Mark Bannister likes heavy metal and basketball. He spent last summer working in an ice cream shop in Massachusetts. However, he also likes reading the financial news and spent a week over Easter at UBS, gaining an insight into the world of investment banking.
"I enjoy reading the business pages in newspapers like The Times and the name UBS had embedded itself in my psyche somehow. So I decided to look them up and saw details of their Insights programme on their website."
On the programme participants attended seminars, workshops, presentations and networking events relating to a number of the bank's major departments (including IBD, sales and trading, IT, finance and technology). But the highlight for Mark was shadowing an M&A managing director.
"Seeing the team in action has definitely excited me. I was able to see the real faces behind the operation, instead of getting information by reading the press or doing other research. To actually meet the people who do the work really made a difference and made me more resolute in my approach to getting into M&A as a full time career. I now feel I understand far more about what that line of work is about. The exciting part for me is that you're going to be getting some real feedback on your own performance and high-level recognition of your hard work. The first big deal the managing director worked on was featured in the Financial Times the following day: he said that it's very satisfying to see your hard work actually pay off and make a real impact in the financial world."
During the week all the participants take a numeracy test: those who pass are invited back at the end of week to an assessment centre for a 2011 summer internship at the bank. Having won an internship, Mark is already looking forward to going back to UBS next year and continuing his career at the firm when he graduates.
"I'm definitely hoping that I will get offered a graduate position at the end of the summer internship because I thought the ethos of the company was so pleasant and supportive. You hear a lot of stories about banks with a backbiting, competitive culture, but at UBS I felt that everyone was looking out for each other. I hope to build a career with UBS. I'd love to start in London and hopefully move across to the New York offices. I had a chance to ask employees about that while I was there and they said that it's fairly easy to relocate to other offices if you want.
And Mark's advice to any first years thinking of starting a career in finance?
"I've been telling anyone who's even only slightly interested in investment banking that they should definitely try to go on the UBS Insights week. I'm on the committee of Alpha Kappa Psi, an American business fraternity with a chapter in Manchester. As soon as I came back from UBS I told our first year members that they should definitely apply, even if they are only slightly interested in investment banking at the moment. Starting a career in finance is a hard thing to do and the chance to do something relevant in your first year is really appealing. It's a great way to find out more about all the departments within a bank."
UBS Insights Programme
When is the 2010 Insights week?
Two Insights weeks will be taking place this year: 22nd - 26th March and 12th - 16th April
How many spaces are there on the programme?
Up to one hundred in total - 50 per intake
Do I get to choose the department in which I do the work shadowing?
You will be able to make a first and second choice. UBS endeavours to give all Insights delegates their first choice of work shadowing
Can I apply if I'm not a first year undergraduate?
The programme is open to anyone who is graduating in 2012
What is the application process for the Insights scheme?