January 13 2017

Get ahead of the game: why Spring Week internships are worth it

“Spring Week”, also known as “Spring Insight Week”, refer to internship programmes for first year students in a 3-year degree or second year in a 4-year degree.  All bulge bracket banks have these programmes and their aim is to give students an insight into the investment banking industry via seminars, work shadowing and other interactive activities and networking events. They also act as a feeder for longer summer internships in the penultimate year.

Spring Weeks normally take place doing the Easter holidays and last for a week, apart from Goldman Sachs which lasts two weeks.  Some Spring weeks can be general and others can be division specific. For example, I spent mine at Goldman Sachs, in their Operations division in London.  The interview process differs between banks but all are likely to involve an initial online application form followed by some online tests, then an interview.

If you are starting University and have even the mildest interest in working in financial services, I highly recommend taking part in a Spring week as the best way to make up your mind. During my Spring week, I gained exposure to a variety of people in a variety of teams within the Operations division. I had the opportunity to experience a typical working week (yes, this involves early mornings!) and to spend time with fellow students who share the same interest and keenness. Further, my understanding of both the structure and roles found within the investment bank vastly improved. Most importantly, I experienced first-hand the culture of the bank, which can really only be done truly by working in the office and interacting with current employees.

Here are the top things I took away from my Spring week:

  1. Networking is key

Above everything else, I learnt that accumulating a cache of contacts helps pave the way for building a successful career. Attend as many networking events as you never know who you may meet. Career fairs are a great way to gain exposure to companies you may not have thought offered internships or learn about a sector you may not have considered. In Spring Week, these events help you discover the different teams across the different divisions. I had a friend who got her summer internship interview in a different division, as she had met and established a great relationship with an MD that offered her an interview.

  1. They really mean it when they say you don’t have to be doing a finance-related degree!

I study Anthropology so I had initial doubts about whether it was even worth considering finance. But Goldman Sachs and many other banks are eager to recruit from non-financial backgrounds as well as promoting diversity. So don’t worry if you are surrounded by people studying economics, everyone is assumed to know nothing and learn from scratch. In fact, I interned with a lot of people who did Engineering and language degrees.

  1. Make friends with your peers

Spring Week is meant to be fun as well as informative. I interned with so many interesting people from all over the UK and Europe. These people will be your equals in the future, no matter where you end up! Spring Week is one the best ways to establish a network of future professionals you might one day end up working with. In fact, I met many employees at Goldman Sachs who had met during their Spring Week and continued to build on their relationship. They still continue to support each other in their respective roles, as well as meet up for drinks after work. Ever since my Spring Week, I have met up with my fellow interns – not only is it great fun to meet up and banter, but by keeping in touch, you can help each out for any other future prospects.

On a final note, Spring Weeks are definitely something worth applying for. They are an effective way of being fast tracked to summer internships and getting your foot in a major investment bank.

mj copy

Mary Malubay

Events Manager 2016/17

Durham University Women in Business