Spring Week [2021]: Practice, Ace the Tests & Secure an Offer - JobTestPrep
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Is It Hard to Get a Spring Internship?

Short answer – yes.

It is hard to get a Spring Insight, in the same way, that every position is hard to get in the competitive investment banking world.

Let’s look at the numbers.

  • BB banks receive around 6,000 applications per year.
  • However, they are offering only around 60 positions. Not a good ratio.

And this is for the big banks. The smaller ones offer even less, even though they don’t necessarily get fewer applications. Which makes it that much harder to get in.

Tip: Some banks offer off-cycle insight programmes. The value is the same and so is the screening process, but the number of applicants might be lower. Hence, they can be a bit less competitive. This is also a good option if you missed your Spring Week deadlines.

Because the banks have a lot of applicants, they use online tests and assessment centres to eliminate a large portion of them. Which means that if you don’t get a high score, they will not even look at your application.

How high? Well, Morgan Stanley only looks at applicants that score in the 90th percentile. Yes, you read that correctly!

So, how can you beat the competition and secure a spring internship?
Ace the online tests.

Let’s see how.


Get Accurate Preparation for Every Bank You Apply To

If you apply to several banks, which you should, then you will probably encounter at least one of these tests:

  • Numerical Reasoning
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Logical Reasoning
  • Situational Judgment

While the basic idea of each test is roughly the same for every bank, the question types might be very different, depending on the test provider.
Most banks use these 4 major test providers:

  • SHL
  • Talent Q
  • Kenexa
  • AON (cut-e)

To get you ready for ALL major banks, we have created this preparation pack.
It includes practice questions, guides, and explanations for each of the 4 major test providers, and for the assessment centres. Which means that this pack has got you covered even if you apply to several banks in the next month.

Ready to get a high score & beat your competition to every bank you apply for?


Spring Week Online Tests – Sample Questions (With Solutions)

Numerical Reasoning Test

Since banking is a numbers game, the most popular test used by banks is the Numerical Reasoning. The emphasis would be the ability to read charts and tables and analyze the data quickly and efficiently.

Let’s see how a question in the test might look like:

Spring Week Numerical Sample Question

In 1990 the population of France was 56.5 million people. Since then, it has been growing at a 0.4% rate per year. Approximately how many more/less applications were submitted in France in 2012 than in 2010?

Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is (D) - 384 less

Consider 1990 France-population as 100%. Therefore, an increase of 0.4% a year, makes the population in each year that follows 1990: 100% + 0.4% = 100.4% of its previous year's population. Expressing it in decimal to ease the calculations:
100% + 0.4% = 100/100 + 0.4/100 = 1 + 0.004 = 1.004

Start by calculating the population in 2010 and in 2012 according to the formula:
Pop. in year Y = Pop. in 1990 x (1 + annual percentage increase)No. of years passed since 1990
Population in 2010 = 56,500,000 X (1.004)20 = 61,195,953.22 ≈ 61,195,953
Population in 2012 = 56,500,000 X (1.004)22 = 61,686,499.98 ≈ 61,686,500

Next, calculate the number of applications submitted in 2010 and in 2012 according to the formula:
Applications submitted in year Y = Population in year Y x (No. of applications per million inhabitants / 1,000,000)
Applications submitted in 2010 = 61,195,953 x (241.89 / 1,000,000) = 14,802.7 ≈ 14,803
Applications submitted in 2012 = 61,686,500 x (233.74 / 1,000,000) = 14,418.6 ≈ 14,419

Finally, subtract the number of applications submitted in 2010 from the number of applications submitted in 2012:
14,419 ― 14,803 = ―384
Notice! The negative sign before the difference in the applications' number stands for 'less' applications in 2012 than 2010.
Thus, 384 less applications were submitted in France in 2012 than in 2010.

Note: These questions have a lot of data, not all of it is relevant to the answer. To answer quickly, you need to learn a technique that will help you sort out all the data and beat the clock. You can find this technique and many others in our full preparation pack.

