Beatriz Sanmartin is a student in the Dual Degree in Business Administration + International Relations. She is also an officer of the IE Finance and Capital Markets Club, a class representative, and a member of the Honours Program, which is made up of the top 5% of students in each program at IE University.
Interested in pursuing a career in finance after graduation, Beatriz had the objective of exploring the sector this academic year, and she has definitely reached her goal! With the support of the Talent & Careers team, this highly motivated third-year student has secured positions in the Macquarie Female Business series, as well as in the J.P. Morgan and Citi Spring Weeks.
She recommends all students interested in finance apply to these kinds of opportunities, regardless of their program or background.
How would you explain the Macquarie Female Business Series to someone who hasn’t heard of it before?
The Macquarie Female Business Series is a 10-month program for 40 female university students across the EMEA regions. It comprises workshops, information sessions and networking opportunities that aim to support female students in pursuing a career within the financial industry. Along with these activities, each student is paired with a female mentor working at Macquarie, who guides them throughout the program. Additionally, the program secures a place on the two-week Spring Insight Program in their London offices.
And what are the Financial Spring Weeks?
Spring Week is a one- or two-week insight program into banking offered by leading banks and financial services providers. It’s targeted at students in their second year of a four-year degree or the third year of a five-year degree. Although it has usually been carried out in the London office of the respective bank, the last two years’ editions have been held remotely because of COVID-19. Also, most banks offer the chance of being accelerated to an Assessment Center to secure an offer for the following year’s summer internship.
How did you hear about these opportunities, and why were you interested in participating?
I heard about Spring Weeks in an event hosted last June by the Finance & Capital Markets Club at IE University. It began with an in-depth introduction to Spring Weeks and an information session. After this, IE University alumni who had previously joined a Spring Week spoke about their experiences at different banks.
I learned about the Female Business Series from my career advisor at IE University. At the beginning of the year, I contacted her to tell her I was looking to explore the financial industry. She replied with a detailed list of opportunities I apply for. Although I knew I wanted to work in finance, it’s hard to identify which specific division I like the most. Therefore, getting a firsthand insight into the industry, its respective lines of business, and the banks were the primary motivation behind my applications.
What would you highlight about each of these experiences? What did you enjoy the most?
The networking opportunities are what I enjoyed most about the Female Business Series. We had monthly virtual coffee chats with a different female employee at Macquarie in small groups of four. We could ask any question that came to mind and get to know each other informally.
During Spring Weeks, group case studies were very interesting and practical, simulating real-life situations. They usually sent us the case the day before, and we were then guided by an Associate, who would evaluate us as we contributed to the group. In particular, Amplify’s IPO Simulation was a truly fun experience where we not only pitched an IPO but also worked with brilliant teammates from different backgrounds.
What do you think are the benefits of participating in similar experiences, but at different financial institutions?
Joining J.P. Morgan and Citi for Spring Weeks has allowed me to spot differences and commonalities across both banks. Although both belong to the same industry, I could perceive differences in cultures, priorities and perspectives. I would say that these comparisons have helped me figure out in which bank I better see myself working.
Additionally, J.P. Morgan Spring Week was firm-wide focused, while Citi devoted two days to firm-wide sessions and the last three days to the specific division to which we had applied. Thus, I could benefit from both; a deeper insight into the industry and the current trends presented from different viewpoints, while digging a bit more into the specifics of the Corporate Banking division.
Moreover, I was initially surprised on my first Spring Week at J.P. Morgan by how knowledgeable and participative every attendee was, taking the opportunity to network and ask thoughtful questions whenever they could. Having already experienced a similar environment at J.P., I arrived a bit more prepared for my second Spring Week at Citi. So I could even say that J.P. served me as a practice, which helped me to improve my performance at Citi.
What did the selection processes consist of? How can a student prepare to succeed in these?
The selection process depends on the bank to which you’re applying. In the case of J.P. Morgan, they required your CV, a paragraph on your motivation, and on some occasions, a HireVue video interview. Whereas with Citi, the application process was much longer. After submitting the initial application with the CV and three motivation paragraphs, I was invited to complete an Online Assessment Test. Subsequently, a Zoom interview with HR consisted of competency and motivation-based questions. Lastly, the final interview with a line manager included more division-specific questions.
From my own experience, I’d say that practice and devoting time to preparation was key in the selection processes I undertook. Also, receiving the support of Talent & Careers and former Spring Interns was a total hit for me. Moreover, I attended several information events that each bank hosted, as personalizing the applications is highly important to show motivation and interest
How do you think the support of the Talent & Careers Department helped you secure these opportunities?
I have received the support of the Talent & Careers Department and, in particular, of my career advisor, since the very beginning of the three programs. Not only did I discover the programs thanks to their help, but they were also highly available, and promptly responded to emails. They paid a lot of attention to my situation with personalized guidance. Throughout the application process, they helped me tailor my CV and cover letter while suggesting improvements. They also provided useful resources such as sample tests, typical interview questions, and tips, as well as advice on how to prepare and structure my answers. They have been extremely helpful in securing these opportunities, and I am very thankful for their valuable support and assistance.
Why are you interested in pursuing a career in finance after graduation?
Looking to the near future, I would love to pursue a career within the finance industry since it combines both parts of my degree; the global environment, and analytical skills. I have always enjoyed numbers, which is a present-day skill in finance, along with the dynamic nature of the sector that will never cease to amaze me.
Additionally, a career in finance provides endless opportunities for personal and professional growth, as well as for different destinations. And after the Spring Weeks, I’m even more convinced that finance is the right career path for me!
What would you say to other students thinking about applying next year to opportunities of this sort?
I would encourage any student interested in finance to apply, regardless of their program or background. You might be wondering whether the banking and financial sector is the right career path for you, and that’s where Spring Week fills the gap. However, you need to be aware that it will be a long and competitive process, for which you will need to prepare thoroughly. Asking for help from Talents & Careers and your career advisor, as well as practicing with sample tests and mock interviews, is a must.
Lastly, I once was told to try and get more than one Spring Week if possible. Given that not all banks hold their Spring Weeks on the same dates, I would encourage any student to apply to as many banks as possible. Even if you have already secured a spot with one bank, I would suggest not withdrawing other existing applications as the dates might not clash.
We want to congratulate Beatriz for this great achievement, and thank her for sharing her insights with us.