Spring Week: Your Guide to Landing Your Dream Internship in 2024
Spring Week will be here before you know it. And it will be that time when applications for internships at coveted financial firms will be processed. Needless to say, it’s very difficult to get into places like Goldman Sachs and other financial firms for a spring internship.
But if you want to be ahead of the curve and increase your likelihood of landing an internship, being prepared for Spring Week is a must. We will talk about what Spring Week is and explain how it all works. At the same time, we’ll also talk about how you can prepare for the tests that will be administered during this all important week.
This is a lengthy guide, but it’s jam-packed with information on how you can be able to prepare for Spring Week tests while increasing your chances of landing an internship. To stay ahead of the curve is one thing, but it’s another if you are not.
Your future in an investment banking career is important. But if you are serious about making the most of it, you want to make sure you have everything in order. Landing an internship at a financial firm with prestige and reputation will certainly get your foot in the door.
With that said, let’s dive right into the nuts and bolts of Spring Week.
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How Difficult is It to Land a Spring Internship?
It’s difficult. If anything, it’s just as difficult to land an internship compared to landing a position in the investment banking industry. It’s super competitive, but there may be something that could put you an edge ahead of the others.
The average investment banking firm will receive well over 6000 applications in a course of a year. However, of those applicants, only 60 will be offered a position. If you do the math, that’s about one per cent of the applicants.
Compare that to being accepted into US Ivy League schools. The acceptance rates are low, you have a better chance of getting into Harvard than landing a position at an investment banking firm (internship or not). Those are numbers to think about.
Keep in mind that these numbers are just focused on the big banks alone. The smaller investment banks may not be as hard to get into, but not easy either. The application numbers can also be greater than positions available, compared to their larger counterparts.
Because of the high volume of applicants, many of the investment bankers will utilize an assessment test to weed out many of these applicants. If you don’t score highly on these tests, your application will never see the light of day (or a pair of eyes). And that can be soul crushing for anyone who is looking to make their mark on the financial investment world.
The scoring cutoff will depend on the investment firm. For example, if you are aiming for a place at Morgan Stanley, you better find a way to start studying up and hammer down. Because they won’t accept anyone that scores less than the 90th percentile.
No, that is not a typo. 90th percentile or above is their requirement. Otherwise, you may want to consider another place. But don’t lose all hope.
If you have yet to take the Spring Week tests, it is important to prepare as soon as you can. If you ace the required tests, there’s a good chance that you’ll land that internship you want so badly. If that’s the main goal going forward, keep reading.
What Tests Apply for Spring Week?
The tests that will apply for the purpose of landing an internship will likely be one of the following:
- Situational Judgement
- Verbal Reasoning
- Logical Reasoning
- Numerical Reasoning
Keep in mind the types of questions will likely differ from each other. This will also depend on who provides the tests. But if you need to know which major tests most of the banks rely on, here they are:
If you need to prepare for these tests, we strongly advise getting a specialized preparation pack. We recommend this one from Job Test Prep that includes tailored prep and practice tests for all the major banks. You’re going to need plenty of time to prepare for the tests if you want to excel.
Because of the complexity of these tests, you want to use the materials as much as you can. The better prepared you are for these tests, the more confident you will be. Especially when you understand exactly what the test is like and how it is structured.
Example of Spring Week Questions
Earlier, we mentioned four of the tests that are commonly used for Spring Week. Below, we will be giving you examples of three of these tests and why they are important. You can expect questions similar to these on the day of the test.
Let’s begin with Situational Judgement:
In this test, you will be evaluated based on your personality and how you can adapt to the work environment you’ll be in. Most of these questions will allow you to rank your answers from best to worst.
For example, a question may explain that you are faced with a situation where you are managing a team of four people. It’s the peak time of year and things have been busy. Because of this, things are getting stressful and the morale of the entire team and each member has taken a hit. You are asked what is the best solution going forward.
From there, you are faced with different options. You choose two of them with the first being what you believe is the best course of action and the second being the worst. This is a test where you really need to think over your options.
Situational judgement is key to an employer discovering how you will perform in a role. Use past experience, best practices, and elimination to make your choices, choosing the ‘lesser of two evils.’
