We recently sat down with Kavisha about how she secured an internship with Macquarie, the application process and her top tips for Bright Network members looking to follow in her footsteps.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
I am a BSc Politics and Economics student at the London School of Economics (LSE), entering my final year this autumn. Prior to university, I studied Economics, Maths and English Literature at A-level. I used my time at school to explore what I loved both academically and recreationally. I tried my hand at clubs from technical theatre to dog training, as well as re-establishing a Debating Society. I was also introduced in school to Economics.
University has been an ideal time to explore new extracurricular passions. I became one of the many university students signing up for more societies in Freshers’ Fair than is physically possible to attend, and my somewhat ephemeral hand-eye coordination has not stopped me from becoming an executive committee member of LSE’s Muay Thai Team this year. University has also provided many opportunities to go to careers talks and fairs. I started going early in my degree which helped me learn more about what a career in finance entailed and what the application processes are.
2. How has Bright Network helped you in your career so far?
The area with which I have found Bright Network resources to be most helpful is commercial awareness. Whilst reading the news or listening to podcasts remains important, Bright Network’s commercial awareness updates are great for providing some additional information. They often encourage further reflection on the implications of an article for the relevant business, industry or the broader economic outlook.
I also attended the Trend Talk event earlier this year, which included topics from influencer marketing to cybersecurity, which are all contemporary subjects. I think being able to talk confidently about various subjects helps you to differentiate yourself from other candidates.
A final Bright Network resource that I’ve discovered recently is Bright Network Academy. The short course “Your guide to the financial markets” is particularly helpful for demystifying some of the financial jargon.
3. What inspired you to apply for Credit Risk/Macquarie?
Before applying to Macquarie Group, I had already established a preference for working at a medium-to-large sized company. I wanted to feel part of an organisation with an international reach. As I began to research Macquarie’s work, I noticed the geographical breadth of projects they had undertaken; the first project I read about in detail was restarting the construction of a Mexican powerplant. This ties to Macquarie’s strength in the areas of energy and infrastructure, which also piqued my interest, as I hadn’t seen other banks with a similar commitment to supporting the development of renewables and investing in the energy transition.
However, it was the people that really convinced me that I wanted to work at Macquarie. I contacted a couple of LSE alumni through LinkedIn that had been working at Macquarie for a few years, and not only did they reply (which is not guaranteed with a cold outreach) but they were both very forthcoming about their experiences and the company culture, and encouraged me to apply. Someone in the Credit Risk team even went out of his way to check if I had any problems throughout the application process. He also told me about his experiences and the team he works with which prompted me to look into credit risk, which wasn’t a division I knew much about previously.
4. What was the application process like? What was the hardest part? What did you enjoy the most?
The Insight Programme application is submitted in autumn/winter of the first year of a three-year course or the second year of a four-year course. The application structure is in three stages.
First, there was a form to complete with basic contact details and an up-to-date CV.
Next, there were psychometric tests in numerical, abstract and verbal reasoning. I suggest you practise as many as possible (I recently discovered that Bright Network has several resources on this).
Finally, there was a video interview. This was probably the part I was most nervous about, having never completed a video interview previously. Even after the summer conversion stages, I would still consider this the hardest part of my application, as you are unable to gauge human reactions to your answers. The best advice I can give for the video interview is to use the full preparation time before each question (there is an on-screen timer between the question being revealed and your answer recorded) to structure your answer and make sure you discuss only the most relevant content. I think smiling during the interview or finding a way to demonstrate some personality also helps. There were also a couple of questions that required a little more lateral thinking, but again taking the time to plan before speaking through each stage of your answer tends to help.
To convert my Insight Programme into a Summer Internship, I had to take more psychometric tests and interview with two separate teams within the Risk Management Group. I think this was the part I enjoyed the most. It allowed me to ask more questions and gave me the chance to work through some more technical scenarios with interviewers who have experience facing these exact situations – I viewed it as a great learning opportunity. The interviewers took the time to answer all my questions, even though it took longer than the interview was scheduled for.
5. Finally, any tips for anyone who’d like to apply for a similar role at Macquarie?
As I’ve mentioned, for the initial stages, getting in some practice for psychometric tests is super important, as well as preparing as much as possible for the video interview. For me, this involved brainstorming the specific times I had demonstrated certain skills like teamwork or problem-solving.
It is also always worthwhile reflecting on why you are motivated to pursue a career in finance, and at Macquarie specifically, and being able to verbalise this in your answers.
Having said that, don’t be thrown off if a couple of the questions aren’t things you could learn – try to just keep working through your answers logically. For the in-person interviews, keep all the usual tips for interview good practice in mind – have appropriate eye contact, don’t rush through answers and try as much as possible to relax and smile. If you already have a polished CV and good grades, just being friendly and emotionally intelligent help.