What kind of person gets to be a summer analyst (AKA 'summer intern') at a top three investment bank? Evidently it's someone a bit special - 98% of applicants for Goldman's junior positions are rejected. But how special exactly? We've looked at the profiles of members of this year's summer analyst class to find out.
Leading banks like leading universities. It's cleaner that way. JPMorgan Cazenove has hired Jack Weston, an Oxford Undergraduate, onto its IBD summer programme. It's also hired James Roberts, an Oxford physics student as analyst on its emerging markets trading desk. Goldman Sachs has hired Kingsley Walker, an economics student at the London School of Economics (LSE) as a 2014 summer intern. Every now and then there's an outlier, however - Ole-Bjørn Kolbæk, a summer intern at Goldman Sachs, studied accounting at Hull University in the UK, but is currently studying for a masters at Copenhagen Business School.
Don't even think about applying for a front office job at a top investment bank if you don't have the kind of academic record that would make an exam taking automaton go into meltdown. Roberts at JPMorgan has four A*s at A Level and ten A*s at GCSE. Sara Eskola, a King's College student and 2014 summer analyst at Goldman Sachs, is a maths and physics scholar. Christian Kilin, an incoming analyst at JPMorgan and student at Warwick University, achieved a near-perfect distinction in the Austrian equivalent of A Levels.
This year's interns aren't the sorts of students who come back from the library and waste their lives playing Candy Crush. Kilin is the co-founder of Warwick University's Austrian Society. Eskola is president of the King's College women's rugby club. Benjamin Harvey, a summer analyst at Deutsche Bank's investment banking business in the US is a member of both Alpha Kappa Psi and his university' finance society.
You don't have to be a member of the university finance society,but it helps. It helps even more if you hold a senior position in that society. For example, Weston at JPMorgan is President of CapitOx, a finance and consulting society of Oxford University. Roberts at JPMorgan was head of CapitOx in 2012. Kolbæk was head of Financelab, the 'largest professional student society in Denmark'. Kilin was president of the Warwick University Economics Society. Coral Hall-Casserly, a credit sales intern at JPMorgan is head of the Warwick Banking and Finance Society.
We've noted this trend before, but it's becoming increasingly common for students to get many, many internships under their belts before they actually secure full time employment. Harvey at Deutsche Bank has been a summer analyst at Emory & Co LLC, a mid-market M&A house. Walker at Goldman Sachs has already been a summer analyst at JPMorgan. Eskola (also at Goldman Sachs) has also been a previous intern at RBC.
If you don't know what an investment bank's 'spring week' is, you'd better familiarize yourself with the term very quickly. Almost all the London-based 2014 summer interns we looked at have completed spring weeks. Most have completed multiple springs at multiple banks. (A spring week is a week-long introduction to banking for first year university students).
If you want to go into banking now, it's no good stating your intention of making a lot of money and retiring young. You need to be in it for the long haul, or at least to give that impression "I strive to acquire the skill set needed to achieve a lifelong career in finance," says Kolbæk's personal statement, accordingly.
If you haven't completed an internship banking, it helps to have worked somewhere like, say, McKinsey & Co, the top strategy consulting firm. Kolbæk spent a year as a receptionist at McKinsey in Denmark. Kilin at JPMorgan went on a McKinsey & Co. insight week
In London especially, it's standard for summer analysts to be non-Britons. German universities like WHU Mannheim are popular hunting grounds. So is the Warsaw School of Economics. The LSE provides a flow of Chinese and other Asian interns who are studying in London but speak fluent Cantonese and Mandarin.
Does it matter if your CV includes some standard 'weekend work'? Not at all - if you know how to spin it. One analyst at JPMorgan, who received an offer after a successful summer internship last year, spent some time working in the gift shop at Knebworth House. He's very specific about his achievements in that time, pointing out that he worked individually to help the gift shop become profitable, serving 200 customers a day, taking around £1,000 daily.
In other words, interns are people who know how to make the most of their achievements - even if they do involve working in a cafe or in a gift shop selling rock concert memorabilia.