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Bank of America Insight Programme Review

  • Work/Life Balance

  • Practical Skills Learnt

  • Live Up To Expectations

How long was your insight programme?

One week


What departments did you get to experience?

Every division at the bank talked to us at some point over the week. The majority of the time this was through ‘panel chats’ where 4 or 5 representatives of the division would come and answer your questions about the roles and responsibilities of the division. Others would run interactive sessions such as the sales based ‘stock-pitch game’ and the trading based games we took part in.

There was even a very interactive innovation forum. The divisions I picked to shadow were Credit Risk and Market Risk. Whilst the two sound the same, their day-to-day operations could not be more different. We were given a huge amount to try and understand during the work shadowing periods, but you are not in any way expected to remember the technical information, merely get a feel for what a role in that division entails.


What hours were you generally in the office?

The days tended to be 8:30 to 6, this was made extended longer if there were networking events in the evening. The majority of our time was actually spent in conference auditoriums or the main hall at the St Paul’s building. Chances to see the trade floor usually had to be arranged by you.


Were there any networking opportunities?

Plenty, one piece of advice that everyone on the panel chats gave was network, network, network. The people at the bank were extremely friendly and approachable, and you had plenty of exposure to every division. The welcome drinks and the celebration meal were the main events where you would get to talk one-on-one at length with someone at the bank. Even over lunch, every day there were people there to talk to and get business cards from. I don’t think anyone should underestimate how highly banks rate networking as a skill.


What did your experiences teach you about the industry?

That people at the bank are so diverse and have made their way into the industry in such interesting ways. Many of the people we had spoken to had not even considered careers in the financial sector before hitting 30. Investment banks are looking for aptitude in particular skills, not just for people with technical knowledge. They understand that this can be taught, and generally those who they have employed will learn at a quick pace.


Do you believe there are any common misconceptions about investment banks?

Too many to count, but most of them I have seen to be unfounded. I got to meet such a broad range of people both on the insight week, and employed by the bank. People of different cultures, ethnicities, gender, sexualities. It seems now that the industry really is beginning to take diversity seriously and realise that in order to be the best, you have to take into account the opinions of everyone in society, not just the select few. In terms of the divisions of the bank as well, we met fun and lively people from Compliance, happy traders and really cool Technology staff. Whilst there is still some stereotyping of the people within each division, this usually just acts as a bit of fun between people as opposed to serious thought.


What was the most enjoyable part of your experience?

My favourite part was the celebration dinner. The representatives of the bank were extremely friendly, all trying to prove they were the biggest film buffs by desert. Everyone that was on the program were much more relaxed now that the assessments were over and the competitive part of the week had finished.


What would you have done more of on the scheme if you had the chance?

The division I was interested in changed during the week, meaning that a lot of the networking I had done on the first few days was largely irrelevant. So I would have spoken to a wider range of people from the very start, because I now have a lot of contacts in Risk, but not many in Global Markets where I would like to intern.


What advice would you give a student considering applying for the scheme?

Do your utmost to get on the scheme, it does not really matter which division you apply for as you will have the opportunity to speak to all of them. Also keep an open mind about which division you want to work for. There may be the perfect role in one of the less sought after divisions such as Risk and Compliance. It does help to talk to someone who has already gone through the process of the online application and telephone interview just to get you in the right mind set and to get an idea of what the interviewer is looking for from an answer. There are plenty of lists of competency questions online as well as techniques for answering them, do your homework.


Has it made you more or less inclined to apply for a Bank of America internship?

Definitely more, I have been told by people that Bank of America are a particularly friendly group of people and that the culture is much less oppressive than in other competing banks.


Were there any fast track opportunities available for participating in the scheme?

Yes, there was an entire session on what to expect from the assessment centre should you be fast tracked from the insight week. It is a big perk of going on such a week and is what everyone is really aiming for.


If you had to sum up your experience in 3 words what would they be?

Enjoyable, enlightening and demanding






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