How to break into Canary Wharf!
Banks are offering various career opportunities ranging from Spring Insight Programs over Summer / Off-Cycle Internships to Graduate Programs.
So many of us have already racked their brains over how to properly prepare in order to land an offer at one of the most prestigious banks such as J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs or Crédit Suisse.
So here is our guide on How to break into Canary Wharf:
Before you are reading the entire guide, here is to Golden Rule to any application you are going to make in Investment Banking: Timing is Key – You are scoring 25 out of 20 questions on the Numerical Test? You have climbed the Mount Everest? All this doesn’t matter if you don’t apply early enough!! This is especially important for the Summer Internship. Banks recruit on a rolling basis and they receive each year as many as up to 4,000 applications in London with a capacity of max. 100 interns. You are surely getting the math..
But let’s take a look at the first step of the application process.
Depending on the provider of these tests, the difficulty of questions and the timing can vary. However, here are the good news: many banks are actually using the same provider and thus you will even encounter the same questions from time to time. Therefore, try to take the tests of all your applications over a short period of time.
jobtestprep – great explanations including examples to different question formats and topics, however pretty expensive if you plan on buying their numerical practice tests.
practiceaptitudetests – 2 free numerical tests, if you want to sign up to access the entire range of their 15 tests you will have to pay ca. € 10 (which is ok compared to other providers)
Logical Reasoning Tests
indiabix – 10 Tests for free
If you are one of the chosen once and you are getting invited for a (Telephone) Interview, here are a few pages that might help you to prepare for the Technical and Fit/ Motivational :
mergers&inquisitions – great articles based on the (success) stories and interviews of real people that like to share their experience. The articles are categorised according to different products and industries. It additionally allows you to get an insight into less known fields such as ECM, DCM or Equity Research. Finally, you will find great interview preparation documents hidden in the articles such as this one.
Most of us have the resolution to stay tuned on market news but sometimes it feels difficult to implement this daily routine into our arbitrarily structured student lifestyle. One easy solution (if you haven’t done so already) is to simply like the Facebook pages of financial news providers. ESSEC Transaction recommends you the following pages:
- Bloomberg & Bloomberg Markets – highly market-oriented and offers free articles to read
- Financial Times – short videos on today’s top stories (however links to articles are mostly for subscribers)
- TheEconomist – politically and economic oriented articles *ESSEC students benefit from a free subscription*
- Wall Street Journal – relevant for S&T or Asset Management
Corporate Investment Banking
macabacus – Great Page to get a first-hand-on experience and to understand the real-life application of various valuation models! All topics are well structured and you can even find guides on how to build different models while accessing their Excel templates. Especially useful for the topics of IBD and Private Equity – basic and advanced
circlesquare – collection on essential questions you will encounter in an IBD interview, both technical and motivational
efinancialcareers – general articles on how to approach your interview and what to expect, also with focus on different product groups such as ECM and DCM and how these interviews differ from M&A
ibankingfaq – anything on brain teasers, common technical questions and career perspectives, as well as a few points concerning market interviews
Some advice from our Members in Asset Management that landed an offer at a Top Tier Bank in Asset Management:
- check out the profiles of the asset manager on morningstar
- understand the funds’ strategy and its investment principles
- take a look at the bank’s/ manager’s website to find a listing of their funds
- stay tuned on the latest market news and any news concerning the bank/manager that you are applying to (see Financial Times, The Economist, Le Figaro, etc.)
Sales & Trading
Sales & Trading Interviews are comparable to Asset Management. But besides being up-to-date on the latest financial news you should also know the following:
- what are the daily tasks of a Sales person and a Trader? What is Research (Macro vs. Equity)?
- what are the different desks / products?
- what are the main drivers and recent trends of each product?
- be able to pitch different trading strategies
- be able to pitch a stock (and please do not pick one of those standard companies such as Apple or Google)
- what are major indices / commodities / FX rates / bond yields / LIBOR etc.
- be able to give your interviewer an outlook for different assets and economies (there is no right or wrong but be able to defend your position)
- at the same time, demonstrate your interest in the industry by talking about the historical development/ performance of assets and economies
- expect to get several brain teasers
- get to know the trader lingo!
To get answers and more information on the aforementioned questions check out this link.
If you are looking for some more technical interview questions, you should check out the following link (French article).
If you are looking for experience reports concerning recruiting or on-the-job, you should visit M&I.
Some last on-the-job advice:
Networking, networking, networking. Once you have made it to your internship, you should make sure that people (juniors and seniors) get to know you. Going home straight after work every evening to ensure to be fit the next day is a bad idea. At the end of the day, the company is looking for people who fit into the team. If nobody even remembers your name, then nobody will speek up for you when the different teams decide who they would like to keep!
Lastly, make yourself useful and be proactive! Since you are required by law to have a license to perform meaningful tasks, there is not much left for you . So arrive earlier than your managers to already summarize the most important news. Show them that you are able to safe them some time and that you are reliable.