Applications 101: Online Internship Experiences

As the application season is in full swing, with some deadlines creeping up on us, do you feel that your résumé is lacking a little bit of oomph? Are you looking for something else to pad out your CV? If so, an online internship or course may just be what you need. Having been in the aforementioned situation not so long ago, I decided to give a few of these virtual experiences a whirl. And, with the current Covid-19 situation, what better time to do them?

In this brief article, I'll speak about my experience with online internships, what I learnt from them, and where you can find similar programmes.

Forage (Formerly InsideSherpa)

The newly named Forage is a great resource with an abundance of courses offered by leading companies. Courses available mimic entry-level work done across a range of sectors; one can find courses on banking, law, accountancy, and even engineering. They offer opportunities to build the practical skills employers are looking for in internships and graduate schemes - they’re even curated by the employers themselves. The courses are open access so there is no need to fuss over an application as they are quite literally available to anyone with an internet connection and an email address.

I started off with an institutional banking program delivered by CitiBank. The course itself was divided into two sections; the first focusing on investment banking, while the other was on markets.

The first half of the course was based on a proposed acquisition of a mobile gaming company by one of Citi’s clients in the Gaming industry. The course walked through the different life cycles of a deal and the tasks consisted of compiling a company and industry overview with accompanying M&A rationale, presenting comparables analysis, and performing a discounted cash flow valuation. The markets section was all about analysing a portfolio and identifying the client’s needs in order to offer advice on how to outperform the market.

The course massively built on my confidence and knowledge in M&As, my ability to complete these tasks, and a greater understanding of the profession. All in all, the course took no longer than 5 hours and was an invaluable insight into the day-to-day responsibilities of an investment banker or a professional in the sales and trading division of an investment bank.

Bright Network

Bright Network is a well-established, free career platform, that will help springboard your career to the next step. They provide top advice on career choices and applications, from CV advice to networking. The Bright Network Academy has over 100 free, on-demand videos offering expert advice on how to build some core soft skills that employers are always looking for. In addition to this, this summer, they ran three-day virtual internship experiences in investment banking, finance & professional services, law and many other sectors. Unfortunately, as you’re reading this in October, you will have missed the boat for this year’s programmes, which ran from the end of June to mid-July. You will, however, be able to take part in next summer’s experiences. Truth be told, unlike many top sectors’ internships, taster days and placements, Bright Network’s experiences are pretty straightforward to get accepted onto. They have no limit on how many participants they can accept. All it requires is a Bright Network account (completely free and takes a matter of minutes to set up) and a short 100-word answer on why you want to take part in the programme.

I opted to take part in Bright Network’s Investment Banking virtual internship. Over the course of three days, we were joined by seasoned professionals from the likes of Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JP Morgan, and Macquarie. The first day consisted of an introduction to the sector, followed by valuation methodologies and types of transactions, deal lifecycles and how the current pandemic will affect the banking of tomorrow. On the whole, the first day was very informative and offered someone like me with little experience of the sector a great insight. The second day introduced us to the work sample that would have to be completed in order to complete the experience – it consisted of pretty similar tasks to what CitiBank set in its above-mentioned internship programme. The work sample entailed a proposed acquisition of a low-cost airline by British Airways. Finally, the third day was spent finishing off our work samples and marking them. The experience concluded with CV and sector role advice presented by the EMEA Head of Recruitment at JP Morgan.

Throughout the three days, the opportunity to network with peers across the globe was always available, through 1:1 networking and the online chat function. It was here that I found the opportunity to be writing for The Student Investor today. It is the networking capabilities within this experience that really distinguished it from others, and really gives you a flying start in the corporate world.

All in all, I think that online courses and virtual internships are definitely worthwhile. For someone with little pre-existing financial experience, it’s a great way to learn more and really kickstart your career. It’s also a fantastic addition to a CV, and many online programmes are generally quite flexible – you can complete them when you want, where you want. It may lack the face-to-face interaction and office environment of a typical summer internship, where you can truly learn on-the-job, network with colleagues, and experience the inner workings of a company first-hand. However, virtual internships may be the way forward, so why not get ahead of the game and sign up for one now?