It was a cold morning in January 2020. I took a day off at my investment banking internship and took the train from Munich to Frankfurt for my Investment Banking working student interview at SEB. As always, I had read the typical interview preparation materials and expected to be asked tough questions in one of Frankfurt’s towers during the interview. After a one-hour interview about technical- and personal-fit questions, I took the train home. Everything went well and I was convinced I made a good impression. Three weeks later, while I was in the office, I received the mail I had been waiting for: “Hey, Jan-Niklas, we would like to offer you the contract”. Done! Having the financing for my daily life secured and the possibility to take part in what I believe is one of the most interesting working student positions in Frankfurt, I was very happy.
Like many of my fellow students, I decided to work part-time during my Master of Finance. For me, the 3-day track model was one of the main reasons why I decided to study at Frankfurt School. Since the finance sector (especially investment banking) is highly concentrated and people know each other within the industry, you can start creating a professional business network separate from the network at FS. Apart from the personal benefit, colleagues at SEB like that they can rely on me as an FS student because my study plan is set for the upcoming semesters, which makes it easier to plan. Lastly, I decided to work at SEB in Investment Banking because SEB offers an “Investment Banking pool” for juniors and you work across different divisions, which are Corporate Finance, DCM, Loan Origination and Financial Advisory, and on different projects. This helps to apply the wide theoretical content from our curriculum and also allows me to gain experience with relevant applications and programs like Factset or Bloomberg.
SEB follows a different approach than many of its competitors. While working students often just do some ongoing tasks and long-term projects, I am fully staffed on client projects and pitches. So, when I open Outlook at 9 AM, I usually have three to four mails from different divisions, requesting my support for client presentations. As this can be stressful in busy times, I have the possibility to work extra hours after exam periods and use the cumulated extra hours in the end of each quarter to take two or three weeks off and study for the exams. Because every meeting and client is different, no day is the same. However, typical tasks include working on financial models, creating company profiles for M&A meetings, or doing industry research on ESG risks. Usually, my day ends between 7 and 8 PM, which leaves some time to study during the evening.
Now, after almost 5 months at SEB, I do not regret working in Investment Banking at SEB while studying at FS. Especially because the 3-day track model is well organised and I have full support from SEB whenever studying requires more time. The practical skills, time management and efficient organisation, are, in my view, also major requirements for a successful career in Investment Banking later. Although it can get stressful at times, I heavily recommend that you take the opportunity and work as a working student. For example, one of the new analysts at SEB is an FS alumnus who studied the Master of Finance, as well. I can always approach him and ask him for guidance on our curriculum. All of this happens when you broaden your horizon and go the extra mile.