Logical Reasoning Test

The most popular type of Logical Reasoning questions is the logical sequence. Again, this is designed to test your analytical skills and to see how you can cope with new details that you have never seen before.

Let’s see how a question like this might look like:

Spring Week Logical Sample Question

 

Find the answer that completes the logical sequence matrix correctly.

Spring Week Logical Sample Question

Were you able to complete the sequence?

Solution and Explanation

The correct answer is the bottom-center alternative.

Columns: Each cell consists of three symbols, dictated by the following logic: when moving from one cell to the cell
below it, the symbols “move” one step to the left each time so that a new symbol appears from the
right and the left symbol disappears. The sequence is not continuous throughout the Matrix’s columns,
as each column is based on a different sequence of symbols.

Thus, in order to find the symbols in the missing cell, we need to “move” the symbols from the cell
above it one step to the left, resulting in ‘×’ and ‘☼’ becoming the left and middle symbols respectively.
Next, we need to work backwards and “move” the symbols from the cell below it one step to the right,
resulting in ‘≠’ becoming the right symbol. Therefore, the correct answer is #13.

Rows: None of the symbols appears more than once in the same row.

Note: Symbol questions like this have patterns that are used over and over again. The trick is to know how to identify the pattern quickly. For example, let’s look at the sample question. The fact that in each column there is a diagonal line of identical symbols (‘€’ in the left column and ‘∆’ in the right column) serves as a hint to indicate that this is a “movement of a sequence of symbols” question. Techniques like this are offered in our preparation pack.

Situational Judgment Test

This test is designed to evaluate your personality regarding the work environment. It seems there are no wrong or right answers, but actually – there are.

Let’s see it in an example:

You have recently started your internship in a global law firm headquartered in London. You have just finished writing a long and tedious report that is going to be delivered to your office manager. Martin, a more experienced and well-respected intern from your office, tells you that he thinks it is possible to improve your report by making some alterations in a few sections.

What would you do in this situation?
Rank TWO of the following options, one as the BEST and one as the WORST.

  1. Thank Martin politely for his suggestions but leave the report as it is since you trust your own judgement.
  2. Discuss the suggested changes with Martin and try to understand the reasoning behind each of them.
  3. Make some of the changes Martin has suggested but retain the core elements that you think work best.
  4. Make all the changes Martin offered, trusting his greater experience.

So, what do you think?

Solution and Explanation

Primary competencies: Openness to criticism
Secondary competencies: Building and maintaining relationships; Independence, achievement striving
Best response: 2
Worst response: 1

Explanation: In this scenario, you deliberate on whether to rely on your own judgment of your work or to accept criticism from a colleague.
Let's consider each response individually:

Response #1: This response displays an inability to work in a team since you do not seem to trust your colleagues. You do not seem to handle criticism well or consider it a chance for possible improvement. Thus, this is a very negative response choice.

Response #2: Since you are willing to listen to Martin's criticism and learn from it, you display excellent abilities to work in a team and build positive relationships. In addition, you are modest and open to other ideas. This response will lead to a better report, which is in the company's interest, and you may learn something new and develop as a professional. This is a very positive choice.

Response #3: In this response you don't appear to try and understand Martin's criticism. Rather, you decide to implement some of the minor changes without touching the core elements. This response does not display a high level of team work and openness to criticism; however, it is not the worst choice.

Response #4: In this response you don't appear to try and understand Martin's criticism. Rather, you decide to implement all the changes he suggests without further consideration. This response does not display a high level of teamwork and independence, as you leave no room for your own point of view and rely solely on your colleague's opinion. Nevertheless, it is slightly better than response #1 because you display the ability to accept others' opinions and are open to criticism. This is not a negative response choice, but it isn't a positive one either.

Note: The hard thing with this type of questions is its weird structure. Marking two answers is not something you got used to in your school days. Practising makes you familiar with different types of questions. It will reduce the stress and help you perform much better.

