Graduate training schemes
Most Investment Banking graduate schemes are open for applications from September to November - boutique firms tend to have later deadlines. Some applications open as early as July the year before you would like to start. These schemes tend to be available for analyst and associate positions, and competition is high.
Gaining experience can help set you apart from other candidates, and internships are one way to get this experience. The competition for obtaining an internship is extremely high. Choose the internships you apply for carefully as around 70%+ of interns are taken on in full time graduate positions within the same investment bank.
Some investment banks encourage early applications from LSE students to give you a head start over other applicants. Expect a numeracy test and possibly a verbal reasoning test as part of the application process.
Numeracy is critical in your future career so prepare for these tests. Visit the LSE Careers website to make use of our free online psychometric tests, advice about how to prepare and a list of further practice tests.
Students within their first year (this can vary, check specific employer requirements) can apply to attend an insight day at a number of top banking employers. Insight days range from one day to one week and consist of presentations and workshops for students to find out more about the sector and more about a career with the specific employer. Insight days often lead to automatic interviews or entry onto a summer analyst or associate internship, so are a good way to impress. They are also useful for students to find out if the industry is right for them.
Research the industry
Commercial awareness is given a particularly high rating in the financial markets. Read the financial press to keep up to date with world events that impact on an investment bank.
This general markets research needs to be supported with thorough research into your target banks. There are some common features within investment banks but crucially every bank is different. It is important that you understand what differentiates your target bank from its competitors and indeed how your target area differs from similar areas in another bank.
Take full advantage of the variety of activities in our events programme. Forums, careers fairs, employer presentations, and employer skill sessions all provide an unrivalled opportunity to meet recruiters and get a feel for the careers on offer. Attend these events with specific and informed questions for recruiters that demonstrate you are a focused and well researched candidate.
Match your skills
Strong analytical and problem solving skills, attention to detail, excellent communication skills, outstanding team work and interpersonal skills, an understanding of investment banking from the big picture to the ‘granular’, the ability to work under pressure are some of the skills you will need to demonstrate.
Companies will expect you to know the type of job you would like to do, so talk to insiders and match your skills to specific divisions and functions. Are you attracted to the immediacy and pressure provide by a career in trading or are you more interested in longer term projects like mergers and acquisitions.