Schools out for summer but not for some of our second year students at the School of Business and Management (SBM). To get a taste of the world of work, their chosen career and/or their ideal company some of our students are embarking on a Summer Internship.
5 September 2018
If you are going into the second year at SBM this is a great way of getting hands on work experience, skills and knowledge that will enrich your CV and raise your employability profile. Therefore, what is involved in landing one of these prized roles? What help and support do you need along the way to secure a highly competitive place? Nine SBM students currently working for a range of businesses in London and abroad share their insider hints and tips from first-hand experience.
Choosing your Internship Role
When deciding to do an internship having a specific role in mind or a general idea of what you would like to do will give you focus for the job search. It will help you crystalize what you want to get out of the internship. Be it experience in a role you aspire to or road test a role to see if it is a ‘good fit’ before you commit to further study etc. Our students are participating in a range of internships ranging from banks, accountancy to working for an engineering company. For example,
“…I will be working at JP Morgan [an investment bank] as a ‘Summer Analyst’. I applied in October did the assessment centre which included an interview and signed the contract by Halloween. It was a quick process.” Arjun
“…I will be joining the Regulatory Services team in State Street Global Advisors and will be the only intern in that division.” Clara
“…based in the communications team…my main role will be to work front of house in the Boeing chalet at the Farnborough Airshow 2018 that is taking place in July, as well as other events such as a school outreach event at Cranfield University for International Women in Engineering Day. “ Katie
“I joined DWS (formerly Deutsche Asset Management), one of the world's leading asset managers, in their Sales department. I am working there for four months this summer as an Intern. My team is responsible for the business management of the institutional and retail sales teams to ensure that they have all the data, information and infrastructure that they need to provide the clients with the best investment solutions possible. This includes operational and business management tasks, problem-solving, research and analytics and much more. I like how project-orientated this role is and that I work together with many other divisions in a very international and diverse setting.” Max
“…an 8 week internship based in St Paul’s [in London] at their new [Investec] head office in the marketing department. I told them I was interested in marketing and communications and said if they could find me a role there. I will be one of 35 interns and we have formed a Whatsapp group from different universities, countries and there is another girl on my course who is on the same internship… It is an opportunity to work in a work environment, opportunity to work with people there and interns and see how they cope with their tasks and daily life.” Pasmi
“It’s an assurance [audit] position within PwC’s banking and capital markets business unit. I will be providing statutory audits to clients within both commercial banking (e.g. Nationwide or Santander) and Investment banking (e.g. JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs). These companies are traded on the stock exchange and I will be auditing them to safeguard investors and ensure regulatory compliance..” Nadim
“… with PP [the Partners Group] they specialise in private equity and infrastructure and real estate. What they do is pool money from a client and invest in infrastructure and in five years’ time the money made goes to the client.” Laurent
“Dwellworks is an American Business Services company offering relocation services – helping companies relocate from one country to another. They have 11 offices around the world that offers local expertise. I stuck out from the crowd because I relocated to the UK then the US so I know what it is like to relocate to different countries, which I believe can be helpful when supporting clients. My experience from relocating to the UK and the US will be an asset in supporting clients going through the same process. I think this strengthened my application, in addition to possessing the skills and experience requested.” Oskar
“I will be part of a new joiner class of 20, with 8 Summer associates and 12 full-time associate for 10 weeks at AlphaSights. Their office is located in the heart of city with a view over the Thames. Being a part of a growing business will give me ownership of the role and direct client delivery to large corporates, consultancies, private equities and investment funds, while working on a side project along with the other interns having to present to the entire company at the end.” Jonas
Finding your Internship
There are many resources at your disposal in regards to finding an internship. From traditional print and online adverts to events, word of mouth and tapping into networks. However you go about it, you need to treat the whole process as if you are looking for a professional job. This requires time, patience and a lot of motivation.