How to Ace the Spring Week Tests and Get a High Score

As you have seen in the examples above, none of these tests present very hard questions.
The problem starts with the time limit.

You will have very little time to answer a lot of questions, and it can get very stressful. Imagine you have only 30 seconds to answer a numerical question. Or 50 seconds for a logical question. Not that easy anymore, is it?

The best way to ace the tests is to practise. Talk to your alumni, to your 2nd and 3rd year, they will tell you the same. I can’t stress enough how this is the safest way to get it right. Even if you over do it and the test will be easy, you will be glad you did it once you get invited for an interview.

Practise will make sure:

  • No Surprises – Familiarize yourself with all question types and reduce stress
  • Fast – Know how to answer very quickly and beat the time limit
  • All Banks – Know how to ace the tests for ALL the central banks

Ace the test & score higher than your competition!

 

Want more information about Spring Insight?
Let’s start from the top.


What Is Spring Week?

Spring Weeks are internship programmes offered to 1st-year students in a 3-year course, or 2nd year students in a 4-year course.

Note: If you are a 2nd year student in a 3-year course, you can also apply! Go to the FAQ section at the end of the guide to understand how.

Spring Insights are usually offered by all BB banks (Bulge Bracket banks), and some smaller or boutique banks as well. All programmes are taking place in London, while some offer additional programmes in locations like Glasgow or Frankfurt.

Depending on the bank, some internships are generalist, which means that you will go through different divisions, while others are divisional, which means you will spend your time only in one division.

During the programme you will get a chance to experience what it is to work in a big bank and network with industry people. You will be shadowing employees of the bank and see exactly what their day looks like. Exciting stuff!


When Does Spring Insight Happens, and Is It Really a Week?

Spring Week Timeline

 

As the name suggests, the Spring Week usually takes place in April, around the easter holiday.
Because this programme is designed for students, it is aligned with the academic year schedule. Easter holiday is the perfect timing to get the students while they are free from university duties.

Note: some banks will offer off-cycle insight internships. Those can take place any time other than spring, and are a good solution if you missed the Spring Week deadlines.

The programmes mostly last between 4 and 7 days, in some cases they can even stretch to a full two weeks.

One week seems short, doesn’t it? Well, not quite…
As short as they are, spring weeks are VERY IMPORTANT. Here is why.


Why Spring Insights Are So Important?

from Spring Week to full time job

 

This is the equation that has become the standard for investment banking career.
Is it the only way? Of course not, but you can’t deny that every year more and more candidates go through this process.

Let’s break it down and understand how it has come to be this way.

Banks Internships History in a Nutshell

Investment Banking is a HIGHLY COMPETITIVE field, with some arguing that it is the hardest field to get into. Especially when you are looking at the BB banks, which are obviously the most desired places to get into.

These banks know how competitive it can get, so they decided to start screening and looking at good candidates early on. How did they do that? Summer internships for students. If they perform well and impress whomever needs impressing, they are offered a full-time job. WIN!

Nowadays, the wildest dream for any student is to land the summer internship. They know it will improve their chances to get a job offer, as external hiring is becoming more and more scarce.

This is why summer internships have become very competitive, and the chances of landing one in a desired BB bank are plummeting every year. Again, banks know this, which led them to start screening good candidates even earlier. Hence, Spring Week (or off-cycle insight internship).

Tip: to raise your chances of getting a Spring Week offer, apply to several banks. If you get in more than one – great! It is recommended to go to as many SW as you possibly can.

Spring Insight Will Fast-Track You to a Summer Internship

Getting a summer internship without a SW on your resume is possible, but it’s getting much more difficult. The same way banks first look at summer internships to hire full-timers, they are first looking at SW to offer summer internships.

As you will shortly see, the application process for Spring Insight is not a walk in the park.
So, you can only imagine how long and hard it is to apply for Summer Internships.

  • A successful Spring Week will fast-track you straight to the last step of the application process for summer internship.
  • Even more than that, if you excel, they will offer you a summer internship position on the spot! With no extra screening at all.

