Internships and work-study programs in finance
You should ask yourself the following question : are you considering a career in Audit, Trading, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Private Equity, Risk Management or Coverage? We recommend a neutral CV without too many colors. Please note that you can apply in several of these areas, but it's best to have a clear understanding of the expectations and criteria specific to each field. This will enable you to tailor your CV to highlight the skills required in your target sector.
Companies and investment banks generally start recruiting for internships at the beginning of the year, i.e. in September. For a Summer Internship in banking, you generally need to plan a year in advance. For Graduates in Finance (end-of-studies internships), it's imperative to work hard on your application. This stage takes time, at least for the first one you apply for, but it will go more quickly afterwards.
There's no such thing as the ideal company to work for. It all depends on your ambitions and your choices. What counts above all are the assignments you'll have to carry out. For example, if you're planning a career in M&A or private equity, we recommend you start with an internship in controlling, auditing or transaction services.
Corporate finance is the specialty that deals with the financing and investment choices of companies. Market finance, on the other hand, is concerned with financial markets, and studies what determines asset prices and how investors compose and manage their asset portfolios.
Competition is fierce, especially at investment banks! To stack the odds in your favor, we encourage you to take care of your CV and prepare for interviews. In many finance companies, selection begins with the CV. The selection process continues with tests (logic, mathematics, finance, management, English, communication) designed to eliminate candidates who are not suited to the position in question. Next, an interview is organized to finalize the process and select the perfect candidate. Sometimes there are two or three interviews.
Remuneration varies widely from one company to another. However, the average remuneration for an intern in this field is between €1,200 and €1,700. This can sometimes rise to over €2,000 for private equity internships in Paris or in top banks.
Even if there is no optimal length for an internship, it is strongly recommended that you complete a 6-month internship to build your skills and add real value to your CV !
Have one or more professional experiences
Search well in advance
Develop your professional network
Look after your CV
Have letters of recommendation from previous internships
Have a well-kept LinkedIn profile
First experience in finance is highly recommended. First-time experience is often more difficult to find, but the task is not insurmountable if you take into account all our advice set out above: good preparation, a clean CV that highlights the qualities required for the position, networking and good preparation for interviews.
If you're attracted to finance but still don't know what your chosen field is, don't panic! It's perfectly normal! You can start by taking stock of the things that interest you, and then see which fields match your interests. Finance professions can be found in many different fields: in companies, private equity, M&A boutiques, banks, specialized firms or one of the Big Four (Deloitte, PwC, KPMG, EY).
A solid first experience is a real launchpad for the rest of your career path, and can open the door to the ideal position or the famous Graduate at the end of your studies. We strongly advise you to try a Graduate program in banking !
This 6 to 12-month internship is more specialized and is for students who have completed their studies. These longer experiences generally offer more varied and empowering assignments, as well as more in-depth exposure to the industry. In addition, a Graduate placement may also include training programs to help students develop their finance skills.
First, it's good to know that the sector is elitist, and that every year the funds receive a huge number of applications, whether for internships or permanent contracts, and that places are scarce. Ideally, therefore, you need the most prestigious training possible, as this is still a determining factor for many recruiters. It's also a good idea to specialize in corporate finance. Although this is not necessarily a prerequisite, it remains very important, if only to pass technical interviews. Other specializations may also be of interest: business law, entrepreneurship or sector-specific skills if the fund is specialized (e.g. in big data).
Finally, before entering the private equity sector, it is quite possible to start working in one of the following sectors: credit analysis, auditing, M&A, venture capital, transaction services, strategy consulting or leveraged services.
Of course, it is possible to find an internship after a BBA : finding an internship depends not only on your training, but also on you and your experience... However, we advise you to complete your training with an MSc from one of the target schools, or even a PGE if you want to enter the world of finance very quickly.
The external auditor is a management expert whose primary mission is to verify the regularity of a company's accounts. In most cases, he or she is not an employee of the company being audited. He assesses their overall situation, or that of a particular department, and checks their accounts, as well as the company's budget (investments, depreciation, salaries). In this way, he can identify any bottlenecks and the risks they may pose to the company's finances. The purpose of all this scrutiny is also to check compliance with current standards and legislation.
It should be noted that the auditor works as part of a team, and his or her mission must adhere to a precise timetable. At the end of the audit, the auditor draws up a summary of the results of his or her investigations, and provides the client company with a diagnosis.
The internal auditor is a business professional, an expert who ventures into organizational processes to detect possible anomalies. His missions cover a wide range of activities to ensure sound and transparent management of companies. The various missions of an internal auditor include scrutinizing the company's financial statements to verify their accuracy and reliability, analyzing potential risks to which the company is exposed, and examining the company's internal processes to identify inefficiencies and shortcomings.
The average salary for an internal auditor is €40,000/year.
