Morgan Stanley, along with many other leading investment banks, runs a short spring vacation work experience programme especially for first year students (and second year students on four year courses) who are considering a career in banking. The Spring Insight programme allows participants to learn about investment banking and experience working life at Morgan Stanley. Taking part on an investment bank’s spring insight programme can be a great stepping stone into a longer internship in the summer of your second year, which in turn can often lead to an offer of a graduate role.
To find out more about Morgan Stanley’s programme, we spoke to five students who took part last spring. We caught up with them at the beginning and end of the week to hear what they hoped to get out of the programme, and how things turned out.
BSc Geography with Economics, London School of Economics
“I was worried that everyone would know more than me”
I’m not sure yet exactly what I want to do when I graduate, so have applied to a few different first year programmes. What attracted me to this one was that you can find out about all of the bank’s different divisions rather than having to pick just one. I was worried yesterday that everyone else would know what they wanted to do when they graduated and would know more about the banking industry than me, so I’d feel intimidated. But the other students I’ve met so far are really friendly, and the Morgan Stanley people running the programme have made us all feel comfortable and welcome here.
I found preparing for the group presentation exercise we had to do a bit nerve-racking. We decided to do a stock pitch on EasyJet, explaining why its shares would be a good investment, and I’d never done anything like that before. But we came together as a team, and everyone contributed something. Also, a research analyst who works on the airline industry spent some time with us explaining a few things and giving us ideas, which I found really beneficial. From the experience, I’ve learnt the importance of building personal relationships, not being afraid to ask questions, and not to doubt myself.
BA Economics, Durham University
“I’ve learnt a huge amount”
In my first week at university, a careers adviser suggested we should start planning our careers as soon as we can because it becomes harder the longer you leave it. I went to some Morgan Stanley campus events and found them very informative, so decided to apply for the Morgan Stanley Spring Insight programme to learn more about the industry, find out what’s available, and get some work experience. I think I’ll find out a lot from shadowing people in different departments and the skills workshops will be useful too.
All the sessions have been interesting and relevant. I’ve learnt a huge amount about the structure of the bank and what people actually do. The range of roles and career opportunities is absolutely huge. I’ve also found out about the different skills you need to work in different areas of the bank and got an insight into what it’s really like to work here. The people here have tried to challenge us during the activities we’ve done over the week, but have made sure we’ve all had a good time too.
MEng Chemical Engineering, University College London
“I’m looking forward to finding out more about the different roles”
I’m particularly looking forward to finding out more about the different roles in banking and the kind of people who work here. I want to find out where I could fit in. At the moment, I’m very interested in Sales & Trading – I have a numerical academic background and I like the sound of being in a fast-paced environment. But I’m staying open-minded – I think at this stage of my life I have to be flexible. Lots of people have told me that while I’m here I should be like a sponge – you’ve got to take in everything!
I’ve really enjoyed the work shadowing we’ve done – we’ve had hands-on experience of what a job here actually involves. Someone might say, “Wayne Rooney scored an amazing goal by running down the wing and hitting it into the back of the net”, but it’s when you actually see it happen that you understand it, and it’s the same with the work in banking. I still want to go into Sales & Trading, but spending time in Investment Banking gave me a difficult dilemma because I feel I suit both divisions. I’m hoping a summer internship at Morgan Stanley next year will help me confirm my decision.
MEng Civil Engineering, Imperial College London
“There’s certainly a buzz here”
I’d like to find out more about what working in investment banking is really like. I think actually being on the trading floor or in bankers’ offices will help me to do so – there’s certainly a buzz here that you don’t get at an external networking event. Coming into the building in Canary Wharf this morning was a bit intimidating at first, but the welcome events have put the whole group at ease and now everyone’s talking to each other and seems happy. We’ve already had an open question and answer session with analysts and a managing director, which has given us a sense of Morgan Stanley’s culture.
You hear a lot about investment banking in the media and from other students, so it was good to meet people here and get a real feel for what the industry is like. Everybody has been very down-to- earth, approachable and willing to answer any questions we have. I’ve also seen how much I’d learn working here – people have spent time teaching me things even when they were busy. I feel a role here would be another step up in terms of challenges and opportunities from studying at university, a step I think I’d enjoy.
BA Mathematics, University of Oxford
“Putting why I wanted to go into finance into words was hard work but useful”
Applying to the programme was a lot of work, especially alongside my degree. But if you want to go into banking you have to learn to juggle lots of different things. Putting why I wanted to go into finance into words on the application was hard work but useful as it made me start reading the Financial Times and the Economist and really think about what kind of finance work I want to do. Now I’m here, I’m looking forward to talking to people about their jobs – you can read descriptions of roles online, but they can’t tell you as much as a conversation with someone.
This week has made me want to work in banking even more. I love the proactive culture – you’re always on the go. One of the people who inspired me to apply here most was an analyst I met in Equity Research who works on the luxury goods sector and gets to meet the chief executives of all the major companies in this area. Everybody else was very helpful too. I sent out a few thank-you emails today and lots of people said I could email them again if I had any questions or if I wanted any advice when applying for a summer internship or a graduate job here.