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Seven competitions that will help get you a job in banking and finance

If you want a job in financial services - particularly in front office investment banking, you'll need to tick all the predictable boxes (excellent academics, relevant work experience, interesting extra-curricular activities). But in an environment where tens or even hundreds of applicants are chasing the same job, even this may not be enough. Fortunately, you can supplement your application still further by entering finance-related competitions.

To the best of our knowledge, we've listed some of the top finance-related competitions and games below. If we've left anything out then let us know using the comments box at the bottom of this page. Happy gaming!

1. BNP Paribas' 'Ace Manager' competition 

What is this? It's an online business game which takes place in a fictitious town called 'Universe-City' where (BNP says) 'an extraordinary discovery unleash a series of unprecedented events'. Participating teams will have to carry out various tasks related to retail banking, asset management and corporate and investment banking which will be embedded in case studies relating to these events...

When does it take place? Ace Manager takes place over a three week period between April and May 2014.

Who's eligible? Anyone can enter, but only teams of three students who are studying a master's or bachelor's degree and are aged less than 26 years old will be eligible for a prize.

What's the prize? Winning team gets €6k and a trip to Paris. Runners up get €3k. Team coming third gets €1.5k. All finalists get a ticket to watch a tennis event.

When's the application deadline? 10th April 2014.

Where can I find out more information? Visit the AceManager site. 

2. The Credit Suisse Holt Valuation Challenge 

What is this? HOLT is Credit Suisse's proprietary method of calculating return on capital. You can learn about it here. The Holt Valuation Challenge is a three week game designed to improve your familiarity with the methodology.

When does it take place? Unclear. Watch this space.

Who's eligible? All students currently enrolled in a degree.

What's the prize? First prize seems to be CHF2.5k. Second prize=CHF1.5k. Third prize=CHF1k.

When's the application deadline? Unclear, but you can register here. 

Where can I find out more information? Visit the Holt Valuation Challenge site.  A previous entrant has made a video submission which you can watch here. 

3. JPMorgan's 'The Deal Competition' 

What is this? It's a competition in which students work in teams of 3-5 people and play at being financial advisors on a deal involving a publicly listed company and a target company within the same industry in emerging Asia. Teams will analyze the hypothetical acquisition and put together a Powerpoint presentation explaining their strategic rationale for the acquisition and the issues requiring consideration.

When does it take place? Unclear. Watch this space.

Who's eligible: Only students studying in the US and China can enter. Last year's competition was open to students graduating in 2015, so we assume that this year's competition will be open to students graduating in 2016.

What's the prize? The winning team is automatically invited to the final round interviews for a position in JPMorgan's Asia Investment Banking Summer Internship program.

When's the application deadline? Unclear. 2014 applications aren't open yet.

Where can I find more information? Visit The Deal website. 

4. KPMG's International Case Competition

What is this? It's a four day event, held in São Paulo, Brazil, where teams of students are given 'a series of complex business challenges to solve.' There's a description of these challenges here. 

When does it take place?  The finals take place in São Paulo, Brazil on 1-4 April 2014.

Who's eligible? Students from 23 countries globally, including the UK, the US, France, Germany, Australia and others. For the full list, click here. 

What's the prize? It hasn't been decided yet.

When's the application deadline? Unclear. You need to go to this page and email your 'local business representative' for more information.

Where can I find more information? Visit the International Case Competition website. 

5. The UK Investment Banking Series

What is this? It's a UK-based national competition set up by the finance societies at Imperial College, the London School of Economics and University College London. Last year it was sponsored by Morgan Stanley. Teams of five students assemble competing M&A pitchbooks relating to a fantasy acquisition. There's also a trading challenge in which student teams formulate and follow a trading strategy for a day.

When does it take place? It's already happened for this academic year - the final round for both challenges took place in early November 2013, but we expect another competition to take place at the end of 2014.

Who's eligible? UK university students are welcome to enter.

What's the prize? Winners receive £500, runners up receive £250.

When's the application deadline? It's passed already for 2013, but applications should soon be open for 2014.

Where can I find more information? Visit the UK Investment Banking Series website. 

6. The Global Investment Banking Olympiad

What is this? It's a three stage global competition for people who want to work in M&A. At stage one, candidates compete an online valuation assessment. Top candidates go through to stage two where they put together an M&A case study. Winners of stage two go through to stage three, where they are able to make a pitch for a live M&A transaction. 5,000 people enter. 20 teams go through to stage two, 10 go through to stage three.

When does it take place?  The final stage takes place in September 2014. The valuation test takes place on April 30th.

Who's eligible? Teams of four people may enter. Applicants must be students. Past entrants have included INSEAD MBA students and students from Cambridge University.

What's the prize? The winning team receives £1,000 and the team leader gets a 1 month paid internship at Greensea Capital in London.

When's the application deadline? 16th April 2014.

Where can I find more information? Visit the Olympiad website.

7. ModelOff 

What is this? It's a financial modelling championship. Round one comprises an online test lasting two hours, comprising case studies and multiple choice questions. Round two is similar. In round three competitors come to New York for the final. You can see sample questions here. 

When does it take place? The 2013 competition already happened. You can register for 2014 here. 

Who's eligible? Students from all around the world can enter. Entrants mostly seem to be young and geeky.

What's the prize? Last year, the first prize was $30k.

When's the application deadline? Not clear.

Where can I find more information? Visit the ModelOff website.


AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • JE
    28 January 2014

    There are other competitions as well. The CFA Institute conducts its annual CFA Institute Research Challenge, which aims at promoting best practices in equity research among the next generation of analysts. Link here:

    Full disclosure: I am a member of the CFA Institute, and former Chair of CFA Institute member societiy, the New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA) which originated the competition as an New York based event before it was expanded around the world.

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