Imagine how crazy it is to secure a summer internship in the end of your first year. Months before others even start their application process. And all because you applied successfully to a Spring Insight programme.


When to Apply for Spring Insights?

Apply as early as possible!

Let’s break it down and understand why:

  • Rolling Basis – although we don’t exactly know how it works in each bank, we do know that a lot of them recruit on a rolling basis. Which basically means that they go through the applications in batches, and once they fill all their spots – they stop looking. Yeah, even if you are a top candidate that they would hate to lose.
  • Competition – most of the candidates apply around November. And if we said that firms look at applicants in batches, the earlier you apply, the smaller your batch. The smaller your batch, the less the competition.

What does it mean regarding the timeline?
Most banks open for applications around September, and the deadlines go all the way up to December, sometimes January.

Note: it is different for each bank. Best if you check in the desired bank’s official site for specific dates.

Wait a minute. September? You do remember that we are talking about 1st year, yeah? My CV is still empty, no experience and even no GPA. Doesn’t make any sense!

You are right, it’s a bit tricky.
Let me put some sense into it.

How Do I Know If I Should Apply to Spring Internship Now or Later?

If you are a 2nd year in a 4-year course then you don’t have any problem. You already have a GPA, hopefully a good one. And you already have enough experience to put in your CV. That is if you prepared yourself properly for this moment. In this case, you are well advised to apply right now. Yesterday even. No point in waiting, your chances can only drop while you wait.

If you are a 1st year in a 3-year course, then you need to stop and think for a moment.
Answer me this – how does your CV look? Do you have some relevant experience to put in there?

  • Yes, I have a solid CV – you should apply as early as possible.
  • No, it doesn’t look very good – you are advised to wait a bit, let’s say until mid-late October. By that time, you would already start school and have time to put something down as work experience.

Which Investment Banks Have Spring Insight Programmes?

Basically, all the BB banks offer these internships, and then some.
They differ from one another in the stages of the application process, the length of the internship and whether it is general or divisional programme.

Note: the following information is an estimate based on past years. The details might change a bit.

Let’s talk about some of the major and most desired players out there.

JP Morgan Spring Week

Duration: 1 week

Includes:

3 different paths:

  • Finance degree
  • Non-finance degree
  • Technology business

Application Process:

  • CV and Cover Letter
  • Phone interview
  • Recorded video interview
Goldman Sachs Spring Week

Duration: 2 weeks

Includes:

divisional internship:

  • Engineering
  • Global Markets
  • Investment Banking
  • Legal
  • Operations

During the programme you will be shadowing actual employees and work on a case study.

Application Process:

  • CV
  • Recorded video interview
  • Phone interview
Morgan Stanley Spring Week

Duration: 1 week

Includes: 

A general programme, in which you will visit divisions like Investment Banking, Global Capital Markets, Bank Resource Management, Sales and Trading etc.

Application Process:

  • CV and Cover Letter
  • Online tests: Numerical Reasoning, Logical Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning tests
  • 2 phone interviews: the first is competency based, the second can be technical (case study)
Credit Suisse Spring Week

Duration: 5 days

Includes: 

Divisional Internship:

  • Investment Banking
  • Technology

In addition to experiencing the division itself, you will also take part in skills sessions, CV workshops and networking events.

Application Process:

  • CV and cover letter
  • Online assessment
  • 2 phone interviews

Learn more about the Credit Suisse online assessment and application process.

HSBC Spring Week

Duration: 4 days

Includes: 

General programme, which includes:

  • Work shadowing
  • Case study sessions
  • Networking events
  • Meet senior bankers
  • Skills workshops

Application Process:

  • CV
  • Online tests – Numerical Reasoning and situational Judgment
  • Recorded video interview
  • Phone interview
UBS Spring Week

Duration: 2 days

Includes:

General programme, including skill sessions and networking events.