As Arjun says:
“In the first year I went to a lot of events and banks and looked at their website and applied. I also became part of professional social mobility networks for example ‘Bright Network’. I went to one of their events and spoke to JP Morgan reps there and was told about the firms culture and application processand applied on the website and uploaded my CV in October. JP Morgan open their internships in July/Aug but review in September/Oct.”
Katie found her internship on the professional networking site Linkedin. It is a great place for you to find potential employers and them to find you. As she says
“…I was interested in aerospace and aircraft so was very interested in Boeing in particular, so applied.”
“…I heard about the Windsor Scheme from Patrick [McGurk] in an email so signed up. Kevin and Rhoda from the Windsor Fellowship helped us improve our skills like interview skills, CV and assessment centres. This gave us the opportunity to apply to Partners Group and attended an insight day – central London with Partners Group.”
Previous internships can lead to new experiences which Max found:
“I already had a summer internship in 2017 at Amundi Asset Management in Vienna which gave me the opportunity to discover the “buy-side” of finance. This year I applied mainly for big asset managers roles to deepen my knowledge and get even more insights. I was able to secure a four-month long internship in Frankfurt at DWS (formerly Deutsche Asset Management) in the Global Client Group, precisely in the division: ‘Operational & Business Management for Institutional & Retail Sales.”
Recruitment and Application Process
Internships can range from a couple of weeks to a year-long residency and the recruitment process is multi- staged. So not only do you need to prepare for all the stages, you also need the staying power to stick with it for it is more of a marathon than a sprint.
“First, I had a telephone interview with short questions, after which I was invited to State Street's office in Canary Wharf to have a face-to-face interview with two members of the team I would be part of if I was successful in my interview. The second interview was mostly behavioral questions and lasted about one hour and fifteen minutes.” Clara
“I applied on the Deutsche Bank website and followed the steps there. It is quite a similar process at all the big banks and asset managers. After a few weeks, I received an invitation for interviews in Frankfurt and Deutsche Bank even paid for my flights and hotel. I had two interviews with a total of four interviewers. After that, I had another phone interview one week later.” Max
“It was a long process. I submitted my application in September and received the offer in December. The application process took four-months overall. The initial stage included psychometric tests, which range from verbal and numerical tests all the way to logical reasoning. Once successful at this stage, I was invited to an assessment center at their London office. This included a range of activities from group and individual case studies to additional psychometric tests. Once I passed this I was through to the final stage: the partner interview. My interview took place in December and it went amazing. I received a call with my offer the following day: it was truly a day I will never forget.” Nadim
“In the beginning I applied directly on their website having to write a cover letter and answer specific questions applied by AlphaSights. Then I was invited to a phone interview, behavioral face-to-face interview, case study and lastly an interview with the head of the European offices.” Jonas
Internships are a great way to road test different roles, companies and sectors. It gives you a taste of what the professional world is all about and ultimately it will confirm your career goals and/or help to shape them.
“My career aspirations and goals is for them [JP Morgan] to offer me a full time position on their Analyst programme so I just focus on my third year.” Arjun.
“I already knew for a few years that I wanted to go into finance; however, I never realised how many different career opportunities there are in this field. At the moment, I can see myself starting a career in asset management, and that is also why I will be applying soon to secure a job after graduating next year.” Max
“It will be my first time in the job world and [experience] what it feels like. Also, I want to know if investment banking is for me and figure out what is for me and what job would be suitable.” Pasmi
“I want to secure a graduate offer with PwC and complete the ACA to become a charted accountant...” Nadim
It is also OK not to be sure of what you may want to do in the future. Doing an internship is still worthwhile for it all counts in the rich tapestry of experience to help you figure it out. As Katie says:
“I’m still not sure on what I want to pursue in the future, although from what I have experienced I think I might look to stay in communications in the future.”
