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    Hi guys,

    I attended the Morgan Stanley Spring Insight Week last week and the following, I hope, will give you an insight into the firm and the different areas of Morgan Stanley (MS). What I’m about to say is my opinion and has been taken from very brief notes I took on the week. I may have got some things wrong, but I’m sure the more pedantic amongst us will swiftly correct any errors. When I talk about specific business areas, they apply to MS and not all banks alike.

    What is Spring Insight Week?


    This is a fantastic chance to see the company and to get an idea of the business areas that make up the company. Many people base job decisions and form opinions of banks from meeting a couple of employees at interviews and from 3rd party sources. There is no substitute for actually meeting the employees there and asking them about the company and their roles. It is open to 1st years or 2nd years on a four year course (me). The next one will be 2007 but I strongly recommend anyone interested in IB to apply next year if they are eligible.

    I spent a week listening to presentations and doing group exercises with the aim of finding out as much as possible about MS and to see if a career at MS is really for me. The highlight of the week was going for dinner in executive dining. The food was amazing and the views over Canary Wharf are spectacular. The low point was having to get up at 5.30am to be in for 7.15am. Also, the commute to Canary Wharf from where I was staying near Warren Street is approximately 45 mins and is an absolute nightmare as it’s really busy all day. That and the fact that Canary Wharf is a big concrete jungle aren’t the most inspiring reasons to get out of bed in the morning!

    So what areas are there at MS and what does each involve?

    I’m going to refer you to my previous post on JPMorgan (http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...10#post4312110) where I lay out the main areas of the bank. It’s more useful for me to give you any insights into each area rather than try to explain them and what they do as you can use the MS website to get a general idea. Also I would like to correct myself where I said that in Investment Banking (ECM, DCM and M&A) a 60hr week is fairly typical. At JPMorgan the impression I got from people working there was that there was about a 50% chance that any week would be over 60hrs. However from speaking to MS people, it seems that it is no lie to say that 100hr weeks are more typical as well as a spending the majority of your time in front of excel spreadsheets.

    Private Wealth Management (PWM)

    PWM is a relatively small division in the bank with around 200 people. Its really a replication of the asset management division, but tailors its services to the ultra high net worth individuals – those with more than $5m. Its made up of three areas, which all concentrate specifically on clients needs.

    Sales: Identifying future clients and being the point of contact between client and their money.

    Investment Managers: Manage client portfolios

    Solutions group: Provide tailored products for clients, e.g. derivatives and structured products.

    Teams are specialised and concentrate on specific regions. I did ask whether you needed to be from a particular region to be on the respective desk, i.e. needing to be French to be on the French desk. The reply was that its entirely possible as there are cases of this happening, but clients do feel more comfortable speaking in their own language. The MS saying is that they are ‘Benchmark aware – not benchmark driven’ with regard to managing money.

    The necessary skills for PWM are a passion for investment markets and a passion for meeting people and developing relationships.

    Internship places: 5*

    *All figures are based on 2005 numbers. Numbers are approximate and if the total number of places does not add up to a perceived amount I am not suggesting there are fewer places, just that my information is either incomplete or misunderstood.

    Apparently the PWM side at MS is expanding and therefore they said they wouldn’t be surprised if they had around 8 places available in 2007. There places are based more on business needs and they will try to offer internships for positions they would like to recruit graduates the following year.

    Finance & Operations, Technology

    I attended the Spring Week for people from a finance degree background and so our exposure to this area was kept quite minimal with the speaker acknowledging that we probably wouldn’t be interested.

    I confess to taking no notes, but I still think there is a tendency to be negative about this area and confine it to being ‘back office’. Quite frankly I would take offence at people being disparaging about me if I were in this role as I’m sure senior managers would do as well. Lets be honest – Finance and ops does not get you as much exposure to the super cool and buzzing environment of the stock market, but if you are not as interested in it then it is a great place to work as the projects will be challenging and rewarding. With around 25% of graduates going into this area at each bank you can hardly say that it isn’t an important part of the bank. Similarly, MS is a clear market leader in Technology with a budget of around $2.5bn annually. If MS weren’t as innovative in Technology then clearly there would be some traders and other more ‘exciting’ people looking for a new job. Technology at MS seems to require an above average level of IT and the minimum standard seems to be that you have to be able to program in at least one language. However, there was a Sports Science graduate who is now a Managing Director having graduated within the last 10 years. There were also a few people who had moved from Operations to trading and sales roles, although only around 2 people per year it seemed.