Application Process:

  • CV
  • Online tests – Numerical Reasoning and Situational Judgment test
  • Recorded video interview

Learn more about the UBS online assessment and application process.

Barclays Spring Week

Duration: 1 week

Includes:

Divisional programme which includes:

  • Skills sessions such as technical training and leadership
  • Training in the specific division
  • Interactive online learning content
  • Team integration
  • Social impact projects
  • Networking events

Application Process:

  • CV
  • Online tests – Numerical Reasoning and Situational Judgment
  • Recorded video interview
Deutsche Bank Spring Week

Duration: 1 week

Includes:

General programme, during which you will go through several divisions. You will be shadowing each division and have networking events.

Application Process:

  • CV and Cover Letter
  • Online tests – situational judgment test
  • 2 phone interviews
Citi Spring Week

Duration: 1 week

Includes:

A divisional programme in one of the following:

  • Capital Markets
  • Corporate Banking
  • Investment Banking
  • Markets and Securities Services
  • Private Bank
  • Treasury and Trade Solutions

You will be shadowing in your division and attend networking events.
In your application you will be asked to rank the top 3 divisions you would like to intern in.

Application Process:

  • CV and cover letter
  • Numerical Reasoning online test
  • Video interview
  • Phone interview
Bank of America Spring Week

Duration: 1 week

Includes:

Divisional programme in which you will be shadowing 2 lines of business of your choice.

Application Process:

  • CV
  • Video interview
  • Phone interview
BNP Paribas Spring Week

Duration: 4 days

Includes:

General programme, which includes:

  • Workshops
  • Work shadowing
  • Case studies

Application Process:

  • CV
  • Online tests – Logical Reasoning test (Switch Challenge)
  • Video interview
  • Might be called in for an assessment center

Note: more banks are offering programmes, these are just the major ones.

As you have seen, a big portion of the major banks (and some of the smaller ones we didn’t cover) uses online tests.

Start Practising now for ALL banks (including those which are not listed above).


Conclusion

The Spring Week is a very important first step into the investment banking world.
The fact that you are only starting your 1st year should not confuse you – if you don’t get at least one Spring Insight, you will stay behind!
It is quite overwhelming, but very much possible and worth the effort.

Use all the information and tips I have given you and spring into Spring Week!
Apply for a lot of banks, and practise, practise, practise .

Good luck, I believe in you!


FAQ

Can I get a Summer Internship without doing a Spring Week?

Theoretically, yes, you can. But the competition is very tough, and your chances are slim. A Spring Week in your resume will go a long way. It will improve your chances greatly. Therefore, it is HIGHLY recommended to get a Spring Insight.

I attend a semi-target or non-target university. Do I even have a chance? Should I bother applying?

Yes, you should apply. It is true that a lot of candidates from target universities (ie. Oxbridge, UCL, LSE, Imperial and Warwick) are getting accepted. But they are not the only ones. If you are a strong candidate, with a good CV, a high score in the online tests and a very good interview – you will be accepted, regardless of where you attend.

I am a 2nd year in a 3-year course. Can I still apply?

Yes, you can. The only way for you to accomplish this to add a 1-year master to your course, which means you now have 3 years ahead of you. In that case, your application will be considered.

How does the Coronavirus affect Spring Internships?

The truth is no one knows. Last year, for example, almost all Spring Weeks were cancelled, and every bank handled it differently. Some moved the internship online; others offered fast-tracking the interns to summer internships of the next year. What we do know is that all banks are getting ready for it and open applications, some of them will probably move the whole process online. So, you should apply. If you find yourself in a few months with no secured Spring Insights, you will be very sorry.

The online tests are very easy, why should I practise?

It is true that the questions are easy, but remember – you have a tight time limit. If you are not well prepared you will find it is very hard to get a good score. The more you practise, the better you get. The better you get, the higher your chance to get a Spring Week.

SHL, Talent Q, Kenexa, AON, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, HSBC, UBS, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Citi, Bank of America, BNP and other trademarks are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are affiliated with JobTestPrep or this website.
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