GUIDE: How to land Spring Week offers

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The Clockwork Apple
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#1
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#1
Hey everyone,

I have received many messages and quotes lately from several people on the best way to land a Spring Week.

I was lucky enough to get 6 Spring Weeks during my application cycle: Goldman Sachs, Citi, Deloitte, UBS, HSBC and Credit Suisse (although to be fair this last one I withdrew after the 3rd and final interview). Whilst I am sure there were contributing factors, I'd like to say as a disclaimer that receiving an offer can sometimes be down to luck - I know people with breathtaking CVs and experience who have not landed a single SW, and others who applied for the jokes and got amazing offers.

I'm going to break this down into several sections:

- General SW information
- The application
- Experience
- CV
- Online tests
- Interviews

General Spring Week information

Spring Weeks or Insight Weeks are programmes ran by many banks ranging from large to mid cap and consultancy firms aimed to attract first years (or second years on 4-year courses like myself). They give a general insight and a taster of a division (or many divisions) of the firm, and are ultimately used to hire summer interns for the following year. Landing a SW is a great opportunity to network, build your knowledge and CV and to even save yourself the pain of going through another application cycle the following year.

The application and cover letter

The most important tip I can give you on applications is: apply early. And I cannot stress this enough. Most banks, except for Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse, recruit on a rolling basis. Meaning that even if you have a top top application, they won't have anything to offer if they have already filled all their spaces. The earlier you apply, the less the competition. I applied as early as August to some of my SWs (although I'd recommend you wait until late September/early October to ensure you add some stuff to your experience and CV).

Some banks ask for cover letters or application-specific questions. Since you are applying to SWs, you must bare in mind that you are a first year, so they won't be expecting or requiring any technical knowledge. But do read up on the firm, on their values and on recent news they have been involved in. And, most importantly, show why you are interested in joining them (networking? meeting the firm? etc.). Keep it professional: add today's date, the company you are addressing, a greeting and a goodbye.

Something you will hear a lot is that you'll be at an advantage if you go to a target university, ie. Oxbridge, UCL, LSE, Imperial and Warwick. This will certainly play on your favour, but it is not the end of the world if you do not attend one of these. I know people who landed Goldman attending completely non-targets. And there's nothing you can do about which university you attend! So don't dwell over which uni you go to.

Experience

Most of us had no finance-related experience when it came to applying to SWs. I personally only had to say that I was campus ambassador for a couple of start-ups. And that was it.

So no, you do not need 3 internships in a BB bank, a big 4 firm and a quant hedge fund to get them to like you. But you do need to show interest.

Many societies offer positions to 1-years. Be that reps, social media officers or event events officers. Join societies and ask for a position in them. Most presidents will be happy to give you a title such as 'First year rep'. Tell them you can get them a speaker (LinkedIn is a great way to look for them) and they'll make you an Events Officer.

Remember societies aren't corporations. They can give away positions with no problem at all, and firms will appreciate your motivation.

Get involved in projects, find a cool part-time job at a finance-related start-up, even as a campus ambassador.

Make sure your CV isn't empty, but don't fill it up with cr*p either.

You can also search online for small finance-related companies recruiting undergrad students (you'll find most of your friends applying will for some reason by authors at The Market Mogul). Try to get a position with them.

And, importantly too: network, network and network. I attended over 10 networking events in my first 2 months of university. You get to meet people from all the firms you are applying to - which will give you a real sense of the company culture and what it's like to work there. This will come in great for your applications and, if you meet senior people, you could even name-drop during interviews (which I have done). This will also come in handy when applying for summer internships in the future.

CV

I genuinely believe CVs are make-or-breaks went it comes to SW applications (and I might be totally wrong). CVs are what give the best impression of the person you are.

So keep it tidy. Do not put your address, nationality, ethnicity, date of birth, mugshot or unrelated info. Just put your email and phone number.

The CV shouldn't be more that one page.

