Your 2021 investment banking career planner
Whether you're in your first, second or third year of university, use our timeline to help you search for investment banking jobs, spring weeks and internships.
What to do in spring
- If you’re lucky enough to get selected for any insight days or spring programmes, make the most of the experience and network. Now is your chance to ask questions and think about which firms would suit you.
- Sound out a friendly tutor to see if there are options for relevant paid work at your university over the summer if you haven’t managed to line up an internship.
- Research whether there are any modules you could take next year that would particularly please employers in your area of interest. If you can’t find this information on company websites, contact the graduate recruitment team directly to ask.
- You’re probably pretty busy studying for exams so job-hunting may be on the backburner right now, but, if you haven’t managed to secure a job for September and you don’t want to wait another year to apply, consider being flexible – there may be finance-related graduate schemes still accepting applications.
What to do in summer
- Draw up a form or other system to record the skills you pick up over the summer – whether through an internship, travelling, volunteering or in a part-time job. It’ll all help when filling out application forms.
- Make the most of your internship to give yourself the greatest possible chance of it turning into a full-time job offer. If you don’t have an internship, there are other ways to boost your employability. You could, for example, contact small local finance-related companies to see if they would be able to offer you a couple of days’ work shadowing or give you a tour of their facilities.
- Job secured for September? Congratulations – enjoy your summer!
- If not, check you can still access your university’s careers resources once you are no longer a student. Don’t give up – some graduate schemes may still be open (you can find out which ones here).
What to do in autumn
- If you’re a penultimate-year student, apply now for summer internships for 2021. Many of these deadlines fall before Christmas, with the rest in January.
- Make sure you’re on top of your academic work – without mitigating circumstances, no banking and investment employer will consider you without a 2.1 or above.
- Consider joining a university club or society to develop transferable skills.
- Find out whether your university has an alumni database. If it does, use it to find someone doing the type of finance job you want and email them to see if they’d be willing to tell you more about it.
- Make your application for a job in 2021 now. Many graduate investment banking or banking schemes open to receive applications in August and the vast majority close in November. Watch out however – some may close earlier. There are exceptions to the autumn window, but remember – even the few application dates described as ‘open’ will close once they’ve received all the applications they need. Don’t delay applying.
- Check out the advice we give about getting hired by specific employers in the TARGETjobs employer hubs.
What to do in winter
- If you’re a first-year student (or in the second year of a four-year degree), now is usually the time to apply for short programmes such as spring insight weeks, which increase your chances of being considered for firms’ graduate schemes. These are very much thought of by recruiters as the first stage of the talent pipeline, and are designed to give attendees a head start. Most of these deadlines close in January.
- If you’re in your penultimate year and didn’t get the internship you wanted for the summer, plan ahead by investigating alternative, ideally finance-related work experience. Make the most of any festive social events to ask family and friends if they know of any suitable contacts or ways to expand your CV.
- This is usually peak time for interviews and assessment centres. Read the information in the TARGETjobs employer hubs to get tailored advice about how to prepare and handle yourself during this process.
- If you’re still making applications to firms with open deadlines, ensure you can access the job-hunting resources you need over the Christmas holiday.