Nadia Capy-Osgood, a seasoned graduate recruiter who’s worked at various investment banks, has agreed to answer some of your questions on getting into investment banking. If you have a question for Nadia, add it to the bottom of this article or email us at Editor@eFinancialCareers.com (with "Question for Nadia" in the headline).
This week, Nadia answers some questions from someone who doesn't have a summer internship in an investment bank and is wondering where to go from here.
QUESTION: Companies just take my cv and never get back to me. What else could I do over the summer to make my application strong? Many thanks!
Hello there. I assume you are a penultimate student, from a good university, with at least 1A grade and 2B grade A-Levels pref including maths (or equivalent)? For a summer intern these are the prerequisite criteria. If you don't have the above and are applying for a finance summer internship then you are likely to be rejected. If you have the above, the recruiter will next look at any specific additonal skills you have such as an additional language, achievements such as sporting, academic or other extra curricular. You will be scored for all of the above. Excellent A-Level grades, languages and multiple extracurricular achievements are areas where the strongest candidate scores start to soar.
If you are average in the above, the recruiter will then use the competency questions and how you answer them as deciders. Your competency answers - how you approach them, how much research, drive, focus and understanding you portray, are key.
QUESTION: As I have a summer doing nothing, would you say taking a financial modelling class would be beneficial in terms of keeping me active and showing that I'm taking initiative?
I would only do a financial modelling class if a) you are sure you want to work in an area where these skills are required and b) you don't currently have much knowledge in this area. It will help your cv to look more favourable, but more importantly, if you don't have much knowledge in this area, it will help you to understand if it really interests you. You should certainly NOT spend the summer doing nothing. I would really try to think about something you can do where you can add value somewhere. A charity project, set up an initiative on your own or with a friend to develop your entrepreneurial skills.
QUESTION: Also, my extra curriculars are very average. Is it too late to make a difference and improve on these?
Nadia says: No it is never too late!!!! There are lots of opportunities out there. I would brain storm with friends to come up with a plan. Even if its a cycle journey around Europe to raise money - or taking part in another charitable project. Embrace something that is close to your heart where you will make a difference. Average and the city don't go together. It is hunger, drive, determination and ENTHUSIASM that will get you ahead and onto a great graduate programme.
Nadia Capy is a project manager for Graduate Solutions, an independent firm which operates graduate recruitment programmes for different firms in the City.