How to secure springs and internships – advice from current students – OurWarwick

How to secure springs and internships – advice from current students

Something recently launched and worth checking out is the Department of Economics’ student videos on careers. Careers have always been a strong focus for Warwick Economics students and although this can sometimes feel overwhelming, seeking careers so early on can be a game-changer in finding what you thrive on and in opening the greatest number of doors in the future. You can access this resource if you are a current Warwick student through this link.

One particular part of the new resource I found most useful is the student videos > spring videos page. Undoubtedly, some of the best advice I got regarding spring weeks and internship applications was from fellow students. The power of harnessing advice from other students at Warwick, whether through societies or your classmates is an invaluable deposit of knowledge to tap into. Having been fortunate enough to be involved in the Warwick Finance Societies for the last three years, it has been fulfilling to see the ‘generations’ of cohorts pay it forward each year.

Here are two key highlights I enjoyed most from the videos listed on the spring videos page:

[1] Record yourself ahead of video interviews and take psychometric test preparation seriously.

I really wish I heard this advice when starting out in my first year. Most of us do our first video interview without even spending 30 mins practising competency questions in front of a camera. By spending at least 2 hours preparing in front of your laptop camera and reflecting on your responses to eliminate mannerisms and make your answers more concise, you will be sure to stand out. I include some more tips on tackling video interviews here.

Secondly, taking psychometric test preparation seriously is key since most people get wiped out at the psychometric stage. If I was talking to my first-year self, I would say read that previous sentence again. If most people get wiped out at the psychometric test stage (whether that be a numerical, verbal or situational judgement test), and if this is a number’s game, then we are massively slashing our chances by not taking this stage seriously. I include more advice on tackling numerical/verbal tests here and a criteria sheet hack for situational judgement tests here.

[2] Enjoy the process and start early.

If I heard this advice as a first-year, I would not have appreciated how powerful it is. The heart of application success is undertaking a process-oriented approach instead of a results-oriented approach. Throughout our whole lives, most of us get trapped in a results-oriented mindset undertaking tasks only caring about the end result. Perhaps many people don’t fall into this trap, but I certainly did.

Once you begin to enjoy the process, e.g. within developing commercial awareness (which I talk more about here), the game you play will change and success will flow to you more easily. When you start trying to understand the inner workings of, say, the financial sector and how there isn’t just the investment banking division, or the markets division, but also:

  • Capital markets e.g. DCM & ECM
  • Proprietary trading
  • Quant finance firms
  • Asset Management
  • Hedge funds
  • Fintech Start-ups (e.g. check out SaltPay – they seem very impressive)
  • A plethora of specialisms within Sales & Trading

…when you do this, the game changes. The universe of companies you’ll think about applying to will expand and your knowledge of how they interlink will set you apart. When you connect and call people you find on LinkedIn to learn about them and expand your knowledge of the industry as well as build a relationship (networking shouldn’t feel like hunting), your knowledge will begin to compound. When you start building a deeper understanding of commercial awareness, which by the way some people make a career out of, you’ll begin to enjoy the process for what it is, not just because it will win the interviewer over. Paradoxically, I always found that when I stopped obsessing over the result, the result came more easily.

If you’re trying to build a strong foundation that will make you stand out in the upcoming application season, I give a more comprehensive summary of the components you might want to get under control here.

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