Luisa is a 22 year-old undergraduate student of business administration at Icade in Madrid. She speaks Spanish, Catalan and English fluently and German to an intermediate level.
Her course runs for five years and she is concurrently studying for a degree in information technology engineering at a Spanish national distance learning university.
"This was my first experience of investment banking. I've always been interested in banking and finance, and after the summer I'm still very interested.
To get onto the internship I had a total of three interviews. The first was conducted in English and was about my life, how I study and why I'm doing an extra degree and learning French and German.
The second, in Spanish was friendly and with someone who had also been a student at Icade. I was asked what I knew about investment banking. The final interview was again in Spanish, with a vice-president from Madrid, and was tough.
He asked some testing technical and factual questions, such as the price of shares in Terra Networks. I was also expected to solve mathematical problems without having a chance to write things down.
When I was offered a place, I was sent details of flats in London.
They were relatively expensive, and I managed to find an alternative room in the London School of Economics over the summer, which was conveniently close to London Bridge and Canary Wharf.
I worked mainly in three divisions: FIG (Financial Institutions Groups), where I helped a Spanish team to prepare several client presentations Telecommunications, where I helped with two projects, one about e-commerce, the other about dealing with a high level of debt and the M&A Advisory Group.
This last group begins working on a project when a client has decided to merge or to acquire other businesses. I was involved in a project concerning a Spanish telecommunications server, a French utilities company and the German automotive sector.
The work was hard and continuous. I worked longer hours than I'd thought I would: almost all the week and the weekends. As a deadline approached, I went home at 4am and came in at 10am and at the weekend.
This didn't put me off banking as I really enjoyed the work. I learned a lot about business and was working with intelligent people who were willing to explain new things and to help me to work with difficult ideas.
However, mixed with the work there was some play. The bank organised social events: we were taken to horse races, there was a welcome party, and there were conferences with senior members of the firm.
My advice to other students about internship is - do it. It is the best way to get to know the investment banking industry and you also get to know about individual sectors.
When applying as an undergraduate, you have to choose a particular sector and this makes that decision easier.
What was best about being an intern? The people. When you arrive you don't know anything, but everyone's really helpful. The Spanish people were very welcoming and took me out and to dinner.
They really make you feel at home, which is important because of the long hours."
Schroder Salomon Smith Barney has offered Luisa a full-time graduate position.