    Internship places: 30 Finance & Operations, 20 Technology


    Investment Banking

    Its true. Long hours are a prerequisite. There’s even a hotel next to the MS offices for people to stay in if they are on a tight deadline and one guy told us that he worked 3 days straight (no sleep) to finish a project.

    Interestingly MS have a Global Capital Markets division which apparently has more sociable hours than in other IBD divisions. MS are a market leader in M&A.

    To succeed here you need to be very committed and driven and have excellent people skills. This is not for people who may be academically excellent but have no social skills as a result. The plus side is that you can be given responsibility from an early age and make a real contribution to deals after maybe only a year or so.

    Internship places: 50, (Capital Markets 30*)

    *If I remember correctly, the guy said that he wouldn’t be surprised if the number of people taken on doubles due to resurgent market conditions. However, I’m not sure whether Capital Markets here was to do with the IBD division here or the Equities division. I think it’s the former but I can’t be sure.

    Fixed Income and Consolidated Equity


    Its all a bit of a blur here as I have no distinguishable notes on separate divisions. What I have got is that you need to have a passion for what you do and care about what youre doing, i.e. being here just for the money will become apparent to your colleagues who will then treat you a little less seriously. You also have to have an integrity factor and be very trustworthy as well as helpful. There should be a firm focus on getting here, i.e. relevant work experience or playing with shares that shows you have a desire to work with equities or in fixed income.

    There is a rotation program in the Sales and Trading area that allows Summer interns and graduates the opportunity to experience all areas and then concentrate on the one their interest lies in most.

    Internship places: Unknown to me. Guesstimate of 60

    My notes here highlight the non necessity of having a finance/economics background. Even the finance/economics grads said that their degrees haven’t been particularly relevant and the non finance/economics grads said such things as:

    • You can pick it up if you are willing to learn
    • You learn most on the job, therefore its about what you want to learn
    • Only your imagination limits what you can do

    I could cite a fair few examples of people not coming from finance/economics backgrounds who had been successful at MS. I estimate the percentage of people coming from a non finance/economics background at 35% and those coming from a non numerical degree background at about 15%. While talking to various more senior people and more experienced analysts and associates, most said that they felt a wide range of skills is important and being someone that people want to work with is particularly important. Being intelligent and having good grades will get you an interview, but you personality and personal skills might not get you the job. I felt particularly sorry for people at LSE who seem to be bombarded by Investment Banks and have it shoved in their faces.

    A complex grasp of maths is really only neccesary for Quantative trading and Derrivatives trading etc. This is only a really tiny area of an Investment Bank and there are loads of other areas where A-Level or even GCSE maths is all you need as long as you can cope with learning mathematical stuff for the job. I think a sound knowledge of excel in some ways is more useful, especially for IBD and Equity Research.

    The Morgan Stanley culture?


    People are always going on about the MS culture. I didn’t meet a single person who could tell me what it was and most said that you can just tell whether someone has the MS mindset. My perspective is that the people at MS are quite laid back and friendly, although I reckon JPMorgan are more so and have a bit more fun. MS people are very sharp and really do love their job. There wasn’t really a feel of a US bank as people there were from so many different backgrounds and cultures. The MS building are pretty good and the canteen portions are huge!

    MS are not a full service bank and they admit that they wont try to out UBS UBS or out JPMorgan JPMorgan. As such they concentrate on their core capabilities which are probably M&A, Capital Markets and Technology. Services to hedge funds are becoming increasingly important. My one slight concern is the ‘up or out’ nature of the analyst programme after finishing the initial 3 years there. You are expected to reapply to the firm for an associate position and if you don’t get it they send you on your way!

    Out of curiosity for people interested in knowing which universities people on the week went to I would estimate it to be comprised of the following (the more people on the course, the higher the rank):

    LSE
    Oxford
    Warwick
    UCL
    --------------- (just 1 person)
    Manchester
    Southampton
    Bath
    Bristol
    Durham
    Stockholm School of Economics
    Nottingham
    Imperial


    Any questions then please feel free to PM me.

    James
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    I assume you accidentally missed out Cambridge from that list?

    Anyway thanks for your post -- extremely insightful.
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    (Original post by Knogle)
    I assume you accidentally missed out Cambridge from that list?
    Nope. There wasnt anyone from Cambridge attending, unless i didnt get an opportunity to speak to them. If there was someone there, then there would definately have only been one from Cambridge. In comparison there were around 6 people from Oxford.

