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Application Timeline

Here is a brief application timeline that we have created to indicate the different steps that go into applying to an internship. Note: The timeline may change firm-to-firm so it is worth taking a look at each firm’s own application timeline (usually on their career website area).

Online Application

This might include a cover letter (or alternative e.g. Goldman Sachs 300 Words).

Online Tests

You will then have to complete a series of online tests.



Telephone Interview

A short interview which contain a mixture of situational, behavioural and competency based questions

Face-to-Face Interview and Assessment Centre

A series of interviews and tasks  which can happen over a day or a few days.

Corporate Finance Overview

There are many different roles within ‘Corporate Finance’ across different employers. The list below helps to show you a few of the different areas to help you with deciding where you may want to apply. The diagram explores:


  • Banks (Sell- Side)

  • Institutional Asset Managers (Buy-Side)

  • Public Accounting Firms

  • Corporates (Issuers)



We also highly recommend you take a look at CFI’s ‘Career Map’ this helps to split the industry into different types and asks several different ‘goodness of fit’ questions to help you gain a deeper understanding of the different roles and skills which are required. If you are still unsure, feel free to contact anybody from WBS for advice! 

CVs and Cover Letters

CVs and Cover Letters are usually very straightforward to get good. Before asking for advice or attending any sessions on CV/Cover Letters it is best to have a look at a lot of examples. Whilst CVs are usually all very similar you do want to make sure yours is not identical to all the others. Therefore, it is best to take a look at a lot of different examples and to then adapt to your preferences, how much content you have, and your own personal preferences. At the end of the day, you want your CV to reflect you so it should not be the same as these examples, however, they are a useful guideline for the style you need to adapt. 

Here are some useful links for CVs: Mergers and Inquisitions TemplateCFI Template

Here are some useful links for Cover Letters: Mergers and Inquisitions Cover Letter, CFI Cover Letter

CV Tips


CVs are the first thing that firms will look at when considering your application, therefore, it is crucial that you do not make some key mistakes. Here are a few do’s and don’t we advise: 


  • Make sure the layout is clear, concise, and one 1-page 


  • Lie – although this may seem stupid, lying about things like languages, skills (e.g. excel) can come back to haunt you as often in interviews they may then ask you about this 

  • Make stupid grammar/spelling mistakes

Preparing Your CV


About 80% of the time in CV checking is spent on suggesting formatting changes and CV 'mistakes' that can be easily avoided, so before you send over your CV to use to check, using this link, use: 

Cover Letter Tips

  • Paragraph 1  – Current status, the current first year or second-year student, studying x, on track for first or distinction applying for y.

  • Paragraph 2 – why you’re interested in them:

    • Use your firm profiles to support this – but don’t just make this a ‘ticking box’ for matching the firm’s values. It requires focus and genuineness. Usually ‘because of the people at the firm is a strong response and connecting with analysts (as an example) e.g. on LinkedIn for a brief call to gain an insight into the firm is a good approach for this – but depends on time constraints.

    • Give 2 or 3 points for why firm.

    • Getting involved in online webinars and workshops is a great way to gain an insight into ‘why the firm’


  •  Paragraph 3 – Why you’re a good fit:

    • List all the activities you’re involved with or have been involved with and select the most relevant skills you can draw from these.

    • If you’re entering your first year or are thin with experience to talk about e.g. struggling to find how you’re an innovative thinker, good communicator, like working under pressure, etc:

      • Make the most and get involved with uni societies/sports clubs; apply for positions of responsibility

      • Do anything you can to get actively engaged

      • Being involved with these activities gives you a greater bank of stories to draw upon

      • Linking it back to the firm – needs to be linked to skills for that division. You need to back these qualities you claim you have with specific examples.


  • Cover Letters might take you long at the start, but once you have written ‘why the division’ and ‘why you’ once round, this process quickly speeds up – but the quality assurance is very important.


  • One important thing to note is that speed must be prioritised. DO NOT wait a whole two weeks to perfect a cover letter before submitting the application if applications have opened – this will greatly minimise your chances. Being early is paramount to success. 

Preparing Cover Letters


When preparing to write your cover letters make sure you have researched the firms VERY WELL. For your research you might want to look at each firm:

  • Core Values

  • Key Cultural Traits

  • Key Management Figures

  • Financial History/Performance

  • ESG/Social/ Philanthropy

  • Recent Deals

  • Recent News


Create a Template

Cover Letters can take a really long time to perfect and to write. In order to make sure that you do not have to waste time writing it is best to create a template that you use AND ADJUST for every firm. However, DO NOT use the same cover letter as this will lead to immediate rejection. 

Your template should consider:

  • Brief Intro to you (your uni, how you were introduced to the firm, etc…)

  • Why you are interested in IB

  • Why you are interested in that particular firm 

    • This has to be the main focus as you have to link your values and experiences with that particular firm to make sure that you seem a cultural fit

  • Brief conclusion summarising and expressing why YOU should be chosen compared to the thousands of other applicants

Don't Make Mistakes

It is crucial that in your cover letter you do not make silly and stupid grammer and spelling mistakes.

Some key tips for the finalizing and reviewing stage:

  • Use Grammarly to check 

  • Ask your friends/family to read through and have a look

  • Re-read several times until you are happy with it then re-read, print off (to check the layout), and re-read one final time

  • Make sure you name the pdf something suitable to your application

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