“By far the best we have ever had”. That is how Career Services Associate Director, Pascal Michels (MBA’10), described the London Banking Tour which took place between November 11th and November 13th. In those 3 days 70 first-year students visited the world’s leading financial institutions from morning until evening.
The list of firms visited is nothing short of impressive: American Express, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citibank, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Nomura. All of them were on the lookout to hire for investment banking, wealth management, global markets or financial management.
The visits consisted of a mix of corporate presentations, case studies, panel discussions and, of course, networking. While for most it was not the primary reason for joining the tour, all participants agreed on its educational value. Although the greater part of the group was already finance oriented, a percentage of students chose the tour precisely because they were not. Antoine Bahri, a trained pharmacist, pointed out the complementarity of the tour with his first term Capital Markets class.
It is quite common to enroll as a student at IESE to change your career, and having the chance of a full immersion in the London finance arena was a very efficient and direct way of knowing if finance should be their new path to follow. Getting to see the insides of each firm helped students know and tell the differences between them, which, from the outside, is no small feat. How to choose which position you should apply to? How to know to which you really belong? Those questions could be answered after 3 days of presentations but also thanks to the hours of preparation and research that students had done prior to their visits, as well as to the time they spent talking to bankers and other finance professionals and the alumni they met at the well-deserved closing dinner. A dinner -all of them agree- was the perfect ending to an unforgettable experience.
Getting 70 people around London without a single minute delay at any of the events is testimony to how closely Career Services and the Finance Club work together
One of the particularities of the tour (in contrast with other career treks) is that it is organized by Career Services, serving as a liaison between the banks and the group. The Finance Club, led by Andrea Hayem (MBA Class of 2017), took care of student logistics. Getting 70 people around London without a single minute delay at any of the events is testimony to how closely Career Services and the Finance Club work together.
Andrea believes that the tour was highly useful as it allowed bankers and finance staff to meet prospective interns. In that respect, she also points out the importance of the preparation that all students had done individually prior to those days. The level of the questions participants asked throughout all the presentations denoted the quality of the group.
The tour was physically exhausting and mentally taxing. However, Kevin Dargatz believes the whole group was left with the feeling of pride and gratitude. IESE was very well represented by those 70 students who, together as a team, tried to give their best not only for their careers but also for the benefit of the institution. Hao Zeng expressed her gratitude for the professionalism and perfect execution of both organizers and participants.
Finally, the tour paid off: many students used the inside information and tips received to draft high-quality summer internship applications. Weeks later, with interview invitations at record levels, the spirit of comradeship still lasts. All students remain very close as a result of the experience. Many of them did not know each other before the trip but they are now all part of a group in which they find support and motivation. As Luca Meloncelli said: “competition is outside, as a school you are a team and you need to collectively perform at your best.”