No matter what your career goals are, it is widely agreed upon that gaining experience in your field and working internationally can be of great benefit. Especially considering how the modern world has come to melt boundaries between geographies and has made it possible to work with talents earlier beyond reach. A fact that many leading multinational firms have come to acknowledge and have rushed to reap the benefits of.
Thus, as someone who aspires to work in the rather highly competitive financial services industry, it becomes of vital importance for me to be able to prepare myself for this future of work – and naturally, one of the best preparations I can undertake in this regard is to do international internships. Being a first-semester student, the most imminent opportunity I had in this regard was the coveted spring and insight week internships in London.
One of the foremost challenges of applying internationally is not having any professional connections with anyone in that location. Let alone being able to find interviews through networking, it is very difficult to understand the cultural nuances of the offices of firms in those locations. This proved to be intensely daunting at first, but for my preliminary preparation for my applications, I made a point to thoroughly go through the websites of all the firms that I was applying to and understand what was being offered. I was motivated to do this as I recalled the advice I had received in one of the workshops organised by the FS Career Services team during the welcome week. In the workshop, they emphasised the significance of thorough background research for any application process as a good practice irrespective of the opportunity you may be pursuing.
Having now understood what my goals were, I also became aware of the challenges that I was going to face. Having no prior working experience, I desperately needed some guidance in the preparation of my CV as well as my cover letters. Additionally, I also needed some insight into the nuances of London offices and tips on how to accordingly prepare for personal interviews.
I consider myself greatly fortunate that I was able to find answers to all these questions at Frankfurt School (FS) through the Career Services team and student initiatives.
The FS Career Services are an excellent resource. The aspect I find the most compelling about the Career Services team is how accessible they are. I could request their help for CV checks, which was essential for my application. The advice and the insight they provided then also helped me to formulate my cover letters. With my application documents prepared, I was now looking for ways through which I could connect with professionals in London.
There are multiple professional student initiatives at FS, out of which I am part of FS Invest, which operates as the finance society of FS. They host a roster of events throughout the semester to help you network and improve your technical skills. I reached out to students in their advanced semesters in the initiatives who had previously also applied for similar internships, and I was overwhelmed by the support I received. FS Invest also organises ‘coffee-chats’ with FS alumna, who are now based in various locations, and I was once again very fortunate to be able to introduce myself to FS alumna working for the most prestigious firms based in London. I was more confident in my understanding of the cultural peculiarities of the locations and firms I was applying for. This also transferred very well into my preparation for the personal interviews that were to follow with all the firms.
The application process was an incredible learning opportunity. Firstly, from the point of view of understanding the ins and outs of the professional world – especially at this stage of my academic journey wherein I would be able to capitalise on this information to decide my path forward and apply for more opportunities in the future. I also connected with so many diverse people who have inspired me and whose insights I will value forever.
As for my applications, I successfully landed a spring week internship with the credit rating agency firm Moody’s Corporation. Through the programme, I had the privilege to interact with students from top universities across Europe and several influential personalities in the financial services industry. By taking advantage of this experience and everything I had learned before, I have also secured another internship at St James’s Place – an FTSE 100 Asset Management firm based in London.
Overall, applying internationally has been a very challenging and arduous undertaking. But courtesy of the resources that I was able to find at FS, I was able to succeed and have also been able to learn some very meaningful lessons. I wholeheartedly recommend mustering courage, keeping your ambitions high, and taking the plunge as soon as you can. Always remember to not be afraid of asking for help.
I now look forward to the upcoming application season, wherein I plan to apply to even more diverse locations!