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Diary of an IBD intern: Everyone in the front office is from Oxbridge and LSE

Getting to this point has been an epic journey; I’ve attended countless banking events, networked with numerous employees, spent many hours researching and many more hours at interviews, and now I’ve finally started an investment banking division internship in London.

However, it was before the internship started that my interaction with the bank began. As an intern in IBD, my team selection was between a variety of product, sector and regional teams. The matching process involved teams reaching out to students they found interesting based upon their CVs and network across the bank. After being approached by a handful of teams, I certainly felt in high demand – this didn’t last too long, though, after being assigned to my fourth choice team

The build-up to the internship was also dominated by online training modules. Ranging from Excel to financial modelling, these were plentiful and painful. Many interns, myself included, left many of the training modules to pack the evenings during the first week. This was incidentally to be a training week with ‘just’ a 9-5pm schedule!

The schedule for training covered a lot very quickly. The first day started with general introductions to the bank – all of the boring procedural and regulatory stuff to be expected with enrolment at a major financial institution. It ended with a welcome event at a local bar for all interns with a few HR people. Plenty of alcohol was served and by the end, plenty of it remained. The atmosphere left many shy to appear to relax too much so early into the programme.

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent learning about the bank and industry generally, with all interns, from back to middle to front office, attending these days together. The final two days of the week were different, however, with more intense and relevant training for IBD interns as many back office interns started at their respective desks. Although more specific, the training started from an elementary level each day, building to a solid base level of proficiency at the end, but still with nothing too challenging even for students without any previous technical knowledge.

It was actually more interesting getting to know the other interns. The better British universities are represented in abundance. Cambridge, Oxford and the London School of Economics all provided the bulk of front office interns, with those in middle and back office roles predominantly from Warwick, Imperial College London and UCL.

‘Traditional’ business, economics and maths subjects dominate too. Perhaps significantly, though, the major European universities and business schools were also really well-represented relative to top British universities, with the majority of their students making up the majority of IBD sector coverage interns. Without multiple languages – and preferably European languages – it appears strikingly difficult to land an IBD internship based in a sector team especially. Diversity is indeed strong in investment banking intakes, but there are clearly limitations to where and how it is used.

The second week heralds my first day on the desk. For now, however, I’m taking the time to make the most of my weekend. After meeting my analyst ‘buddy’ and discussing with him the hours expected of us this summer, I may not have another quite like it for a while.

Comments (4)

Comments
  1. Back and middle office made up of Warwick, Imperial and UCL? Does this intern work at Pierce & Pierce?

  2. On the contrary, only a truly white-shoe firm can get its recruitment so right.

  3. Do you think it is possible for a Harvard/University of Pensylvania or Amherst Liberal Arts student ,to qualify for an Internship at an Investment Bank in London ?

  4. majority from Oxbridge and LSE? must be Morgan Stanley

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