2 August 2021

A Guide to Investment Banking Internships

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So you’ve got the numerical ability and a sound knowledge of the stock markets… but have you got any real investment banking work experience?

The average starting salary in investment banking is £50,000 a year, making it the highest-paying sector for graduates in 2022. But without any professional experience on your CV, securing a job in this WILDLY competitive industry is going to be tough.
Use this guide to discover everything there is to know about investment banking internships, and how to secure one with the UK’s best student employers.

If you’ve got The Big Short on pause, skip ahead to…



What is investment banking?

When we think of investment banking, it’s usually all big dollar signs, buzzing trading floors and Wolf of Wall Street chanting… But what do investment bankers actually do?

Investment bankers are essentially corporate financial advisors. Typically working with businesses, governments and high net worth individuals, they offer strategic advice and find creative solutions to complex financial problems.

As well as advising them on how to reach their goals, investment bankers help their clients with buying and selling companies (rather like estate agents, but for businesses not houses), raising capital for expansion and assessing risk. 

Investment bankers are the champions of analytical thinking and building long-term relationships.

Employers in this fast-paced industry also look for intellectually curious candidates who can bring fresh ideas and new perspectives to what they do, as well as having a strong work ethic and an ability to keep a cool head under pressure.

Think you’ve got what it takes? Keep scrolling to find out how YOU can become an investment banker…



Do you need an internship to get into investment banking?

You sure do. With banks hiring less people than ever before, competition for graduate jobs is now hotter than Benidorm in August.

The good news is, the more investment banking work experience you can get on your CV whilst you’re still at university, the more chance you have of being snapped up when you graduate…

“73% of graduates joining the top investment banks have been recruited via work experience programmes.” (High Fliers: The Graduate Market)

So let’s take a look at your options:

Investment banking internships

DURATION: 1-4 months

WHEN TO APPLY: Sep-Mar

The best way to learn about the world of investment banking is to dive right in with an internship. This will give you an insight into how the industry operates, as well as oodles of opportunities to develop your skills and network with people across the business.

Most employers run their internships in the summer, making it an opportunity to spend the holidays building the skills you need to succeed in the industry AND getting paid…

Not to mention the fact that most employers use their investment banking summer internships to find future graduate recruits. Dazzle on yours, and you could find yourself with a job lined up before you leave university.

(In other words, it sure beats spending those long, long months between semesters twiddling your thumbs at home, or working night shifts in the local Co-op.)

Find investment banking internships →|



What do investment banking interns do?

As an investment banking intern, you’ll work with graduates and senior leaders alike, getting involved in real projects for real clients. You might find yourself carrying out financial analysis, working on Excel modelling or researching different financial markets.

“All interns will have a final project that they are working on, and must present this to their team and line manager. Day-to-day activity (depending on your team) could involve: analysis of work, building models, getting involved in various deals in DCM, BCF, or conversations/shadowing in Sales and Trading. There are also social events, networking and team meetings etc.” Corporate & Investment Banking Summer Intern at Santander


How much do interns at investment banks make?

These schemes tend to come with serious paychecks. In fact, the average salary for an investment banking internship is £25,010 pro-rata (*based on 5,855 student-written reviews submitted to RateMyPlacement.co.uk).

However, it’s worth bearing in mind the long hours you’ll likely be expected to work. Whilst you’ll be able to save a heck of a lot of money to return to university with, you may have to sacrifice some of your free time to do so.


Investment banking off-cycle internships

DURATION: Dependent on business needs

WHEN TO APPLY:
Any time

Typically associated with the banking and finance industries, off-cycle internships are for students in their penultimate or final year of study, as well as recent graduates.

The only difference between an investment banking internship and an off-cycle internship is that these nifty schemes can be found ALL year round. So they’re perfect if you want to cram in some more work experience before graduating.

Goldman Sachs is one of the few employers who run off-cycle internships in the UK. They offer hands-on experience and mentorship in one of several divisions, including Consumer & Wealth Management, Global Investment Research, and Operations.



Explore the wealth of opportunities available to you in the banking industry with our Guide to Banking Internships & Spring Weeks.


Investment banking internships in London

When it comes to finance, London truly is at the heart of the action. All of the best investment banks have at least one office in either the City of London or Canary Wharf.

And they ALL offer internships in investment banking. So if you already live in London or you’re looking to make the big move, there are heaps of opportunities you can apply for. 


However, that does mean that the competition to secure an investment banking internship in London is ON! To get ahead, make sure you get your applications sent off ASAP – places are filled on a first come first serve basis, and once they’re gone, they’re gone. 

Find investment banking internships in London →


The best investment banks to work for in 2021-22

Each year we reveal the best student employers to work for in the UK, based on the thousands of reviews submitted to RateMyPlacement.co.uk.

The employers that make the table do so because they offer world-class internships for students. You could call them the Novak Djokovics of undergraduate work experience.

This year’s TOP 10 companies for investment banking internships are:

  1. Bank of America 
  2. Rothschild & Co
  3. J.P. Morgan
  4. Citi  
  5. Credit Suisse
  6. Morgan Stanley
  7. Goldman Sachs Group
  8. UBS
  9. Jefferies International
  10. Deutsche Bank

Scroll down to discover the different investment banking internship opportunities available to you with #1 employer Bank of America…


SPOTLIGHT ON: Bank of America internships

Aimed at students in their penultimate year of university, Bank of America’s 10-week Global Investment Banking summer analyst program is an opportunity to work on real life deals with global clients. 

This internship is specifically tailored to give YOU the best chance of landing a job in investment banking…

“The summer internship class is our primary source of hiring into our full time programs.” 


You’ll be supported with training and exposure to senior business leaders, whilst becoming proficient in analytics, working on live transactions and interacting with clients.

Day-to-day tasks will include the likes of developing complex financial models, performing financial analysis and conducting in-depth industry research.  

Apply for Bank of America internships →|


How to get an investment banking internship

There are a few things you can do (other than applying early) to boost your chances of securing an investment banking internship.

The first is to prepare yourself for an intensive interview process. This will either be conducted face-to-face, via video or a combination of both. Be ready to answer questions about your strengths and to really prove your passion for investment banking, rather than giving generic answers (or talking about how much you like money!).

Prepare an internship CV and cover letter that are honest, but compelling. Show how your experience, whether financial or not, really sets you up for success on an investment banking internship. 


Watch the video below to hear YouTuber Afzal Hussein share his advice on answering common investment banking internship interview questions:


Now that you know HOW and WHO to secure an investment banking internship with, all that’s left is to wish you luck with your search!