It should include your A level grades, GCSEs (or equivalent) and UCAS tariff. Include your university and degree, predict yourself a nice 2:1 or a First if you want to (since you won't have any results except for a few courseworks during your application time).

Use bullet points. Keep descriptions short and to the point, make sure they highlight how your experience contributes to the person you are.

Include an additional information section in which you highlight any hobbies, languages you speak and volunteering work you are involved in.

Use headings.

Use a professional and reasonable font size. There are great templates for IB CVs online - use them!

And once again, only one page!

Online tests

There are many many different types of test and the truth is I never really practised for them. I can do numerical tests very well but cannot do many others. You can buy packs online for a substantial amount.

I am not going to go into detail on how to do them because I just got them done. But practise, practise and practise and you should be fine. Be prepared to screw up some and kill others.

Interviews

So you have finally finished your application and sent it off. You've waited for weeks and all of a sudden you receive that long-awaited email - you have an interview invite! This is were most people get nervous.

The best tip I can give you is this one: this is not a summer internship interview, so don't turn it into one. What I mean is that this is a SW and these days most interviews for an insight programme will be completely competency based (but division specific). So they won't ask you go into technicals.

Have your competency questions up to scratch. They are always the same: leadership, teamwork, time-management, ethics, difficult situation in group-work etc.

Which is why it is so important to join societies and participate in a wide range of activities - they will give you something to talk about.

Have an awareness of the markets and current financial news. If you talk about a company which's recent news fascinate you, make sure you know ALL of its recent news (I once mentioned a company in an interview and that same morning they had made a massive announcement I had no idea of. My interviewer was not impressed).

Read up on the company you are interviewing with, on their values and on big projects it has been involved in.

Show passion. Be comfortable. Breathe in and breathe out. Don't interrupt your interviewer. Listen to questions carefully. And remember it is only a SW! So you should remain calm.

Some of you will be doing video interviews. I personally find them awkward and tougher than phone or face-to-face interviews. But speak naturally, show confidence and treat the camera as it if it were another person.

And don't lie in an interview! They'll find out.


This is where the guide concludes. I will be adding bits and pieces as I go - but feel free to drop questions in the thread!

Best of luck,

TCA
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STEMisSuperior.
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Excellent post. Hopefully kids realise what a gold mine this is.
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gr8wizard10
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solid post
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The Clockwork Apple
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(Original post by STEMisSuperior.)
Excellent post. Hopefully kids realise what a gold mine this is.
(Original post by gr8wizard10)
solid post
Thanks
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kangsterf
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This is quality mate, thanks
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simsecon
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Hi! I know it‘s a bit late, but I‘m currently preparing to apply for SW‘s 2019 and I‘ve got a question.

You said that it is important to apply early (Late September/early October). I guess it‘s not possible to add experience to my CV such as having positions in societies or being campus ambassador then. Is it better to wait until I have had the opportunity to get some of these positions or should I just apply without any experience like this? (I‘m going to be a first year student on a 3-year-course)

Thanks in advance!
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Fplmw
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(Original post by simsecon)
Hi! I know it‘s a bit late, but I‘m currently preparing to apply for SW‘s 2019 and I‘ve got a question.

You said that it is important to apply early (Late September/early October). I guess it‘s not possible to add experience to my CV such as having positions in societies or being campus ambassador then. Is it better to wait until I have had the opportunity to get some of these positions or should I just apply without any experience like this? (I‘m going to be a first year student on a 3-year-course)

Thanks in advance!
Hey did you get a response for this? I was wondering the same thing for 2020?
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mavxinferno3
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hi i was applying to a few SW's and they asking me my grades at the uni. since the uni has just started there have been no exams what do i with that
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gr8wizard10
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(Original post by mavxinferno3)
hi i was applying to a few SW's and they asking me my grades at the uni. since the uni has just started there have been no exams what do i with that
write 2:1 or a first, unlikely to review this - they just use the grad scheme templates
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uchiha01
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Will they be most likely to reject you if you have bad a level grades? I got BBC under predicted. and studying an integrated masters chemistry degree at Cardiff
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IBDMaster
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(Original post by uchiha01)
Will they be most likely to reject you if you have bad a level grades? I got BBC under predicted. and studying an integrated masters chemistry degree at Cardiff
The truth is yes. Lots of banks have an A-Level cut-off (usually ABB - AAB) but even meeting this, the competition is so intense that most successful people have AAA+ for front office positions.

