I did an internship at Macquarie Capital, the investment banking arm of Macquarie in the summer of 2011. As I went to university in Germany, moving to London for a summer internship and getting to know the banking world was very exciting. After my internship I was offered a full-time position at Macquarie Capital but eventually ended up joining Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA), the private equity division, full-time in August 2012. I now work in a great company and with amazing people, which would not have been possible without my internship.
Why did you choose to do an internship?
The main reason is because I wanted to get to know the industry. By the time I did my internship at Macquarie, I had already done internships in other sectors, like audit and accounting, but decided that I wanted to see what it is like to work in banking.
How did it tie in with your overall career plans?
Finance and banking in particular have always been areas of interest for me so I decided it made sense to gain work experience in that field. Over the course of the internship I realised that I wanted to stay in the industry full-time. Even though I work in a different division now, my internship introduced me to a great company in a great sector and therefore it probably has been one of the most important steps in my still young career.
What was the application process like – any advice?
The application process in banking is pretty standardised across the different employers. The first step is to submit your application online and do numerical and/or logical tests. After that comes usually a telephone interview and if that is successful a round of final interviews takes place.
The first important tip is to get the application documents bulletproof. This sounds basic, but do some research on how to format a CV and how to write a cover letter. No one will look at an application which is in a bad format. When it comes to interviews, also be prepared. No one expects an applicant to know everything, but it is important that he or she has solid fundamental knowledge of finance and, more importantly, shows the willingness and commitment to learn as much as possible in the 8–10 weeks of the internship.
What attracted you to your role?
In addition to my general interest in finance, I’ve always wanted to work in a challenging and competitive environment. Doing exactly the same thing every day in an average 9-5 job would be horrible. After my interviews at Macquarie, I realised that I would work together with people that are not only very committed and ambitious but also genuinely nice and great to be around. I therefore was very glad when I got the offer for my summer internship.
What were your main duties?
As an intern, your main duty is to make life for the rest of the team easier. I worked together with the analysts and associates on their presentations, but also had regular contact with more senior people in the team.
Over time I was given more responsibilities together with my own smaller projects. A lot of the work is working on company and industry research as well as preparing financial valuations of other companies.
What were the most important things you learnt from the internship?
A very important thing I picked up during the internship is to be very focused on detail and work efficiently. In an industry where hours can be long, it is important to not waste time on work that is not necessary and to focus on getting urgent work done and to get it done without mistakes. Everyone can make a mistake, but from my experience it is better to spend 10-20% more time on something of importance to double-check everything and get it as correct as possible.
Do you have any advice for someone seeking an internship?
First of all, figure out what industry is of interest to you and then figure out how to get work experience in the fields that you consider interesting. Second, get your application documents right. Third, be prepared for interviews. Know what you’re talking about and show interest and commitment. Last but not least, remember to not be afraid of the competition but also don’t be arrogant. If you’re nice and people like to have you around, your chances of getting a position will be much higher.