The organisation of the IESE London Banking Trek starts taking place in spring, way before the new generation of first year students arrive on the campus in September. IESE MBA Career Services and the Banking & Finance Club finalise event details with existing partners and reach out to new companies participating in the Trek for the first time. Due to industry trends reducing MBA summer programs, entry into Investment Banking has become more competitive year after year. Despite the changing business environment, the 2018 Trek was a success yet again, and the organizing team is proud of it.
One peculiar thing about Investment Banking recruitment is that, unlike any other role, students can only get full time offers after securing summer internships first. Hence, the trek is only attended by first year students. The pressure is full on and attending the trek is the crucial part of the process – one needs to attend the trek to show enough interest and commitment to pursuing this career. This year’s trek consisted of visiting American Express, five global banks (Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Societe Generale) and two asset management firms (Pimco and Omers).
With over 50 students attending, this is the largest IESE trek and requires a lot of organization and effort from the club leadership team. At the same time, it is one of the most inspiring trek to attend, as one gets an exposure to a financial capital of the world. Lassi Viljakainen, Associate Director of IESE Career Services responsible for the Finance sector explains: “Nothing compares to the unique experience of visiting banks and financial institutions at their “home bases” in London. For the finance-focused students, the trek provides an opportunity to get a sense of the London work environment, visit potential future employers and access networking opportunities with dozens of bankers. This also provides a window of opportunity to get a better sense of the company culture and one’s potential fit into the organisation. Moreover, as IESE-MBA alumni is well represented in many of the companies we visit, there is a special feeling of belonging that blends into the official part of the program. All the hard preparation work from the Career Services and Banking & Finance Club side immediately pays off when we hop off from the metro at the Canary Wharf station. “
Mathias Michel, MBA Class of 2019 describes his experience on the trek. “The London Banking Tour is as close as it gets to the real deal: get up in the morning, suit up, jump on the tube to Canary Wharf and get ready for a full day of banking. While the differences between banks are not always that obvious from the outside, you immediately know where you would feel at home once you get to go inside. The testimonials of young associates, picking the brains of seasoned career bankers, even some real-life deal simulations – all this was exactly what we needed to answer the one question we came with: where will we take our first steps in our investment banking careers?”
María Carla Fontana, MBA Class of 2019 adds, “Visiting top bulge bracket investment banks’ offices, discussing industry trends with a Managing Director, sharing drinks with IESE alumni in the city, discussing deals with bankers from various industries, that was what the Trek was all about. Getting to know the people behind the titles, potential colleagues, bonding, and creating valuable contacts was definitely a game changer for anyone seriously considering recruiting for the industry. As a community, we grew in commitment to each other´s success. I think we came out of this trek as better team players, humbled by the reality of our experiences, and most importantly, better fitted for the task that lies ahead.”
From the company’s perspective, Nicole Banks, HR Associate from Omers Infrastructure was also very pleased with the Trek. “Our Managing Director, Alastair Hall, gave a presentation, which was followed by a Q&A and networking session; this gave students a deep insight into the company’s position as one the largest infrastructure investors globally, in an increasingly competitive market. Given that identifying top candidates for the 2018 internships is paramount to the company, meeting students face-to-face was an invaluable opportunity for company representatives and students alike.”
All in all, the London Banking Trek has remained one of the core IESE career treks and we trust that the tradition will continue for the generations to come.
Mirjana Popovic (IESE MBA Class of 2018), President of the Banking and Finance Club went on the London Banking Trek in her first year and secured an investment banking internship at Credit Suisse. She led the organization of the Trek this year.