About this sector
You can read information about role responsibilities, salary, working hours, what to expect, qualifications, skills, work experience, career prospects and related roles on the following Prospects Job Profiles:
You might also see other job profiles of interest in the accountancy, banking and finance profiles page (which gives links to the 33 profiles in the sector).
TargetJobs and Inside Careers also provide an overview of working in this sector, and detailed descriptions of the roles.
How to gain experience/internships
Spring Insight Programmes - opportunities for 2nd years (occasionally 1st years)
Summer Internships - opportunities for penultimate year students (or final year undergraduates proceeding onto a masters)
- offered by many investment banks.
- usually aimed at students in their penultimate year of study.
- they aim to provide an insight into the company and the work involved, and to work on a specific project.
- can last for eight to ten weeks.
- usually take place between July and September.
- application deadlines vary but usually fall in December or early January of the penultimate year. For students on three-year courses, this means applying in the autumn term of the second year. Check websites of firms you are interested in as early as possible.
- many investment banking/management organisations consider internships as an “extended application process” and use it as their main recruitment method.
- 50% to 70% of graduate hires in banking and investment have worked for that organisation as an intern - in some cases the figure is even higher (90%).
Job search websites for investment banking/management internships and work experience
Alternative resources and advice
- Careers Centre events - attend our Careers Fair and regularly search on CareerConnect for employer events and workshops.
- Join a society such as the Finance Society or take a financial role within a society or a voluntary organisation will all be useful additions to your CV.
- SEO London - SEO London: Investment banking, hedge fund and asset management – provides outstanding undergraduate students from ethnic backgrounds the unique opportunity to gain summer internships at the most prestigious investment banks in the UK.
- Boutique banks - smaller banks, often referred to as “boutique banks” don't often offer formal structured internships but they, on occasion, offer a placement to a talented and enthusiastic student who applies speculatively. Ask Ivy London Boutique Investment Banks.
- Hedge Funds - there are few formal hedge fund internship programmes available, so it may be worthwhile applying speculatively. The London School of Economics has some good information on hedge funds and links to relevant employers.
- Rare Recruitment - offers a series of introductory career programmes for BAME undergraduates.
- Employer websites - check employer websites for details of their undergraduate work experience opportunities.
How to get a (graduate) job
Investment Banking graduate training schemes
Many of the world's top financial institutions offer investment banking graduate training schemes. These are very popular and competition can be fierce. The majority recruit graduates from any degree discipline, although an interest in finance and numeracy skills may often be advantageous. The most successful applicants from St Andrews are not necessarily those with a finance related degree but those that know what the sector does and the roles involved.
Job search websites
Job search advice
- Hedge Funds - number of hedge funds employ graduates, but competition is fierce. Examples include:
- Specialist graduate recruitment consultancies -many recruitment agencies specialise in city-based roles. They are often looking for candidates with at least three to six months' experience. Examples include:
- Making speculative applications - consider approaching smaller financial institutions which do not have an established graduate recruitment scheme or do not actively publicise their vacancies, eg boutique banks and hedge funds. Ask Ivy provides a list of London Boutique investment banks.
Applications, interviews and assessment centres
Before you even start to look for a job, make sure your are able to articulate in your application your motivation to work in your chosen role and your understanding of the sector and the main current issues affecting this area. Showing an interest in the current financial markets is also beneficial; read the Financial Times or/and The Economist, have a knowledge of the current state of the Stock Market etc.
If applying to Investment Management you must know the difference between Investment Management and Investment Banking - Fidelity Worldwide Investments say this is the number one mistake students make in their application and at interview.
- this sector is known for its early start and closing dates for graduate applications
- many graduate schemes at investment banks open in August or September, and some close in late October/early November. Apply as early as possible - some recruiters make offers as applications arrive.
- selection dates are likely to be between January and April (sometimes earlier)
- regularly check employer websites for up-to-date details.
- Investment 2020 advertises graduate level jobs in the investment management industry. Most opportunities are in London, but some in Edinburgh. Closing dates are in May/June for start dates in July/August. Register with the website to receive the latest vacancies.
- the majority of employers in this sector use online applications, followed by an assessment centre then interview stage
- a few investment banking organisations (especially smaller 'boutique banks') will accept a CV and covering letter.
- the majority of banks will test candidates against "competencies" in their applications and interviews. It is therefore essential you find out the competencies valued by the organisation. These can often be found on the website.
- most firms will provide advice on their application processes - check individual websites for details.
These websites have a wealth of advice on making applications and psychometric tests:
- most Investment Banks and Investment Management companies prefer a one page CV, especially if US based. Remember always to read the job specification/internship description and tailor your CV to that. Here is an example of a US resume. US finance resume Find out how recruiters assess CVs. efinancialcareers has some useful advice.
Employer-specific interview questions
Relevant Postgraduate Study - is it a requirement?
St Andrews graduates (especially from non-finance related degrees), often enrol on a relevant postgraduate course. Graduates from finance-related degrees enrol on more specialised postgraduate courses. NB If you are a final year student with a place on a Masters programme, you can apply for a summer internship, as technically you are still in your penultimate year of study.
Non finance related courses
Former graduates have enrolled on the following courses:
- Durham University – MA Finance
- Cass Business School, City University London - MSc in Management /Finance
Former graduates have enrolled on the following courses:
- London School of Economics – MSc Economics
- University of Oxford – MPhil Economics
- University of St Andrews - MSc Money, Banking & Finance
- University of Durham – MSc Finance
Read the efinancial careers article The best UK schools for working in finance.
Search for relevant postgraduate courses on Prospects.
|For further information on researching and planning for a postgraduate qualification, please visit the postgraduate study page.
Key UK resources
Careers Centre resources
Use CareerConnect, your central careers hub, to:
- Book an appointment with a careers adviser
- Search for vacancies (Job Shop, internships/work experience, graduate jobs)
- Register for events
- The Careers Centre subscribes to GoinGlobal, a specialist website with information and job vacancies worldwide.
The Careers Centre has a small selection of finance related reference books which are kept in the University Library.
- Target:City & Finance
- Careers in Financial Markets
Professional Bodies, Trade Organisations & Journals/Magazines
The USA job market and recruitment timetables, for both internships and graduate jobs, for sectors of employment often differ from the UK.
The Careers Centre subscribes to the reputable independent USA careers information and vacancy provider Vault. The links below will take you directly to Vault subscription resources which cover this sector. You may find further useful and relevant resources linked from there as well.