Here is a complete guide on how to make the most of the unavoidable Spring Weeks organized in London by the Finance industry!
Spring… Weeks / Insights / Programs: What are those?
Dead meme aside, Spring Weeks are programs that are usually 2-3 days to a week-long, specifically designed to give you an overview of a particular firm’s activities. They give you the opportunity to spend some days inside the firm’s office in London to get a real taste of what the Finance industry is like. But also (and some might argue more importantly) to get a chance at being fast-tracked for Summer internships within your division of choice… or at least at being invited to the assessment center way before everyone else.
This type of program is usually reserved for students who are in their first year of a three-year degree or the second year of a four-year degree, so HEC M1 students regardless of their background should definitely give them a try, as a brand name on your CV can never hurt you, and you might even discover a hidden love for trading derivatives (or for all-expense-paid trips to London).
What should you expect from them?
No Spring Insights are exactly the same, but there are common key elements expected in all of them:
- A general introduction to give you a broad business overview of their activities;
- The chance to put your skills to good use during interactive case studies or group exercises;
- Networking events to help you meet industry professionals, and even connect with alumni currently working there. Don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for a quick coffee chat if the person is available during the week.
One important thing to know is that some of these events are scrutinized more closely than others, and play a bigger part in deciding who will get called back at the end of the week. This is why talking to former HEC students who went through the same process can play a huge role, as they are best placed to warn you in advance.
Getting the timing right
Applying early is the advice you will hear most frequently while lurking on the web, but I cannot stress enough that “early” shouldn’t mean “sloppy”. I personally waited for the HEC Finance Fair in October to meet as many people as possible and customize my applications before clicking on the submit button, but I know of others who had finished everything as early as September. Once again, this is a very personal choice to make, just don’t leave everything to the last minute and hope for the best, as most banks recruit on a rolling basis (aka first come first served).
One last thing: don’t over think all of this. Maybe you knew you wanted to be an Investment Banker since you were six years old (good for you, but also, are you okay?), or maybe you’re not even sure Finance really is for you, Spring Weeks are not the answer to your upcoming existential crisis but they sure are a step in the right direction.
Part 2 and 3 get deeper into the interviewing process, the type of question/format to prepare and general tips to make a strong first impression.