    James
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    (Original post by pogel17)
    Being intelligent and having good grades will get you an interview, but you personality and personal skills might not get you the job. I felt particularly sorry for people at LSE who seem to be bombarded by Investment Banks and have it shoved in their faces.


    James

    So, coming from LSE will only get you so far and interviewers almost disregard that at the assessment stage, meaning that performing well on the bank's own tests is MUCH more important?
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    Yep.
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    (Original post by John5000)
    So, coming from LSE will only get you so far and interviewers almost disregard that at the assessment stage, meaning that performing well on the bank's own tests is MUCH more important?
    absolutely.
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    A complex grasp of maths is really only neccesary for Quantative trading and Derrivatives trading etc. This is only a really tiny area of an Investment Bank
    Might want to check that bit again... and your numbers of places figures are off.

    Other points are worth making. Your notes tell less than half-a-story more often than not. I'm sure people can 'fill in the blanks'.
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    (Original post by President_Ben)
    Might want to check that bit again... and your numbers of places figures are off.
    Ben, this is just my opinion from the people i've spoken to WHO ACTUALLY WORK IN AN INVESTMENT BANK. Its fair enough if you disagree so maybe we should agree to disagree. While ok i admit Derrivatives is not a 'tiny' area of the bank, in terms of opportunities there are far more in other areas.

    I did specifically state that if my numbers didnt add up, then it was because i hadnt got the full information on all the areas. Please do enlighten us if you have 100% accurate figures as i am desperate to know. Where i have actually used numbers they have come directly from the horses mouth, i.e. Head Recruiters from the respective divisions.

    (Original post by President_Ben)
    Other points are worth making. Your notes tell less than half-a-story more often than not. I'm sure people can 'fill in the blanks'.
    I said quite clearly at the beginning of my post that i had a limited set of notes and that what i've written is my opinion and obviously i will have interpreted things differently to other people. Also please enlighten me as to where i have only told half the truth and what blanks need filling in.
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    No bank is going to have something like 70%+ of their recruits as front office.

    A half-story is not a half-truth.
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    I would like to reiterate Knogle's word of thanks - its interesting what you have written.
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    I'd like to start by saying thank you for the interesting read. I have two questions:

    1. Approximately, at what time during the year is the deadline for applying to this Spring Week programme?

    2. Approximately, and in general, when are deadlines for summer internships in year 2 and beyond?

    Many thanks.
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    (Original post by jb_sweden)
    1. Approximately, at what time during the year is the deadline for applying to this Spring Week programme?
    Deadlines for some close in December. Latest close in March.

    2. Approximately, and in general, when are deadlines for summer internships in year 2 and beyond?
    From January to March.

    Deadlines are there to be beaten. Comprehensively beaten. Early applications are more likely to be read and appreciated.
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    Thank you President Ben!
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    Specialist Advisor
    (Original post by pogel17)
    Investment Banking

    Its true. Long hours are a prerequisite. There’s even a hotel next to the MS offices for people to stay in if they are on a tight deadline and one guy told us that he worked 3 days straight (no sleep) to finish a project.

    Interestingly MS have a Global Capital Markets division which apparently has more sociable hours than in other IBD divisions. MS are a market leader in M&A.

    To succeed here you need to be very committed and driven and have excellent people skills. This is not for people who may be academically excellent but have no social skills as a result. The plus side is that you can be given responsibility from an early age and make a real contribution to deals after maybe only a year or so.
    The banking industry loves work experience. Companies in this sector offer hundreds of placement, internship and insight scheme jobs for students each year. But what are the real benefits of these programmes?

    A student job in the industry gives you the chance to see first-hand what it's like to work in a sector that monitors countless financial transactions and the movement of billions of pounds every day.

    Banks are huge institutions, so there's room for you to move around, experience working in different departments, take on different responsibilities and work in an environment where there's room to grow.

    Many of these banking programmes are designed for undergraduates who need to undertake work experience during their university degree – therefore they offer training and exposure to real-world business tasks.

    You'll get the chance to work with banking professionals and learn from them, seeing first-hand what skills are needed to thrive in this industry.

    Many banks' placements and internships are designed to sound out talented students like you who may well be able to progress to become part of the company's graduate scheme.

    You'll get invaluable feedback from senior team members and managers and advice on how to develop your own skills and perform well in the future.

    There are loads of great reasons above why banking placements, internships and insight schemes are beneficial for your development.

    Find out more about banking internships and work experience programmes here.
 
 
 
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