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Investment Banking Hiring Timeline

This post was written and researched by Haley Calkins ‘ 17 who has gone through the process and secured a full time job.

Investment Banking, Sales & Trading, Capital Markets – Recruitment and Preparation Timeline

The competition for full-time analyst roles in investment banking is fierce. Sadly, too many students go unaware of the accelerated and intense recruitment process. While some understand that their junior year internships will result in full-time offers, they fail to prepare accordingly for the competition to obtain these internships. We want to ensure Bucknell students are successfully navigating the investment banking recruitment process, including securing a rising senior summer internship with a top bank and subsequently landing their ‘dream job.’

Before getting into the thick of the general IB timeline, we want Bucknell students to be aware of CDC resources that could be of huge help: Most notably, Bucknell’s finance consultant stands ready to meet with students. If you are thinking about investment banking, it would be a mistake not to meet with the CDC finance consultant. To make an appointment reach out to the Career Development Center by email or call 570-577-1238 or of course stop in to set up an appointment!

  • CDC Tip: Key programs you must attend are:
    • NYC Finance Fair: late September/early October
    • Finance Jump Start: current program dates included November 5, January 28, February 11
    • Wall Street Series 
    • Check for additional programs and employer info sessions scheduled throughout the fall and spring – like UBS on 10/26!
    • Check the Bridge for more information regarding these programs and others. 

As for how to best navigate the investment banking recruitment process, the key is starting early. Below we’ve detailed the preparation you should be doing your sophomore, junior, and senior years.

First Years – Don’t stress out yet – enjoy your first year of college! If you already know that you want to pursue the finance route, design your schedule so that you are taking courses aligned with this discipline. You might also explore the Investment Club and begin to connect with other students interested in investment banking.  Begin reading the Wall Street Journal and other publications that investment professionals use.  Visit the CDC and become acquainted with the services; create your first resume and cover letter.

Rising Sophomore Summer – Begin researching, networking, gathering company information, and learning about companies, roles, etc. One of the easiest ways to absorb information about the finance industry is job shadowing. Regardless of where you job shadow, contingent that it is in finance, the experience will be invaluable and easily leveraged.

Sophomores – In the fall, continue researching different firms as well as the various departments within the firms. Start to gain a sense of what banks you’d most like to work at, as well as the areas within the bank that most interest you (whether it be sales & trading, asset management, investment banking, capital markets, operations, etc.). Speak to the juniors and seniors who have worked at these firms. It is critical that you are known and participating in campus activities that bring finance students together.

  • CDC Tip: Finalize your resume—go to the CDC and have a counselor look at it and/or reach out to Bucknell alumni to gain his/her feedback, thus enabling you to tailor it for finance roles.
  • CDC Tip: Start following the markets. This entails reading the Wall Street Journal every day—make it a priority.

And finally, research sophomore programs with various banks that you could apply to. The easiest way to do this and stay on top of deadlines entails crafting a spreadsheet with the names of the programs, application deadlines, and application components (i.e. resume, cover letter, essays, etc.).

The spring of your sophomore year is when you hone in on your interests (i.e. sales & trading or investment banking) and continue establishing your network. If you haven’t already, begin reaching out to Bucknell alumni that work in your area of interest.  Once again, put together a spreadsheet with notable alumni that you would find useful speaking with. Then, start calling!

Finally, you want to apply for sophomore internships in the finance industry—internships that will develop your basic finance knowledge and skill set, and subsequently enable you to leverage these skills as you apply for your junior internship. Many firms offer internships to sophomores with many targeted at diverse students and women. We encourage all students to apply in order to gain experience in the application process, get on the firms’ radar, as well as become better acquainted with the firms and the expectations.

Rising Junior Summer – Intern in a finance, sales, analytical, and/or investment-related role. Develop your network at key firms and specific divisions, including finalizing your target list (similar to how you selected your college list – consider both ‘reach’ and ‘safety’ firms).  Develop your strategy for your search, which begins at the end of the summer/early fall. Return to school having developed relationships with alums, friends, and family at each firm who will serve as coaches, advisors, and advocates in your internship search.

Juniors – Important to note is that the recruitment process for junior internships in banking has accelerated to an August/September initial screening. As a precaution, expect early September application deadlines with initial phone screenings taking place mid to late September. With interviews starting this early, students could receive full-time offers as early as the beginning of October with the recruitment process wrapping up end of October. What does this mean for you? Start early! We (clearly) can’t emphasize this enough. Ideally, when you return to school for your junior year, you should have already spoken with a number of alumni. More importantly, work to establish relationships with some of these alumni—while this isn’t realistic for all the people you speak with, there will be a few that you will connect with more personally. Use this as an opportunity to identify ‘friends’ or ‘allies’ within the firm—someone that will be willing to refer you for an internship or full-time position.  

A second and primary component of your preparation should be for technical interview questions. Start this preparation before you arrive back on campus. It’s important to keep in mind how fast you can go from ‘applicant’ to ‘interview candidate.’ As soon as you submit your first application, you should ideally have already prepared for both technical and behavioral aspects of an interview so that you are only reviewing in the days approaching your first interview.

In sum, while the recruitment process may seem intimidating, don’t be shy when it comes to utilizing CDC resources…we are here to help! Make a plan, stick to it, and opportunities will fly your way. Good luck!


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