I have finished my 2nd year exams at university and have spent this summer idle. My exams finished in May and I haven’t succeeded in getting a job. However, I’m studying a BA Hons in accounting and finance, with banking electives and I think I should be a strong candidate. Can you please give me some guidance?
You are studying a solid subject and you should have a better chance than most to get a job in a bank when you graduate (provided it is a good university, such as one of the Russell Group).
However, to be completely frank, although you may have a chance of getting a job in a bank, there’s very little likelihood that you’ll get into a front office (sales, trading, or research role).
Given your idleness this summer, it seems far more likely that you’ll get a job in the finance (accounting) or back office (operations) departments of an investment bank. If I were you, I’d focus on applying here.
If you really want to work in a sales or trading job, there’s a slight chance you’ll be able to move across into one after you’ve joined. Product controllers, who work in the finance team and do the accounts for traders, have daily interaction with the trading desk. I’ve seen sharp product controllers use their detailed accounting knowledge and ability to trill down into financial statements as a bridge to move across into trading.
So, that’s it. Without an internship in the front office you won't have a very good chance of landing a graduate front office job next year - although never say never. The far safer route to get a job - and perhaps with a better chance of migrating to a front office role - is to go via the finance (product control) route or, if you’re truly desperate, the operations route. There’s still some of the summer left, so if you can give up your idleness why not try and get some work experience in an accounting firm - it shows willing, and while it’s not exactly an internship in an investment bank, it will at least help differentiate you compared to all those applying with no experience at all who have been even more idle still.