Situational judgement is vital in a high stakes industry like finance. The best way to practise this is through test prep materials and practice questions on Situational Judgement. You will find accurate simulation questions at Job Test Prep.
In an industry like finance, it’s all about the numbers. So it comes as no surprise that numerical reasoning will be one of the tests of focus here. Questions on this test will often involve visual materials like graphs. Those good at number crunching will likely excel, but preparation is the best way to guarantee a good score.
You will need to review the graphs provided in each question and answer the question accordingly. One such example could include the number of patent applications that have come through the European Patent Office. You may be asked to determine which country submitted more or fewer applications over the course of a few years due to its population.
When it comes to numbers, there’s a lot of data. Not a lot of it will be relevant. But you’re going to need the skills to analyse it and land on the right answer.
This is perhaps one of the most difficult of all tests that are taken for landing an internship. But don’t let that intimidate you. You can be a step ahead of it using the test prep materials at Job Test Prep. Practising regularly will keep you sharp and allow you to ace these kinds of tests.
Now, let’s focus on the last test example: the logical reasoning tests.
This test will evaluate your analytical skills. Its intent is to see whether or not you can handle new details for the first time. The logical reasoning tests will consist of illustrated questions that will help you complete a sequence by identifying the next logical step.
Similar symbols and formats will be used repeatedly. This will allow you to identify the patterns quickly. You will notice that certain symbols will be moving in a sequential direction.
This will require focus and logical deduction skills. If you want real, accurate examples of how logical reasoning questions look, then you want to use the test prep materials that focus on this.
When studying, focus on the different kinds of patterns that could come up. If possible, look over them multiple times. Focus on small details, and work through one symbol at a time.
What direction is it going in compared to the next sequence? When and where will a new symbol appear? Paying attention to the little details will help you ace this test in particular.
Tips to Ace The Spring Week Tests
One thing to note is that in the real exam, questions will be timed and pressure will be high. The best way to deal with this is to have done timed practice questions so you are ready for what is coming.
The timing windows to answer each question will get shorter and close on you fast. This is why practising multiple times in the days leading before the test is so vital. The more questions you answer in a shorter period of time, the better.
The whole process can be stressful. But with practice, you’ll be able to handle the pressure. It might be helpful to speak to people who have been through the process. These include your existing connections at banking firms (if any), people who have taken the tests before, or even other students that may be higher ranked than you (2nd or 3rd year). The more information you can gather before taking the test, the more prepared you will be mentally for it.
Alternatively, Job Test Prep’s preparation resources include full guides, hints and tips to put your mind at ease. Practising regularly with real-life simulation questions will keep you a step ahead of the curve. Because you will deal with fewer surprises, be able to answer all the questions quickly, and be familiar with the format for each bank.
Spring Week: What Is It?
Spring weeks are when internships are offered to first-year students that are in a 3-year course. Likewise, these internships are offered to 4-year course students who are in their 2nd year. These internships are offered by larger banks, but smaller and boutique banks will offer them as well.
Most of the internships are located in London and other parts of the UK, but some of them will be outside of the country (i.e — Frankfurt). The type of internships will depend upon the bank. Some of them will be generalist and others will be divisional.
The major difference between the two is generalists deal with numerous divisions while divisional just focuses on one in particular. As an intern, you will have an opportunity to experience working in a big bank environment.
This will also give you a chance to build your network for when you want to further your career in finance. You will know the right kind of people and they will be able to do whatever they can. If you have a bank that you have your sights set on, there may be someone who can write you a letter of recommendation.
Or they may know someone who works in that bank. Also, you don’t want to underestimate the degrees of separation. Someone may know someone who knows someone that works in the bank you want. Apologies for any confusion, but you get the idea of where we’re going with this.
Spring week occurs around April close to the Easter holiday. Typically, it will last around 4 to 7 days. This week is in alignment with the academic year for students.
Around this time in particular, there are tonnes of students that will be applying for internships. So the financial sector will be no different compared to others. The timing couldn’t be better for those looking to break into the financial sector and line up a good job after graduation.
The Spring Week program will last close to a week. Some will be double the length. While Spring Week internships are short on average, it’s just a taste of something that might interest students for the future.
What Makes Spring Week Great?