The Asset Manager manages a portfolio of assets on behalf of one or more clients. His main objective is to improve and maximize returns on his clients' investments. To accomplish this task, the Asset Manager develops investment strategies to be implemented and analyzes depreciation risks, enabling him/her to make informed decisions concerning the assets to be included in his/her portfolio.
Reporting to the Investment or Asset Management Director (Portfolio Manager), the Asset Manager role is particularly attractive to business school graduates. However, it also requires patience and experience. An entry-level asset manager may need to work in close proximity to asset management professionals in order to progress rapidly in his or her career.
The financial analyst follows a group of companies in a defined sector. They read the specialized press, in-house studies and information published by companies in their sector. They produce summary notes on the various companies in their sector and on financial market trends, with the aim of identifying market opportunities. In France, financial analysis is concentrated in the hands of some thirty financial intermediaries and the largest asset management companies. Only a handful of independent analysts remain, specializing mainly in mid-cap stocks.
The M&A analyst assists companies in the process of merging or acquiring companies, within the framework of their financial packages. This advisory role promotes and ensures external growth by identifying opportunities for the sale, merger or acquisition of companies.
What are the most interesting aspects of this job ? The human contact, and the adrenalin of the deal! The salary is also very attractive. A junior M&A analyst can expect a salary of between €70,000 and €115,000 gross per annum from the first year, including bonus.
The aim of Equity Research is to provide the market with valuable information on companies, sectors and market trends. The day-to-day mission of an Equity Research analyst is to produce comprehensive reports or analysis notes on various sectors (climate, technology, health, energy...) at a steady pace. Unsurprisingly, Equity Research, although less renowned than M&A or Private Equity, remains a popular and therefore highly sought-after field of activity !
A trader is a financial professional who places buy and sell orders with the aim of making a profit. These financial products can include stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities and derivatives, with the aim of making a profit. To profit from price fluctuations on the financial markets, traders must constantly analyze the financial markets and follow trends to make informed buying and selling decisions. The qualities required for this profession are: a thorough understanding of the workings of the economy, sophisticated mathematical models and statistics. Last but not least, the trader needs to be able to cope with stress, as the trading rooms (or front office) in which he or she works are always bustling, even if they are less noisy than they used to be.
The consulting profession touches on all fields. That's why there's a wide choice of specializations in this field. For example, the job of strategy consultant is radically different from that of project management consultant. Here are some of the most common consulting professions :
marketing/digital transformation consultant
human resources consultant
wealth management consultant
finance transformation consultant
M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions) is a generic term used to describe a transaction in which one company is absorbed by, or merges with, another. Thanks to an M&A operation, a company can increase its purchasing power by buying raw materials, tools or services.
M&A involves advising companies on their external growth strategy. As part of an M&A team, you'll be called upon to provide your expertise to company directors on their buyout or sale opportunities. It's a job where financial analysis and strategic sense are at the heart of your daily reflections.
The LBO or "Leveraged Buy-Out" is a type of operation as emblematic as it is specific, which consists of buying a company using leverage (increasing financing through debt). In fact, the number of LBO deals has risen sharply in recent years.
An LBO is a financial mechanism that enables a holding company to acquire another company, known as the target company, largely through debt, which is repaid from the profits generated by the target.
Project Finance involves financing the construction and foundations of specific large-scale projects. These projects are generally essential services for the population. Examples include fiber-optic rollouts, wind turbines, freeways and waste treatment plants. Repayment of loan funds is based almost entirely on the project's cash flow.
Salaries in the financial sector are among the highest in France. In concrete terms, an M&A job in France pays between €70,000 gross per annum and €115,000 gross per annum in the first year, including bonuses. Internship salaries in this sector range from €1,500 to €3,000 per month.
Remuneration in market finance is also extremely high. For example, a Sales Junior in Paris, France, will earn €75,000 gross per annum in the first year, including bonus.
All our tips for landing an M&A internship are available on our blog.
The trainee's role can be summed up in 4 key missions :
Searching for information.
Financial modeling with Excel
The process: organizing meetings, monitoring the various parties involved in a deal: auditors, lawyers, consultants.
At Lazard, for example, interns are fully integrated into deals and operations. Depending on the project, the intern will have a wide variety of tasks: preparing PowerPoint slides, IMs (Information Memoranda), teasers, documents to be submitted to the Board. A large part of the trainee's time is devoted to information gathering.
Private equity or "capital-investissement" refers to a form of investment in which an investor dedicates part of his or her capital to the development of an unlisted company. Popular with both institutional and individual investors, private equity is said to offer higher returns than traditional asset classes, since the target companies are unlisted.
Hard to get into, private equity internships in Paris are highly remunerative, with bonuses of up to €2,500 at the end of the internship !
The most widely recognized certifications (and therefore certainly the most useful if you want to work in this field) are :
Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA)
Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA)
You can gain initial experience by joining a finance association at your school. Such an investment won't have the same value as an internship, but it will show your motivation and attraction to the field. You can also train on your own with online courses (see : Free Blommberg certification for students).