We caught up with Alex, a Natural Sciences student at Cambridge who took part in Macquarie's Insight Programme. Hear about his experiences at the firm and his insightful tips for people who want to apply.
Tell us a bit about yourself
Hi, I am Alex and I am a Natural Sciences student at Cambridge going into my 3rd year where I will be specialising in Physics. Outside of my degree my main hobby is playing cricket. I was a contracted academy player at Essex County Cricket Club and I have played in professional matches for the Essex 2nd XI alongside some cricketers who have played for England such as Ravi Bopara and Daniel Lawrence.
What made you apply to Macquarie’s Insight Programme?
The main appeal of Macquarie’s Insight Programme was that it covered all the divisions within Macquarie. At the time I was applying for spring programmes I was not sure exactly what division of finance I wanted to go into and so Macquarie’s programme seemed perfect for me as I would be exposed to everything. Reading about Macquarie on the internet also made me think that I may prefer the culture at Macquarie compared to other large banks.
What was a ‘normal’ day like on the programme?
Due to COVID-19 the programme was on zoom so the things that could be done were quite limited. Despite this I feel the programme was designed very well to keep everyone as engaged as possible. The first half of most days filled with various talks where people from different divisions would come and talk about their work and at the end of each one there would be a Q&A session. After lunch we would then have the chance to talk to some of the people from the divisions we learnt about in small groups so we could ask more questions and get more in depth answers. After that, there would then usually be an activity where we would be split into small groups and be given a task, usually related to one of the talks we had earlier in the day.
What was the application process like? What did you enjoy the most?
The application process involved sending a CV and a cover letter in, doing an online test, and then doing a video interview. I probably enjoyed the online test the most because I am a bit of a maths geek and like doing the fast calculation style questions!
What are you most excited about when you join the team as an Intern?
Quantitative trading is something I only learnt about after I applied but after learning about it, I pretty much decided that is what I wanted to go into and luckily Macquarie had a quantitative trading division. I am most excited to learn about the various strategies that Macquarie use and how people go about developing them. I would also love to have the chance to try and develop some trading strategies of my own.
How has Bright Network helped you in your career so far?
Bright Network has been helpful in letting me know about the opportunities available for application. There are so many places to apply to for internships and trying to find them can be quite tedious and time consuming but Bright Network made the process of finding places to apply to quick and easy.
Any tips for anyone who would like to apply for a similar role at Macquarie?
Firstly, when applying make sure you read about all the divisions in the firm and try and gauge which ones you might be interested in. The great thing about Macquarie’s programme is its breadth but I still think it is helpful to have a rough idea of what you might want to go into as it gives you something to talk about on your cover letter and in the video interview.
Secondly, try and prepare for the online tests beforehand. I don’t think it makes a massive difference to your score but it’s helpful to have a bit of practice with the style of questions that are asked so you are confrontable. If you search on the internet, you can find websites where you can practice the style of questions you get in the test.
Want to follow in Alex's footsteps? Check out Macquarie's live opportunities here.