Internship before College! Need some help, thanks :)

Hi fellow WSO members,

Some background info: I'll be going to university next year once I complete my National Service (mandatory in my country). Through networking, I managed to set up a phone session with a HOD from one of the commercial banks (think HSBC, Citi, StanChart) and impressed him with my understanding of the industry and current affairs, so he promised to bat for me for an internship next year. The thing is, I get to pick the department in the bank (retail banking/PWM), which I am most interested in and he will connect me with the right people to help secure the internship.

Like every other prospective monkey, I'm gunning for a career in IB in the future, so I would like to know which department would offer the most relevant training and project the best image to recruiters when it comes to OCR in my sophomore/junior year for IBD.

So far, I'm looking at PWM as the best possible option of securing an internship. However, my contact discouraged me from doing so because most sales people (e.g. priority banking) often have low academic qualifications, since most of them have to rise from the ranks one step at a time from a normal Relationship Manager. Also, I will have limited contact with the HNW and UHNW clients because I lack the necessary qualifications. As for retail banking, I do not have much interest in credit card operations etc, so it's a no-no for me.

However, my interest lies in the commercial bank side of the firm, such as Structured Products, Corporate Treasury / Treasury Solutions, and Global Transaction Services, where I will actually get to learn about FX etc. The only problem is that he's in the retail banking side, so should I ask him if the aforementioned departments are possible options?

Also, what are my chances of securing an internship and performing in my work at these departments, judging that I have limited finance experience? [I understand that certain departments require technical knowledge, and it will be very difficult to learn much if I lack the basic fundamentals]

In terms of preparation, I have completed the BIWS Excel Course, and am embarking on the WSO Technical Interview Guide and the BIWS Financial Modeling Course sometime later this year. I am also trying to read as many technical books as possible, such as Fixed Income Analysis by Frank Fabozzi.

Sorry for the long post. Would appreciate any advice, especially suggestions on the department I should select! Thanks in advance :)

Yes definitely ask him about the other areas of the bank, he's not a hermit, I'm sure he knows people all over.

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Best Response

I worked in Singapore. Tough competition you got from NUS SMU. Get a part time job at a prestigious place, it's very easy to place in Singapore. Example: Monitor/LEK/Bain have part time assistants. It's not PWM, but if your goal is FO banking or whatever, brand names matter over what you do.

Go look inside Samsung Hub on Church Street for the firm names and Capital Square. Ask around.

@wolfy: Thanks for your advice, I'll definitely look into that area. I'm heading to a T5-UG business school (think Stern, Ross, Cornell AEM), so do you think that would help when HR looks at my resume? Also, what do you think about my earlier questions regarding placement in the commercial bank?

Why do you want to get placed in a commercial bank? You don't want that -- and to explain every what you do at Standard Chartered or HSBC every time at dinner.

Stern is fine. I don't think people care too much about Ross or AEM outside of the US (to be perfectly honest). You don't want HR looking at your resume. You want the director, the guy hiring for the job to look at your resume.

People have been placed in Singapore in consulting/banking, but usually after a year of full-time.

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