First year gets it!

Hey guys, I don't write that much but I always read the articles on here.

I'm Swiss, am studying economics in Zurich and was always fascinated by the opportunities you could get after having worked in the M&A industry.
As many of you know, there are these "spring insights" which all bigger banks offer to first year students. I thought, come on, try it, even though you're coming from a non/semi-target.

So I sent off about twelve applications for this sh*t. I ended up with zero interviews and therefore zero offers. Fortunately, DB in Frankfurt considered me for another, proper internship in their product management for capital market products. After two phone interviews I finally got the offer for the summer and I was fking happy getting the opportunity to work for such a great bank.

There was just one problem: the pay. With a pay of about 620 € per month I thought it would be hard to "survive" and so did my mother, because with this amount of money I'd have had to pay for a room (~400 € for a room which isn't too far away from the office) and paying for food and such. And for this stuff I would just have about 7-8 € per day to spend. You see, quite shitty.

My mother said that she would help me out and every thing was fine.

About one month after I got the offer, my mother got laid off because of the difficult economic situation. Shit got real.

I called the hiring manager and explained him my situation, asked for a slightly higher pay and he said no. After this conversation and one email later I turned down the offer.

That pissed me off. In spite of whining all the time about this shit I just started cold calling and emailing bankers and consultants, leading nowhere at the beginning. Sent off applications to other places, even to absolutely unknown firms but everywhere: "sorry, you're first year, we don't take first years".

Then I emailed a nice guy working for a very solid MM IB in Frankfurt. After having chatted with him for a while I sent him my CV and he pushed the hiring manager to give me at least a chance to convince them that I'm really motivated and all. So I was officially applying for an off cycle internship in their M&A division which should take place during my third semester at university. 3 phone interviews with analysts and an associate later I got the offer and was incredibly happy. One year before I thought, man, you never gonna land an M&A internship after your second semester. Even if this isnt a SA position I am very proud of it! I didn't see the sun for about 3 weeks, I studied my ass off, I mean, I was just beginning my second semester.

I didn't know CAPM, beta, DCF, comps and all this stuff. Vault Guides and Rosenbaum & Pearl helped a loooot. Also WSO and M&I were brilliant sources. At the end of the day I managed it to convince my interviewers of my motivation and capability for this field so that they didn't even fly me in for a face to face interview. According to my contact at this bank this isn't usual and shows that I performed well. He also said that I was only the third first year getting an offer for an internship in the past 24 months, but I don't know whether it is true or not.

So I had the offer for the internship at this MM IB during my third uni semester. Because of DB I had quit my part time job at another small firm and they couldn't hire me anymore because they had found a successor for me by the time I declined the offer from DB.

So I thought again: man, what are you going to do during vacation? 3 months hanging around? How, with no money?

I again started cold emailing people and one of them knew that the transaction advisory team of one of the two biggest banks in Switzerland was looking for an intern. I applied online and filled the questions out. I waited for about one month or so for a reply. Finally I got a call that I made it to the interview. The first one was a phone interview with a HR lady which went brilliant. Two days later I interviewed with the executive director and the vice president of that team, 2 on 1, and the M&A internship offer I had landed earlier was written down on my resume.

This was a good point, they asked me, how and why I got this offer, why I am interested in this field (this team was the "IBD for small and midcap companies" within this bank) and such. They were positively surprised that I landed that offer and I think this made me a bit more interesting for them. That's maybe why it was a completely fit interview, nothing technical.

When the ED shook my hand in the end of the interview and said that he enjoyed the "chat" and the VP showed me a bit their building I was of very good courage. One week later I finally got the offer, and this internship will start in two weeks, exactly the same period as it would have been at DB, but the pay is much, much higher because it is in Zurich (or more generally in Switzerland; the pay differs a lot between GER and CH). To be honest I thought that I didn't have a chance because it was a summer internship program which are very competitive. (After getting the offer I asked the HR lady how much applications she got for this position. She said 27. I dunno, don't have reference values, is this a lot or quite few?)

Just to tell people: it doesn't mean that it's impossible to land solid internships even after your first year at university, you just have to fcking know why you love this stuff and be able to show your endless motivation to work hard for your career.

At the interview with the ED and VP I for example said that I know that they had gotten strong applications from people with way more experience in transactions or corp. fin. in general, and maybe from better universities than mine, but that the difference between them and me was that my motivation was/is brutal and that I wanted to prove myself in their team.

I hope that I could bolster somebody on here up. Impssible is nothing. Work hard. And work harder. And then: play hard.

(I hope every thing is clear, it is quite a time ago when I had do write a longer text in English for the last time. :P)

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Comments (19)

Jun 16, 2012 - 2:18pm

Dude. Awesome post and congratulations!

Also, you know of any easy way to transition to Schweitzer Deutsch? Ich bin hier in Berlin, und habe nur Hochdeutsch gelernt ... I don't want to make too much of an ass of myself or my interviewers if we speak in German, with me constantly asking "äh, wie bitte?" and them understanding what I say all the time (because I hear the Swiss understand, or, better said, everyone understands Hochdeutsch better than Hochdeutscher understand them ...).

