- Business and Management / Warwick Business School
- Careers & Employability
- MORSE / Statistics
What does an S&T internship actually entail?
Last summer, I was lucky enough to spend 9 weeks at a bulge bracket bank interning in the Global Markets division.
Granted, every internship will look different – the tasks you take on will reflect your experience, education and, of course, they will vary from bank to bank. Some banks will expect a very hands-on approach – assigning you to one desk for the duration of the internship where you will help to get stuck in. Other banks will adopt a more learning-orientated approach focusing on simulations, activities, and presentations.
This blog aims to demystify Sales and Trading internships based on my experience, and to outline the type of program that might await you!
Most banking internships will start with one or two induction weeks. These weeks are filled with a mix of training (think: Excel and financial products), social/networking sessions both amongst the interns and within the business and speaker sessions introducing you to the bank and its culture.
These weeks are organised to give you the best foundation with which to navigate the weeks ahead, but also to give you time to settle in and get to know one another. They are an opportunity to ask as many questions as possible completely judgement-free – so make the most of them!
After the induction week we were assigned to our first rotation. The rotations on offer were across many asset classes in both Sales and Trading, as well as connected roles such as the Research department and gave us a great opportunity to try out desks across the floor.
During the induction week we heard from speakers from every desk offering a rotation and subsequently ranked our favourite desks. Likewise, the line managers from each desk ranked the interns, and then (I assume by some sort of stable marriage problem) we each received our allocated desk.
TIP: At the end of the internship, you will most likely be hired to a desk. So, whilst it is important to do your best work for everyone you work for throughout the internship, you should be simultaneously thinking about where exactly you think you’d fit best. Whilst you are assigned to one desk at a time, you should have a constant dialogue with people across the business, especially in the areas that interest you most. Line managers will predominantly use CVs to choose interns for the first rotation, but by the final rotation it is likely they’ll expect to have heard both from you and about you! This means it’s your initiative to reach out to people on the desk and show your curiosity and interest.
Now onto some of the activities…
Keeping up with current affairs, as you will know from the interview process, is a core part of Sales and Trading. If you don’t have a particular spreadsheet or presentation to be working on, you should be scrolling Bloomberg or the FT – assessing how political events, fiscal decisions or natural disasters might next move the markets.
One responsibility I had as an intern was to do a daily morning News Wrap to be sent out to the desk covering any relevant news that had broken overnight. We also had the chance to discuss the news with other interns and employees during weekly “Markets wrap” sessions.
It’s important to keep up with the big picture news, such as inflation, but news stories that reflect your personal interests not only show you haven’t just been skimming the headlines, but never fail to offer good conversation.
TIP: Throughout the internship you should be chatting to as many employees across the floor as possible. Networking offers a great opportunity to ask any questions or discuss any news stories you have found interesting. Being particularly well-read will help you stand out.
TIP: A great way to prepare for these or to get a taste is to attend Warwick Finance Society’s weekly market wraps.
The internship was punctuated by several presentations. Some presentations were based off broader questions about the economy and in others we were expected to present trade ideas.
Presentations offered us an occasion to demonstrate what we had learnt throughout the internship and during each rotation, whilst offering line managers a formal opportunity to assess our progress and performance.
TIP: Practice your presentation in front of other interns and employees, giving yourself enough time to implicate any advice they offer!
This was perhaps my favourite part of the internship! As part of a team, we were allocated 100 million (theoretical!) dollars to invest over a range of assets throughout the duration of the internship. During the day we had meetings with our teams to discuss stocks, government bonds, currencies we wanted to buy or sell and then each day at 4pm we sent in our orders. We tracked our PnL on Excel, linked to the live prices and chose stop-losses and target prices to reflect our risk appetite and expectations.
This game gave us the opportunity to get a real feel for managing a portfolio and allowed us to try out trading strategies and execute trade ideas, without millions of dollars at stake!