Written on 21 July 2015.
While in theory any final-year student can apply to a graduate programme, reality shows that a large percentage of recruits have previously done a summer job or a 6-month internship with the company. This is even more true for investment banking, where a summer internship has become almost a pre-requisite to receive a permanent job offer. Because getting into the summer analyst programme has become as competitive as the graduate programmes themselves, investment banks have added an additional stage: the insight programme, commonly known as “spring week”.
So if you want to be included in a fast track to the graduate programme, make sure you follow the necessary steps (a summer job or long internship, and try to participate in the insight days if offered by the company).
Many companies also organise “networking events” in big cities such as Paris and London. While you won’t be able to attend them all due to your courses, you may be able to apply to certain ones. Besides, travelling is expensive, so you have to be picky. Only few students are selected, so make sure you write an outstanding application and make the most out of the event.
Recruiting for summer internships and graduate programmes begins several months ahead of the starting dates, which are normally June for the summer programmes and September for the graduate programmes. In Financial Services, applications open anytime between August and September, and typically close by end of November or December. Industry (including FMCG, Retail, etc.) tends to open applications a bit later and they close by January or February. But always check the deadlines of your preferred companies: some FMCG companies are opening their applications in September too!
In any case, it is important to apply very early, as many processes close as soon as the slots have been filled. So make a list of your preferred companies, identify the dates and make sure not to miss any deadlines. For investment banking, we recommend that you apply no later than October, once your application package has been reviewed by the Career Centre.
Insight programmes (“spring weeks”) are targeted to M1 students. Summer internships can be done at the beginning or at the end of the Gap Year, although we recommend doing them at the end, so that you can then be included in the fast track to the graduate programme right after the MSc. If you are a final year student, then you are looking for a graduate programme (but you could also do a summer job, depending on the company, right after the MSc if you were not accepted into one before). As a rule, you can apply to a graduate programme up to one year after graduation.