Nothing can stop me.
  • 1
Jun 16, 2012 - 2:27pm

Thank you!

Practice. Wenn du eine Zeit lang hier in der Schweiz lebst, verstehst du sie alle. And if the interviewers don't ask you whether you want them to speak Hochdeutsch or they don't offer to do it when they realize you don't understand them, they are assholes. Einfach lieb fragen, ob sie nicht Hochdeutsch sprechen können, du würdest an deinem Schweizerdeutsch arbeiten, aber es sei noch nicht so gut. So kannst du gerade etwas Sympathie aufbauen. :-) Viel Erfolg!

Jun 16, 2012 - 3:48pm

Glückwunsch! Aber das niedrige Praktikantengehalt bei der DB wundert mich doch ein wenig, dachte die wären auch auf jeden Fall im Bereich von 1000-1200€ wie z.B. die Big 4. Über Praktikantengehälter wie in den USA und das ganze Weichgepudere mit strukturierten Programmen und Schulungen in Disneyland können wir wohl weiterhin nur träumen, auch wenn ich auf letzteres gut und gerne verzichten kann zugunsten flexiblen Praktikumszeiten...
Wann genau fängst du in Frankfurt an?

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Jun 16, 2012 - 4:03pm

I guess DB pays so little cause you are paid according to experience in Germany. Whereas American banks will pay the same amount for a given internship, Germans are a bit weird in adjusting pay to the individual circumstances.

Anyway congrats.

Best Response
Jun 16, 2012 - 4:20pm

Danke schön Fredbird! Es sind 800 € brutto, und nach Abzügen (da nicht Pflichtpraktikum) blieben da gemäss verschiedensten Rechnern halt noch 620 € netto. Das ist scheisse, zumal 800 € das absolute Lohnminimum bei der DB ist, in Frankfurt jedenfalls. Dass man da Ausländern nicht entgegenkommt, ist schon etwas schwach. Aber egal, die ganzen Prozesse innerhalb der DB scheinen sehr undurchsichtig; mein Interviewer wusste gar nicht, was das Spring into Banking Programm bei denen ist...^^ Der Vergleich: bei UBS/CS in der Schweiz verdienen Praktikanten über 4200 CHF.

mel3: I heard that even in their IBD the pay isnt more than 1300 €. The pay in the MM IB is even higher than this.
They're weird, yes. :D

Thank you!

Jun 16, 2012 - 5:04pm
Der Vergleich: bei UBS/CS in der Schweiz verdienen Praktikanten über 4200 CHF.

Oh mensch ...

Eh, woraus kommst du, Jevira? Ich will doch in der Schweiz arbeiten, aber ich weiß nicht, wie hoch die Lebenskosten in der Schweiz sind ... ich habe gelesen, 2x so viel wie hier in Berlin, aber wenn das Geld schon gut ist, das kann ich leisten ...

Sind die Lebenskosten teuer genug, dass das Lohn nicht so viel Wert hat? (ich meine, sag, $45000+Bonus in SLC in den USA statt [so viel wie es ist in der Schweiz])

Nothing can stop me.
  • 1
Jun 16, 2012 - 5:16pm

Ich wohne etwa 30 Minuten entfernt von Zürich.

Je nach dem wo du wohnst, sind die Lebenshaltungskosten höher oder tiefer. In Zürich City kannst du dir wahrscheinlich keine schöne Wohnung allein leisten (wenn, dann in WGs). Auch sonst: du hast obligatorische Krankenversicherungen, monatlich, und die Preise für Nahrung etc. sind auch höher als in D. Ich denke, die höheren Preise/Lebenshaltungskosten machen den höheren Lohn nicht ganz Wett, sodass man in der CH real tatsächlich etwas mehr verdient - aber das ist nur Spekulation.

Aber keep in mind: nicht überall (bzw. eigentlich fast nirgends) verdienen Praktikanten über 4.2k CHF. Banken und Versicherungen bezahlen - typisch - höhere Löhne.

Jun 16, 2012 - 5:26pm
Aber keep in mind: nicht überall (bzw. eigentlich fast nirgends) verdienen Praktikanten über 4.2k CHF. Banken und Versicherungen bezahlen - typisch - höhere Löhne.

Ich suche nach Arbeit in Investment Banking bei UBS oder CS wenn möglich ... ich kenn die Löhne für UBS Graduate Training Program (GTP) noch nicht aber habe gelesen, dass für die Praktikanten, die Löhne durchschnittlerweise (per sind ungefähr 4200 CHF / Monat ... so, hoffentlich die sind eigentlich so.

Gibt's eine gute Website, wo man nach WGs in der Schweiz suchen kann? Ich kenne wg-gesucht, aber gilt das auch in der Schweiz, oder gibt's bessere?

Nothing can stop me.
  • 2
Jun 17, 2012 - 4:58pm

From what I've seen of their exchange students, ze Germans are pretty fuckin smart so congrats on getting DB in Frankfurt, sounds like an amazing experience to have on your resume after just 1 year at a non-target!

Damn you Rodger!
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Oct 18, 2012 - 7:02am

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