf at night. Source: Wikipedia
I had the privilege of attending a spring week at a top 3 Investment Bank in April this year. Those who have gone through the process would understand how mentally draining it is to secure a place in such a competitive program. You learn how to deal with rejection after rejection, you question yourself, but at the end of it all you grow as a person.
The season is back. It’s time to start applying for spring weeks and internships. I haven’t done an internship yet, so I’ve come up with a list of tips to help you when applying for your spring week.
- Apply early
Investment banks recruit on a rolling basis so it’s best to apply as early as possible. Don’t wait for the deadline to approach because it’s very likely that all the places would be filled by then
- Take each rejection with a pinch of salt
I can’t count how many rejections I got. It’s very easy to say screw this and give up. I attended a talk where a VP at a top 5 investment bank said how he applied to 23 spring weeks and got 22 rejections
- Consider paid insight weekends
There reached a point when I had received numerous rejection letters so I lost all hope. I still wanted the experience because I was determined to do an internship in the summer of 2020, so I did some research and found out about InvestIN’s Young Investment Banker Weekend. I enrolled in the two-day program and it was definitely worth the money. It also added to my CV which (I don’t know, maybe) potentially helped me land my spring week
- Don’t let anyone discourage you
This is simple. Do. Not. Let. Anyone. Discourage. You.
- Set time aside to make your applications
Each application takes time, especially if it requires a cover letter. Tailor each cover letter to the specific institution. It’s very easy (and tempting) to use the same cover letter for all institutions but recruiters can tell if you’ve done so
- Your grades are just 10% of the application
I plucked that figure from thin air but in all honesty, your application is way more than your grades. You still need good grades to a certain extent, but don’t let this discourage you. Focus your energy on building your CV and networking
- Attend employer events at your university if you can
Your network is your greatest asset. Network, network, network
- YOUR CV IS VERY IMPORTANT
Looking back at all the rejections I’ve gotten and viewing the CVs I attached with them, I understand why I was rejected. I get it, I get it, I understand. My CV was a mess. It had all the don’ts of an Investment Banking CV do’s and don’ts. After going through enough guides I was able to produce a pretty decent CV, which I constantly update and improve
- Apply to diversity programs like SEO London, Rare Recruitment, etc.
I didn’t do this until after my spring week but I wish I did. They provide a lot of support in terms of your CV, interview skills, and they inform you about numerous opportunities in the field you’re interested in
- Believe in yourself
Just because you don’t go to Oxbridge, or you’re not in a Russell Group University, or you don’t have 5A*s at A-Level, or you didn’t build a robot before you could walk, doesn’t mean you’re going to get rejected. You have something to offer. Putting yourself down before you apply is only setting yourself up for failure
With all that said, my main tip would be to stay positive. Even during your spring week. Sometimes I’d look around and be like why am I here? I was in a room full of brilliant minds: people who could speak five languages, people who had helped in presidential campaigns, people who had done two consecutive spring weeks and were on their third, people who were the ones rejecting the banks because their spring weeks ran at the same time. But I was unique and brilliant in my own way. And you are too. So don’t doubt yourself. If you get rejected, say thank you for the opportunity and figure out how to improve. If you get rejected again, say thank you again and figure out what else to improve. Take each rejection as a lesson and, I know it’s hard, but stay positive. It may seem like nothing is going your way, and that you’re not good enough but trust me, you are better than good enough.
If anyone needs any more advice or help, I’d be happy to help. Drop a comment here and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
Good luck to everyone who’s applying to spring weeks and internships this year. We gots this!