19 and 20-something first-year university students in London recently got their first taste of finance in so-called "spring weeks". If you want to work in banking now, spring weeks are the first step in the recruitment process. - If a spring week goes well, you'll be offered a summer internship ahead of everyone else. If the summer internship goes well, you'll be offered a graduate place ahead of anyone else. This is how contemporary banking careers begin.
However, students who completed recent spring week programmes at different banks in the City say there are big differences between them. In particular, some transition more smoothly to summer internships than others.
J.P. Morgan is making its spring week students wait this year
While banks like Citi and Credit Suisse put their spring weekers through assessment centres shortly after their spring weeks are over, J.P. Morgan now makes them wait. We're told that students who completed spring weeks at J.P. Morgan this year won't to complete an assessment centre for a summer internship place until September 2017. - Four whole months after their spring internships ended.
J.P. Morgan didn't immediately respond to a request to comment on its new process for converting spring interns. The bank has seemingly sold it to the students as a good thing. - Those we spoke to said J.P.M. told them the delay is to give them time to establish whether banking is really the career they want, and whether J.P. Morgan is really the bank they want to work for. Less promisingly, it will also give J.P. Morgan time to check out the other students who apply directly for its summer internships when applications open in late summer....
Some of the best spring weeks involve work shadowing
Not all spring weeks are the same. If your spring week is in sales and trading, students say you're likely to spend it shadowing actual salespeople and traders. If your spring week's in an investment banking division (IBD) (ie. M&A or capital markets) you're more likely to spend it on project based work or (worse) in lectures. J.P. Morgan's spring IBD students analyzed the potential acquisition of two firms and pitched it to a board of managing directors. At Lazard, Citi, Deutsche and Macquarie students said there was also an element of work-shadowing in IBD..
There are some big differences in banks' application processes for spring weeks
Now that spring weeks have become an integral part of banks' recruitment process in Europe, getting one has become a slog. Students said most banks require spring week applicants to upload their CV and cover letter before participating in a telephone or video interview and then going in for an interview face to face. Not all banks require students to complete a numeracy test now, however. - HSBC, Goldman, Lazard, BNP Paribas, Bank of America and Barclays have reportedly ditched the numeracy element of their applications, although the latter two now require spring candidates to complete situational judgement tests instead.