“For me an internship is an opportunity to see whether or not a specific industry is a good fit for you. More importantly it is also an opportunity to gain long lasting friendships and experience.” Jonas
Advice for Current Students on Securing a Summer Internship
Although our students successfully secured summer internships if they were starting the process again what would they do differently, what would they change in their behavior, thinking and mindset to secure a summer internship. Their common themes of advice are:
1.Do extra-curricular activities
To stand out from the crowd it is important to make your CV rich with experiences. Also it gives you something to talk about at interviews. Companies want to see well-rounded people with a range of skills that can be utilized and developed in and outside of the classroom.
“Any experience counts and it is how you sell it even a part-time job…Get involved, build the CV and skills they want. Companies want to see your leadership, team work and communication skills.” Arjun
Max’s point of starting early in looking for and applying for internship is shared by all of the students. As he says:
“I was quite late (November) and lost so many opportunities because of that. It will take some time to create CVs and cover letters so I would suggest starting to prepare at around June and uploading the first applications between July and September, it is worth it. Good luck!”
If you do miss the boat on the internship you want, as Arjun says: ‘don’t get disheartened. Every year there are different opportunities at different times of the year...’ However, this may apply to some sectors more than others so get to know and understand their recruitment timetables and processes.
Knowing why you want to do an internship and in what role and sector makes the research and application process easier. In short, it helps you to be focused on the task at hand.
“Through researching various different career paths, I realized what I wanted to do and where I want to work. The moment I decided I wanted to charter as an accountant, I identified the top accounting firms and began building my relationships with them by attending networking events at their offices…” Nadim
4. Do your research
Taking a scattergun approach to applying for internships may take you longer in reaching your goals. So time, resources and energy could be saved simply by doing your research and asking people in the sector a few pertinent questions.
As Clara tells of her experience:
“I applied to about thirty-five internships and spent a lot of time going to events with companies such as Morgan Stanley and KPMG – to try to get some connections but mostly insight into what makes an applicant successful...try to go to events and talk to managers and directors about what they value at the specific firm, and what they are looking for in an applicant."
5. Get help and support.
What type of help you get and at what point of the recruitment process it is important to access all resources that you have at hand.
Nadim was very grateful to the School’s Careers Service for the help and support he received. He advises:
“Book an appointment with the Careers Service. Especially Iain because he will ask you difficult [interview] questions which will be good practice. He really pushed me to do my research and understand everything about PwC. Helen (also from the Careers Service) organized the opportunity for me to experience an assessment center with Grant Thornton, which was also really helpful. She also organized a case study competition with ICAEW, which was very insightful and allowed me to prove my ambition for a career in accounting. I will forever be grateful to the careers service for launching my career and recommend them without any hesitation.”
“Through the Windsor Fellowship (WF) SBM Careers service sent an email about WF. They helped with mock interviews for this role. WF had 20 places. The charity works on prompting young people to get professional experience and acquiring skills to get work. WF coached us through Saturday workshops including mock interviews and CV surgery. WF helped me get this internship. The CV I came with was different from the one I left with...” Oskar
6. Practise the assessment tests and interviews
This theme of practise came up time-and-time again in relation to assessment centres and tests.
As Nadim says:
“…applicants get rejected at this stage and candidates fall into the trap of thinking this is going to be easy but ultimately you have to prepare. I used ‘Graduate Monkey’ to practise a variety of tests including numerical, verbal and situational judgment tests (SJT). I would highly recommend everyone to find out which test provider your chosen employer uses (e.g. SHL) and begin practising. I wouldn’t have got my internship without doing this. When I didn’t practise I was getting rejected. It’s also important to control the environment in which you’re completing these tests in. For example, make sure you’re somewhere quiet and where you will not be distracted for the duration of the test. “
Staying focused and persevering is the key to securing an internship. Katie says:
“Keep trying! Don’t give up! You’ll get more responses saying that you haven’t been successful, or no responses at all. Don’t let this get you down! Keep applying for as many internships that you possibly can! You are then likely to have more of a chance.”
“Apply early and apply to as many as you can. Go for things you wouldn’t normally go for. Don’t let any rejection get you down.”
Overall, enjoy the process, learn from it and good luck!