Learn more about a career in investment banking by trying a spring week
Unsure whether investment banking is for you? Spring weeks allow you to test the waters and experience the culture of different organisations before applying for summer internships and graduate programmes.
Impressing employers on a spring week could secure you fast-track access to a full internship.
What is a spring week?
Spring weeks – also called insight weeks, insight programmes or insight days – offer undergraduates in their first year (or second year of a four-year course) an opportunity to learn a little about what it would be like to work at an investment bank, typically over one or two weeks. They are designed to give students an insight into the people, culture and possibilities at the employer.
What is a spring week?
This type of work experience usually follows a structured programme including business presentations, case study workshops, mock interviews, work shadowing and networking opportunities. Employers may also focus their spring weeks to make the tasks reflect the qualities they look for in potential recruits. Through them, employers try to give students an idea of day-to-day life in investment banking, as well as developing the skills recruiters look for, such as teamwork, leadership, organisation and communication.
They differ from a standard internship in that they're far shorter, usually lasting one or two weeks. They can also act as a pipeline for future talent; in fact, impressing employers on a spring week could secure you fast-track access to a full internship. Some employers also run interview and application workshops in their spring weeks, which are designed to help you secure a longer internship later on.
Applications for spring weeks in 2021 have now closed; it is unclear whether they are able to take place this year due to social distancing restrictions and government advice to work from home. If they do not go ahead in person, they may be run virtually. Spring weeks in 2022 will likely go ahead as normal, with applications opening in the autumn, so use the advice in this article to help you start preparing.
How to make the most of spring weeks
Different employers look for different traits in their spring week interns when deciding whether to offer them a full internship at the end. However, one thing that's sure to catch their eye is enthusiasm. Show a genuine interest in the company and the work, and show you're curious about what working in an investment bank is like. It can sometimes be hard to demonstrate this on a full internship, let alone in a week so ask questions, be proactive and show the employer how interested you are in a career in investment banking.
Though they're not essential to securing an internship, spring weeks do put you in good stead to secure one later on. Like internships, competition for spring weeks is high, so don't leave them until the last minute. Application windows usually close in January, but sometimes as early as November, and each employer is different so check out our internship listings for those dates.
Read up on banking basics and start using social media
Aside from attending spring weeks, you can prepare for your investment baking career by learning basic finance concepts and getting familiar with banking jargon. This is something you can make a start on now while you wait to apply for 2022 programmes.
Once you’ve grasped the basics, it would be a good idea to start following business news – you could begin with the business section of your favourite news channel or broadsheet and you could try reading publications with a strong business or finance focus, such as the Financial Times or The Economist.
If you haven’t already, you should set up a LinkedIn account and start connecting with relevant people and groups, such as banks that you’re interested in working for, finance-related university societies or the Financial Times readers’ groups. However, do be careful about connecting to people who don't know you, as some executives don't appreciate requests from unknown contacts. Also don't miss our guide to creating the perfect LinkedIn profile.
It would also be a good idea to ‘like’ and follow any banks you might be interested in on Facebook and Twitter. That way you can ask any questions you may have and get updates about upcoming opportunities.
Article last updated 9 March 2021.