Staffed on live M&A deals.
I thoroughly enjoyed my work placement. I received significant exposure from senior managers, along with being given real responsibility on projects. This, along with organised speaker series each week provided many opportunities to ask questions to senior managers. These speaker series included networking breakfasts with the Co-Heads of Global Banking which allowed us exposure to the future strategy of the firm. The downside of course are the hours so if you don't mind this then the work is definitely rewarding.
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The work given to interns was seen to have a tangible impact on projects. The work I produced was used in client meetings and so forth. Obviously the work an intern is allowed to do is limited due to the lack of professional qualifications however the work one does do is definitely valued considering one has real responsibility and therefore interns tend to be treated as junior analysts.
Your line managers are always there to provide guidance however the real correspondents are your buddy and to a certain extent your mentor. Your buddy is normally an analyst or associate within your team and therefore you tend to work with them the majority of the time throughout your internship. The majority of the time you are expected to do your own research of course and so you have to be independent in your work however when you are stuck this is a useful lifeline to have.
Particularly in Investment Banking, you are as busy as you want to be (to a certain extent of course). I personally preferred to be over-worked than under-worked and so often there were days where you simply have to delay submission of certain pieces of work until a few days later due to other work priorities (i.e. live deals). The way of the system works is that there tends to be one "Staffer" who distributes new projects to those who are spare capacity, and therefore if you think you have the capacity to take on more work, then you simply ask to be staffed on more. The struggle here is to find the balance as often projects will have a low-period but then the intensity will pick up again a week-or-so later.
I would say on this internship interns are given as much responsibility as possible. You are limited to client communications due to not having the appropriate professional qualifications (those that you do obtain in the Grad training) - however apart from this, you are still engaged with clients on calls/emails etc. The work given to interns are often used for client meetings / deals etc, and this is often ppt. slides or excel-based calculations. The majority of work done is research, i.e. sifting through annual reports, however the majority of this research used acts as the foundation for work carried out further down the line in projects. This is a strong attraction to the HSBC programme in particular.
Having done a previous internship before in corporate banking, I would say this internship by far superseded my previous internship in terms of skills developed and experiences gained. You quickly learn prioritisation skills along with quick communication and turning work around quickly. As for the technical side, you don't necessarily have a large exposure to modeling as it is often quicker and more accurate when an analyst carries this out, however this is contingent on your team. With my degree as Accounting and Finance I didn't find the training that useful as it was basic accounting which I had covered in my degree, however I can imagine the training very useful for those from non-finance/accounting backgrounds.
For the Advisory team the atmosphere was very calm and if anything verging on quiet. The difference is with the rest of the Investment Banking teams/products as they are all positioned on the same floor which has a more vibrant atmosphere. The future plan however is for all IB products/teams to be on the same floor and therefore soon all IB employees will have this vibrant/boisterous atmosphere.
The entire internship was very well organised. There were speaker series every week which gave interns a greater insight into the various products/teams one could work in, along with networking breakfasts with the Co-Heads of Global Banking. There was a very fun mid-intern social where interns participated in a treasure hunt around the City of London, along with a fun end-of-intern social.
The first week of the internship was solely for training. An external training company (AMT) taught interns accounting basics along with more division-specific training. After this first week, there we continued training in the second week which meant interns only really got onto their desks in the third week. Therefore the training received was definitely exhaustive, with interns able to take home the training manuals handed out to us in the first week for revision in the future.
Future prospects are very appealing within HSBC. As the firm has a significant global standing there are international opportunities, particularly with the Global Management Programme which one can opt for (where you have 2 year international placements). Particularly in Investment Banking, there is fast career progression and so one can work their way up the firm relatively quickly.
There was a very good social scene amongst other interns, although this is fairly dependent on what division you are in. Coverage and Markets are often the most sociable as they finish around 7 p.m. most days, whereas IB interns who have later hours can only really socialise on Friday and/or weekends. Nevertheless, I found the IB interns were more social than I would have thought, with most going for drinks on Fridays and keen to go places on Saturdays too.
Regarding employees in general, this is very team dependent.
Being based in London, socialising is expensive wherever you are. I was based in Mile End in Scape which I would highly recommend to any intern as you can often find a good price and the rooms are very nice. As for socialising it is very dependent where you go. We often went to Shoreditch which is very expensive however there are many other areas which have decently priced bars/clubs.