What is an Investment Banking Internship?
An investment banking internship typically entails a ten-week paid placement and is a crucial step in securing a full-time role within the investment banking industry. Banks offer internships across a variety of their divisions, including global markets, mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, structured finance, and leveraged finance. Interns may be assigned to a specific sector team, such as Power & Utilities or Metals & Mining, depending on the bank’s front office structure.
Who Can Apply for an Internship?
In short, any undergraduate or postgraduate student with an interest in finance can apply for an internship. Bank internship programs typically consider candidates in their penultimate year of study who can join the bank as full-time employees after graduation. Although bank hiring has previously leaned towards students with a STEM background, there is no requirement regarding the type of university degree. Some factors that can give candidates an advantage include relevant work experience, industry knowledge, and contacts in the banking sector. Although technical knowledge is not always a prerequisite since most banks offer a training program, a basic understanding of financial statements and accounting can definitely help. Commercial awareness is also important to illustrate a fundamental interest in the financial industry.
Key Learning Points
- Investment banking interns work closely with analysts and associates on a variety of tasks, including pitchbooks, financial models, and industry research
- An internship is an opportunity to learn as much as it is to support colleagues
- No work day is the same and varies depending on whether the team is originating or executing a deal.
- Interns in investment banking work long hours and can often average anywhere between 70-80 working hours per week.
What Does An Investment Banking Intern Do?
An investment banking intern’s main job is to support analysts and associates in putting together marketing materials and conducting company and industry research. They may also be tasked with an intern-specific project that might revolve around the team’s business needs. A degree of financial analysis and modeling may also be involved, depending on the type of work assigned. A week of training usually precedes the beginning of work to ensure technical proficiency.
Typical Day in the Life of an Investment Banking Intern
A typical day-to-day may involve the following:
09:00 am – Arrive at the office and check emails for any new assignments or comments from senior colleagues on previous work submitted. You may be asked to prepare an internal market update newsletter depending on your sector or product team. Alternatively, you may be asked to join a morning meeting where in-house economists or rates experts give their views on recent macroeconomic developments such as interest rate changes or newly released jobs data.
10:00 am – Internal team meetings usually take place in the mornings, which could involve discussing a potential pitch, agreeing on a deck structure for an upcoming client meeting, or reviewing a pipeline of client opportunities. As an intern, it is unlikely that you will actively participate in any meetings – it is best to take notes for your own learning in case anyone asks for the minutes.
11:00 am – The analyst who you are working with may assign you to a new project, explaining the background of a particular deal and the timing of the client pitch. As an intern, your first task here will usually entail compiling a Public Information Book (PIB), which contains information from the company’s latest annual report, equity research reports, sector updates, news articles, and credit rating agency reports. By saving the PIB into the relevant project drive, it will be easier for team members to access this information without having to search online.
12:30 pm – Head out with the other interns in your team to pick up lunch to eat back in the office. It is common for most bankers to eat lunch at their desks, as they may be working on a project with a tight deadline, or they may have a busy work schedule with back-to-back client calls.
01:00 pm – The analyst you are working with sends you a ‘shell’ of a pitchbook, which sets up the page structure of the presentation with comment boxes showing what the slides need to be filled with (see example below). Interns can be tasked with the first iteration of selected slides before this is reviewed and later polished by other team members.
03:00 pm – There are likely to be various team introduction talks and events throughout the internship to introduce interns to the various roles and functions within the bank. For example, the Leveraged Finance or Structured Finance team might run an introductory session for interns, explaining their day-to-day responsibilities, the skills required, how they work with other teams, and how they generate fees.
04:00 pm – With a few hours gone by since your initial assignment from the analyst in your team, you have completed the first draft of the selected slides. You will need to spend some time double-checking that all the figures are correct, the information is up-to-date, and the slide is perfectly formatted and aligned. A top tip is to save Excel and PDF source back-ups as you work on the deck so that you can easily point the analyst to any sources when asked where you found the information.
05:00 pm – After submitting your work to the analyst, you pick up on the long-term intern project assigned to you at the beginning of your internship. For example, this could involve creating a precedent transactions database, putting together a research report on the latest ESG trends for your team’s sector, or automating any Excel files using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA).
07:30 pm – You order dinner at your desk through a delivery service. Interns typically receive a £20-25 dinner allowance. In order to expense dinner, it’s necessary to work until 9:00-10:00 pm, depending on the bank.
08:00 pm – The analyst sends their comments on your initial draft of the pitchbook slides. These tend to focus on the content and formatting of the slides, and you may be asked to add to or remove parts of the slide. There may be some adjustments needed in the financials, such as including adjusted EBITDA, which removes one-time, irregular, and non-recurring items from EBITDA. If there are any charts involved, there could be some adjustments needed to the axis scale and labeling. The analyst may also ask you to ensure formatting consistency across the slides, such as footnote placement and the same font and color scheme used throughout.
10:00 pm – Once the latest comments have been implemented, you send the latest draft back to the Analyst for their review. Now is a good time to catch up on any administrative task you were due to complete earlier in the day, such as mandatory training. You may also want to practice your technical skills, such as financial modeling and valuation, using an online learning platform such as Financial Edge Training.
12:00 am – The analyst sends a new version of the deck with some minor changes included and gives their sign-off for you to circulate this to the internal team. This will likely be reviewed in the morning by senior colleagues as part of the next round of comments.
01:00 am – After checking if there are any final things you can do to help, you leave the office and head back home in a taxi, which can be expensed to the company.
Converting Your Internship to a Full-Time Offer
In order to increase your chances of converting your internship into a full-time offer, network as much as possible. When deciding whom to award full-time positions, line managers often ask for feedback on interns from a range of team members. Coffee chats, work shadowing, and introductory calls will all increase the likelihood of you being recognized as proactive, which will reflect positively in your feedback. Brushing up on your technical skills in your free time via online courses is also well regarded, and will set you apart from other candidates. Lastly, ensure that you triple-check all of your work and avoid mistakes. Attention to detail is one of the most important attributes of an investment banker.
The average salary for investment banking interns in London is £54,435 per year, according to Glassdoor. For investment banking interns in New York, the average salary is the US $85,195 per year, according to Glassdoor. The salary will be prorated across the internship period and paid in monthly installments.
Completing a summer internship is a crucial step in securing a full-time role within the investment banking industry. Internship programs typically target penultimate-year undergraduates with an interest in finance. An internship will involve long hours, a fast-paced environment, and high standards with acute attention to detail. The internship will offer an insight into life as a junior analyst in a bank and will give interns the opportunity to learn more about the industry and learn from experts in the field. No day as an investment banking intern is the same, and you can expect a range of tasks from creating pitch books to industry research and financial modeling. Networking and high-quality work outputs will help to maximize the chance that you’ll receive the offer of a full-time position.
Investment Banking Internship Tips & Interview Questions
If you’re looking for investment banking internship tips & interview questions download our Excel file.