Investment banking in the central United States is almost non-existent and trying to obtain access to a New York-based firm is practically impossible. Yet, a lot of persistence, hard work, and knowing a single alumnus can go quite far in trying to obtain an internship.
After many phone calls and emails during the fall of 2011 and January, I secured a phone interview with BNP Paribas--a large French bank (equivalent of the J.P. Morgan of Europe). After the first phone interview, I was moved on to final round interviews. For these final round interviews, BNP Paribas flew me up to their New York office for a day of interviews. During my time at the office, I discovered that there had been over 2,000 applicants for the internship and only 20 had been brought to the NY office. The interviews were on Friday, and I learned of my offer the following Monday. I (of course) immediately accepted.
During my time at BNP, I interned in Capital Markets within the Equities floor. The first couple of days were spent at a training facility, where we met all of the fellow interns across the bank and learned the technical information. Most of the interns had rotational internships, spending five weeks each at two different desks. For my internship, the first half was in Prime Brokerage with the Relationship Management team, and the second half, I worked for the Structured Products team.
I typically spent about 50-60 hours a week working. The day was full of networking, learning, and tasks. BNP really encouraged me to meet as many employees as I could and learn about the many different roles across the floor. I loved my whole experience, especially the energy of the city and office. I was surrounded by a variety of individuals and quite a lot of French people. Since I speak French, I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to practice parler francais!
On the last day of the internship, the office delivered their hiring decisions. Out of the twenty interns on my floor, only five received offers. I was the only undergraduate to receive an offer, which was very exciting.
I worked very hard, but I was always smiling and bringing what I like to call, "The Midwest Charm." I accepted the offer, and I will be starting next July in their NY office.