I advice you to acquire as much work exp as possible and apply everywhere.

You can always do a masters at a target uni if need be.
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uchiha01
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(Original post by IBDMaster)
The truth is yes. Lots of banks have an A-Level cut-off (usually ABB - AAB) but even meeting this, the competition is so intense that most successful people have AAA+ for front office positions.

I advice you to acquire as much work exp as possible and apply everywhere.

You can always do a masters at a target uni if need be.
Because I'm already doing an integrated master degree, is it still prossible to apply for a post graduate masters afterwards? Will banks still look at my A levels though and I heard that to apply for spring weeks at banks is also really hard, I'm just afraid I might get rejected just because of the grades that I've got given.
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IBDMaster
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No need to worry. Don't forget, theres people at target universities with outstanding academics that don't get a sniff at spring weeks or internships.

If you're incredibly worried, then theres always the option of dropping out and taking a gap year to retake a levels.

Failing that, you've just got to apply. Focus on what sets you apart. Your degree is a good start. Why did you choose that compared to a finance one? How do you think that you will use the skills gained in your degree to succeed in a career in finance.

Target mainly back office positions at banks.

If you do well in your degree, I would personally not do the int. Masters at Cardiff. Move to another uni: I.e. oxford, imperial, ucl to do a masters instead.

Good luck and prep your applications.
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uchiha01
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(Original post by IBDMaster)
No need to worry. Don't forget, theres people at target universities with outstanding academics that don't get a sniff at spring weeks or internships.

If you're incredibly worried, then theres always the option of dropping out and taking a gap year to retake a levels.

Failing that, you've just got to apply. Focus on what sets you apart. Your degree is a good start. Why did you choose that compared to a finance one? How do you think that you will use the skills gained in your degree to succeed in a career in finance.

Target mainly back office positions at banks.

If you do well in your degree, I would personally not do the int. Masters at Cardiff. Move to another uni: I.e. oxford, imperial, ucl to do a masters instead.

Good luck and prep your applications.
The integrated masters and bachelors of the same course are both four years. I was thinking if they are both four years anyway, I should go for the inetgrated masters one since its higher than a bachelors. Can you still apply for a pure masters once you graudate in another uni? I'm not sure how this works to be hones.t Also I heard most firms dont take retakes and I'm almost pretty much settled eith cardiff atm. is cardiff not that well respected? despite it being a russel group uni.
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Shaylendutt
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hi, I got A*AB at a level and am attending Bristol to do economics. do you think I have a chance at spring weeks?
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gr8wizard10
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(Original post by Shaylendutt)
hi, I got A*AB at a level and am attending Bristol to do economics. do you think I have a chance at spring weeks?
yes
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royalty1702
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why are there so many steps for a 1/2 week program?
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LPX8
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Are there any Spring Week or Insight Day programmes also open to second-years on a three year course?
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jsb00
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(Original post by IBDMaster)
The truth is yes. Lots of banks have an A-Level cut-off (usually ABB - AAB) but even meeting this, the competition is so intense that most successful people have AAA+ for front office positions.

I advice you to acquire as much work exp as possible and apply everywhere.

You can always do a masters at a target uni if need be.
True, the highest cut off I've seen is AAB but I do know that a lot of banks take contextual into consideration especially ones partnered with UpReach SEO and Rare
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Shaylendutt
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As AAA is the same ucas points as A*AB, will A*AB put me at a disadvantage and the A* is in maths ?
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