Bank of America Merrill Lynch: Insight Week

The key facts about the investment bank's insight week programme, plus thoughts from a graduate recruiter and a student who took part

Insight from the recruiter

Priya Patel, EMEA Campus Recruiter, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Can you sum up the programme in a sentence?

Our Insight Week gives you insights into and experience of the work and culture of our organisation, and a taste of the various business areas in which internships are available.

Why should students consider this programme?

By taking part in Insight Week during your first year of a three-year degree, or second year of a four-year degree, you have the opportunity to be fast-tracked and earn a place on the following year's summer internship programme.

What are you and other recruiters looking for in applicants to the programme?

We're seeking students who are curious and passionate about the investment banking industry and who want to understand more about the career options available to help them determine their career path.

My experience on the programme

Louise Yang is a fourth year student studying for an MSci Natural Sciences at University College London. She participated in Bank of America Merrill Lynch's 2013 Insight Week, and has since completed a summer internship at the bank and been offered a place on Bank of America Merrill Lynch's graduate programme.

Insight Week is a fantastic opportunity to learn about Bank of America Merrill Lynch and the investment banking world in general.

The online application process was very straightforward, and the competency-based telephone interview that followed didn't require me to have a detailed technical knowledge - our discussion was more about me and my interest in a career in investment banking.

During the week, all participants got a great introduction to the investment banking industry and the available careers. We were given presentations about what each division does and opportunities to shadow people working in two of them, and we also took part in skills workshops and team-building exercises.

Panel discussions were arranged where we could ask seniors questions, and there were plenty of opportunities to network with employees at all levels, including more junior employees who, not too long ago, had been in our position.

Being able to learn about the divisions of a bank and how they fit together is something that I really appreciated. I had initially thought I was more interested in corporate banking but, through doing the programme, I developed an interest in mergers and acquisitions too. The skills workshops gave me really helpful information about how to approach my career.

As part of the skills development module, we had to buddy up and give presentations at the end of our week. We were asked to take a current press article - my group chose a piece on employment from The Economist - and argue the opposite point of view. This was good practice of working as a team on a project, of formulating arguments, and of putting them across in a professional context - all skills that will be useful for us in the future, regardless of whether or not we decide to pursue a career in investment banking.

I really enjoyed meeting new people during the week, from my fellow interns to senior and junior employees of the bank. You can really find out a lot about an organisation and its culture through meeting the people who work there. Everyone was welcoming and friendly, and keen to help us get as much as possible out of the experience.

After the spring week I was fast-tracked to the assessment centre for a summer internship and I found out the next day that I had got a place, which was great as it meant I didn't have to go through all the steps of a full application again. It also meant that on the summer internship I already knew about the different parts of the bank and how they fitted together, which was very helpful.

Quite a lot of the other students on the programme got summer internship places too. We kept in touch throughout the year, and it was great to see each other again a few months later.

If you have any interest in the investment banking world, then I recommend applying for the programme. It's an opportunity to find out if you're suited to a career in this sector, and if it suits you.