Spring forward

Wondering what to expect from your Easter scheme at an investment bank? Want to find out more about banking? Five of last year's participants in Morgan Stanley's Spring Insight programme told us how they found spending a week with the bank.
Investment banking
Spring weeks

Harmeet Grewal

University: Oxford

Subject: Economics and Management

Clubs and societies: Investment and Finance society, tennis and cricket

I found out about Spring Insight through a number of finance events I attended at university. Spring Insight is primarily focused on students who know nothing or very little about investment banking, and so none of the tasks they set us required prior knowledge.

I was interested in sales and trading before coming to Morgan Stanley, though hadn't made a final decision about what I wanted to go into. Sales and trading seemed quite interesting, sounded exciting and fast paced and I quite like the markets. During Spring Insight I found out that it was what I wanted to do.

We got to play a simulation trading game designed by Morgan Stanley, which was really good. It took about two or three hours and it was just like real life trading. There were news bulletins on a big screen and you had a set of stocks on a computer and had to decide how and where you invested your money. It was really fun.

We also did a pitch exercise which didn't have to be for anything complicated, but just something that you wanted to talk about to practice your presentation skills.

We had quite a lot of presentations to do throughout the week. I generally quite like talking and giving presentations so maybe my enthusiasm and the work I put in to prepare for them helped me to stand out - and get my place on the summer internship programme.

The fast-track into a summer internship programme is a particular advantage of Spring Insight. I think I was successful because of my awareness of what was going on in the markets and my interest when I was talking about them in my presentations. You could tell who was really excited by things like price changes and who wasn't - and it makes a big difference. I'm already excited about next summer, where I'll get to shadow more people. I'm eager to see a bit more of working life at Morgan Stanley.

Daniel Foy

University: LSE

Subject: Economics

Clubs and societies: Finance society and football

One of my main reasons for attending Spring Insight was Morgan Stanley's reputation and its stability as a financial services firm. Given all that has happened since the financial crisis, these are both important factors to consider when choosing a workplace. I had a lot of fun in my first year of university but I also attended careers events such as fairs and found out about how the City works. After a while, I began to start reading books specifically about sales and trading. I found that it was something that naturally appealed to me.

In preparation for the Spring Insight interview, I read newspapers - The Gateway and The Financial Times were particularly helpful. I made sure I was up-to-date with everything that was going on in the City and that I formed my own opinions on current issues. I would look at things like the prices of oil and gold because I was interested in going into trading. Preparation is key if you want to stand out from everyone else. However, you do need to have a genuine interest in the City and it's definitely possible to "try too hard" - you should just be yourself. I also wanted to know more about Morgan Stanley and what they could offer me and treated the interview process as a dialogue.

Spring Insight was a string of challenges. One day, they sprung a presentation topic on us that we had to prepare for the next day. We managed to form groups quickly and co-operated to get the job done in time. Some of the presentations were given to associates and senior management, which was pretty daunting. Once we'd finished, they fired questions at us and we had to think on our feet to give good answers quickly.

I can really see myself working at Morgan Stanley in the future and I'm hoping to gain a lot from the summer internship next year. Spring Insight gave me a taste of what Morgan Stanley is like - I had the time of my life and made some great friends. But my main aim is to get a job out of it and expand my passion for financial markets.

Hannah Harrison

University: York

Subject: History of Economics

Clubs and Societies: Investment and Finance society and hockey

I had been interested in doing an internship in my first year for quite some time before Spring Insight. While I was on my gap year, I did a six month internship at a professional services firm and I knew that Spring Insight would be a good way for me to get my foot in the door with investment banking.

I would really like to start my career in research because it's quite similar to the work I do for my degree. In history you study an era, have a question and then try and find out whether your hypothesis is right or wrong. In investment banking, you might be looking at a company and trying to find out whether it is over-valued or under-valued. It's all about getting as much information as possible, doing your research, coming to a conclusion and being persuasive about your views.

I didn't know that much about all the different departments that exist in an investment bank. What was really good about Spring Insight was getting a run down of them all. We were given a talk by the head of research, who also studied history at university. The way he was talking about the work just made me completely fall in love with it. Before that, I was thinking about a few other departments, but after his presentation I decided I definitely wanted to go into research.

I think the hardest aspects of Spring Insight were taking on all the information and pushing myself to be confident and talk to people. By the end of the week I found I had relaxed and become more comfortable. I think it was because I thought about what people were saying and asked questions about the things that genuinely intrigued me.

My tip to applicants would be to get your application in early. Once you have your interview confirmed you have to do your homework, prepare and be confident. I was talkative and had an opinion . I think my interviewer was impressed by that.

Hugh Taylor

University: Bristol

Subject: Economics

Clubs and societies: Economics society

Since attending Spring Insight I've been interested in private wealth management. I knew a little about trading and investment banking but nothing about private wealth management or equity research, which was the other department I applied for. But there were cultural aspects of these departments, which appealed to me and so I applied.

In general, I found that the culture at Morgan Stanley was far more supportive than I thought it was going to be. During the week we were given several presentations and senior people would come and speak to us, people who you'd think would have potentially more important things to do. Some of the junior employees said that occasionally they have meetings with managing directors just to ask for advice. It seems there's easy access to people higher up.

I think the most challenging thing for me was the presentations. I'm not a great public speaker, so I found these tasks quite difficult personally as they're something I'd never had to do before. But I learnt a great deal and felt much more confident going into the interviews for the fast track scheme, not only because I had improved my presentation skills but also because I knew the people interviewing me.

To get a summer internship, I'd say it's best to apply early and not just to one bank. You should also realise that there is a bit of luck involved with interviews, if you secure one. It can depend on who you meet. So don't get disheartened if you get rejected and your friend gets accepted - they might have just clicked with the person who interviewed them. So get your applications in and see what happens!

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