A Guide to Investment Banking Internships

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...

Deutsche Bank explains investment banking in just over a minute:

Getting investment banking work experience

With banks hiring less and less people every year (vacancies have dropped by 40% since 2007!), competition for investment banking graduate jobs is now hotter than Benidorm in August.

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

“73% of graduates joining the top investment banks have been recruited via work experience programmes.” (High Fliers: The Graduate Market in 2021)

So let’s take a look at your options:

Investment banking internships

DURATION: 1-4 months

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.

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.

Most employers run their investment banking 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...

These schemes tend to come with serious pay checks. In fact, the average salary for an investment banking internship is £19,827 pro rata (*based on 5,855 student-written reviews submitted to RateMyPlacement.co.uk in 2020).

Employers also 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.)

Investment banking off-cycle internships

DURATION: Dependent on business needs

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 missed out on an investment banking summer internship, or just 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 for internships 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.

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 Djokovic's of undergraduate work experience.

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

Scroll down to find out more about the different investment banking work experience opportunities available to you at J.P. Morgan and Bank of America...

SPOTLIGHT ON: J.P. Morgan internships

J.P. Morgan internships can be found in almost every part of their business, in roles such as Investment Banking Analyst, Software Engineer and Wealth Management.

Their schemes are an exciting opportunity to be part of a mammoth institution that does business with more than 80% of Fortune 500 companies, supporting 7,200+ clients.

An internship with J.P. Morgan will give you the core skills, technical acumen and professional networks you need to kick off your career in banking.

J.P. Morgan’s investment banking internship runs for nine weeks and starts with virtual training, followed by five days of classroom instruction on accounting fundamentals, valuation, financial modelling and Excel.

You’ll then join one of their industry or product groups, developing innovative solutions for clients or executing high-value transactions. At the end of the J.P. Morgan summer internship, top performing interns are typically offered a job as a full-time analyst.

Watch our interactive panel discussion with analysts and associates from Asset Management, Investment Banking & Markets to find out what it's really like to work at J.P. Morgan.

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.

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.  

Bank of America’s summer internships are also 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.”

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!