The great thing about Spring Week is that it can get you in the door for a possible summer internship. Banking internships themselves are highly competitive. Spring Week internships can also get your foot into the door for a lengthier summer internship.
A summer internship is the next brass ring for someone to grab. Especially when they have cleared the barriers of Spring Week. But to land that internship, they have to leverage not only their experiences from Spring Week, but also the network they have started to build.
Summer internships are just as competitive, if not slightly more, than the Spring Week application process. A summer internship at a financial institution, especially a prestigious one, can open the door to a career at the same place or elsewhere.
The chances of landing a summer internship are decreasing by the year. For this reason, the screening process across each bank will get even more stringent. This is one good reason to apply to more than one bank for a summer internship.
If you excel during Spring Week, they might offer you a summer internship right there. This is why preparing properly for Spring Week can be one of the most important things you do.
When Should You Apply For Spring Week?
Spring Week typically happens around the Easter holidays. But as the application process is rigorous and there will be thousands of applications, the sooner you apply the better. The best time to apply for a Spring Insight is in September or October.
While the process differs from bank to bank, the applications are usually reviewed on a rolling basis. Keep in mind that most of the applicants will start submitting them around the end of the year, reaching a peak around November.
Early applicants will usually have their applications in a smaller batch. Thus, you will be dealing with lesser competition. The sooner you apply before November, the better.
Who should apply?
As mentioned before, you can apply if you are a first-year undergraduate student (in a 3rd-year program). If you are in the second year of a 3 year program, you can also apply. If the student is in a 4-year program, they can apply in their 2nd year at the earliest.
For first-year students in 3-year programs, this may depend on your CV. If you have a solid CV, by all means, apply as soon as possible. If it’s not as solid, then you may want to consider waiting a bit longer.
Which banks have Spring Week programmes?
One thing you will notice is that not every Spring Week programme is created equal. Some of them will be longer than others, the application processes may differ and they may have varying requirements.
The Spring Week Prep Pack from Job Test Prep includes tailored preparation material for each main bank. It includes prep materials for:
- Morgan Stanley
- Deutsche Bank
- BNP Paribas
- Credit Suisse
- Rothschild & Co
- Macquarie Group
- Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
You get all the preparation material for all these with just one click. If the bank you are applying to is not there yet, it is likely that the applications haven’t opened yet. But when it does, it will likely be added straight into your pack.
How Can Application Processes Differ?
For example, JP Morgan will have a Spring Insight programme that lasts two weeks. It will focus on three different career paths both in financial and non-financial sectors. The application process will include a CV and Cover letter and two interviews (one on the phone and the other via recorded video).
Goldman Sachs will have a 2 week Spring Insight programme that includes divisional internships. During this time, you will be shadowing an employee while working on a case study. The application process will likely be the same (CV and interviews).
Reviewing the list of each bank and which programme has an application process, what it includes, and beyond will be important. Furthermore, you need to also take your test score into consideration. Testing to land the perfect Spring Week opportunity will be something that you need to do even before applying.
As mentioned before, the higher the score, the better your chances. And remember, some of these programmes recommend that you score highly on these tests. The more prestigious the institution, the higher the minimum (think Morgan Stanley and the 90th percentile minimum).
How To Prepare For Spring Week Tests?
While the test itself for Spring Week will be daunting because of what it entails, it is important for you to practise as often as possible. Let’s provide you with the following tips:
Put Together a List of Banks You Want to Apply For
Explore which banks have a programme that you are interested in. Also, find out their minimum test scores. You will be able to eliminate them once the tests are complete and you have the final results.
Speak to People Who Have Done the Tests
This will give you a good insight on what to expect including additional tips on how to prepare for them.
Use the Practice Tests and Prep Materials
Finally, using the prep materials and practice tests regularly is a must. Don’t just do one practice test once and call it good.
Spending hours preparing for the tests will keep you ahead of the curve and help you stand out amongst the competition when your application is being considered for a Spring week programme. You will find all the prep materials you need here.
In conclusion, if you want to make the most out of your Spring Week and land the opportunities you want, now is your chance to be prepared. Check out the test prep materials from Job Test Prep for Numerical Reasoning, Situational Judgement, and other tests that are required for Spring Week now.
Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.