Alejandra's tips for Investment Banking internship success

29 October 2018

Alejandra Yanes, a fourth year BSc International Management student, discusses her journey gaining a summer internship at The Royal Bank of Canada in London.

My name is Alejandra and I’m currently in my fourth year of the BSc International Management programme at WBS. During the summer, I completed a nine-week investment banking (IB) summer internship at The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) which took place in the heart of London.

Back in my second year I was looking into summer opportunities at different banks and I not only found that in most cases they are not available to second year students on a four-year programme, but also that it's highly recommended to do a spring insight before applying to the summer internship. For those reasons, I decided to first apply to insight programmes and I was accepted onto one at RBC. After completing the programme, I was then fast-tracked in the summer internship recruitment process.

To prepare for the internship assessment centre, I made sure I understood all the basic financial concepts and what was happening in the markets. Then, I had a deeper look into financial valuation methodologies as well as M&A, LBOs, or MBOs models. When I was confident about this, I approached friends or people via LinkedIn who had been successful in their respective assessment centres for tips and questions they had been asked. Lastly, I prepared a pitch for an asset management company which we had to deliver in one of the interviews.

The internship was truly outstanding. We had a week and a half of training which was perfect to catch up on our accounting skills and get to know the other IB interns. Moreover, the bank was extremely generous with us, providing snacks and lunches during the training week, as well as smartphones, and organising a number of fun and original social events with the interns of other departments. Some of the social events included welcome drinks, a treasure hunt around London, an acting class in The Old Vic theatre and a leaving breakfast.

Alejandra in London

Alejandra alongside other Investment Banking interns at RBC

I learnt so many fascinating things next to not only outstanding professionals, but also warm-hearted individuals. I was allocated to the FIG team which covers banks, insurance companies, asset managers and wealth managers predominantly. In all honestly, it was very intense and I worked long hours but it was all worth it. I felt deeply immersed in the team and was given considerable responsibility and exposure. Some of my tasks included: financial modelling, profiling, benchmarking, or working on books. I also had the great opportunity to network with other IB teams like infrastructure, M&A, ECM and leverage finance.

I would definitely recommend an internship. It’s not only a fantastic opportunity to increase your knowledge and skills, but is also a way of networking with incredible professionals who can guide you in your career path. Altogether, the internship prepares you for life after graduation. I believe my passion for finance has been reinforced through the modules I have taken at WBS and they definitely helped me during the internship. I also completed an exchange year in Canada as part of my degree, and have been able to draw upon what I learned there. I believe that in order to find a job you like, you must first try as many things as possible. I decided to try investment banking first as it gives you an invaluable global perspective, which is complemented with my International Management degree and my year abroad.

My top tips for students looking to pursue a career in investment banking are:

  • Get involved with societies and sport clubs at University - there are numerous finance societies that you can join
  • Stay up to date with financial markets - it shows that you are passionate about the industry
  • Be organised and hard working - it is never too early to start thinking about placement opportunities 
  • Take advantage of all the resources available at the University - WBS CareersPlus workshops, company networking sessions and careers fairs at the Business School are key
  • It’s advantageous to have some work experience when applying - if you are unable to achieve a longer summer placement straight away then look for shorter work experience to build your CV

How can Warwick Business School help you achieve your career aspirations? Find out more about Alejandra's course, BSc International Management here.