We caught up with Sophie, currently studying Law at LSE. Sophie attended Bright Network: Investment Banking Top 100 in 2014 so we asked her about her experiences at the event and how it helped when investigating a career in investment banking.
What did you think of the 2014 event?
I enjoyed it a lot. It was really useful, especially coming from a law background as I was. Most people I meet who are interested in this career have studied maths or economics, so it was very helpful to meet bankers who were from a background like mine. It was helped to speak to people from different areas of the companies and find out what skills were required for the various jobs.
What was the most valuable thing about the event – can you tell me how the event helped you?
I really felt it made me more qualified to submit applications, as well as demystifying the whole process, which can be quite intimidating. Recruiters gave advice on what to put on your application and what skills you needed to demonstrate to be successful. I also realised how much faster I was able to pick up all this information hearing it in person rather than just reading it on their website, where it is also available.
I got a sense of how much the event helped too when loads of my friends who hadn’t gone felt like they were behind and sought me out to help them in their applications.
Can you tell us about your application process to the Spring Weeks?
I applied for quite a lot; as well at JP Morgan and Citi I also got offers from other banks but was unable to attend them because of clashes.
As soon as I applied, I was remembering the advice and talks at the event. Since I was making so many applications I started early and made sure to set personal deadlines for submitting them. It helped to remember the firms I had most enjoyed talking to when I was narrowing down my choices, so I applied to those ones first as a priority.
I also looked for as many other events as possible to attend, like open days or networking events. I really wanted to get as much advice and as many contacts as possible. The important thing was then to mention these (relevant) events in my applications; it’s good to look keen.
Can you tell us about your Spring Week experience?
It involved a lot of shadowing; at JP Morgan I was allowed to choose which department I was interested in so I chose sales. They’re a very market focused firm and I got a chance to do a bit of extra shadowing in that busy sector. I learnt about the role and the products traded, as well as seeing the specific qualities required for different positions.
I got to make a lot of contacts and was given a great overview of the all the programmes and roles available for summer internships and graduate positions too, which will be really useful once applications come round.
What three pieces of advice would you offer to Bright Network members applying for Spring Weeks?
Tip 1: Start early
Applications are processed on a rolling basis so they fill up very fast.
Tip 2: Don’t overcomplicate your application
Just show the skills they are looking for and make sure you explain what you learned with every event or experience.
Tip 3: Show your enthusiasm
When it comes to phone interviews, be excited and confident, even if you aren’t completely sure what they’re talking about. That said, make sure you give honest opinions too, rather than just trying to say what you think they want to hear.