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CUFIS Application Bible

From the President

The Cambridge University Finance and Investment Society (CUFIS)
is the leading finance society in Cambridge, dedicated to connecting
Cambridge students with the world of financial services. With over
4,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students, our core goal is to
provide our members with an engaging platform through which they
can enter a career in finance.
CUFIS acts as the bridge between our sponsors and our members.
Our activities focus on three main areas: engagement, networking,
and education. The first two of these are spearheaded by our
sponsor-led recruitment events, trips to corporate offices, dinners
and drinks allowing our members to connect and learn about the
finance world first-hand.
At the centre of our education front lies our Application Bible.
Completely revamped for this year, this is the one-stop source
for any aspiring student to get an idea of what a career in finance
entails. With information about the various divisions, roles, and
recruitment processes, we hope this will prove to be a valuable
If you discover that a finance career may be for you, there are many
more educational initiatives within CUFIS for you to further develop
your understanding. In addition to the Application Bible, we have
three Technical Guides, which contain more detailed information
about the various technical knowledge needed for interviews. We
also run sponsor-led skills workshops, a careers blog, and the RRF.
Details for all of these can be found on our website: www.cufis.co.uk
Awaken your ambition. CUFIS 2017.

Martin Luk
President 2017
Cambridge University Finance and Investment Society

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CUFIS Application Bible

Meet the Committee

Martin Luk President Oliver Wood Treasurer Amanda Ong Vice-President Shariq Varawalla Vice-President

Stan Yao Sell-Side Director Sarah Cassidy Head of Careers Samuel McKenzie Web IT Director Maryan Khalifa Marketing Co-Director

Lydia Ladbrooke Secretary Leah Grant Buy-Side Director Kuishuai Yi OFC President Katie Archibald Events Director

Josiah Jarosz Publicity Director Jinny Wang Events Diversity Director Dan Moinard RRF Manager Arpita Prasad Head of IBD

Carmen Chan Marketing Co-Director Akshat Joshi Alumni Director

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The Starting Point

1. Before you start on Investment Banking Division
Bankers in Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)
a career path are professional advisors. They encourage their
Ask yourself: clients (companies they work for) to join together
with other companies as equals (a merger),
What skills have you gained inside to buy and control a smaller company or part
and outside the university? of a company (an acquisition) or to sell part
Which of these would you like to of their own operations (a disposal).
develop the most? ECM and DCM
Who are you must comfortable Equity Capital Markets (ECM) and Debt Capital
working with: people, projects, Markets (DCM) are where financial products
clients or computers? are created as solutions for their clients to raise
Do you prefer small, medium funds in the primary market. With ECM bankers
or large corporations? help manage IPOs (Initial Public Offering) and
DCM bankers issue various types of bonds.
Do you want to be based locally
or globally? Sales, Trading and Research
Do you want to study for further The hub of the Investment Banks market
qualifications? operations-buying and selling shares, bonds
derivatives, and more. Salespeople are the client
facing role selling the banks products; traders
2. If you decide banking may are those that buy and sell on the secondary
market. All of which is underpinned by the
be the career path for you research conducted.
Research the options available to you: from Operations and Back Office
Asset Management, to Investment Banking,
The foundation of the bank. Unlike the positions
to Sales and Trading. You can even attend
explained above, they do not have client
company presentations and networking
exposure, but make sure everything in the bank
events to hear their opinions on which
runs smoothly. Positions in operations include
option may be more suited to yourself.
risk management, treasury management,
These events are mostly run throughout
clearing, compliance and technology.
Michaelmas term in which you sign up prior
to attending. Here, you talk to employees Asset Management Fund Manager
of the bank and often hear presentations
The person responsible for implementing
of the future of the firm. It is always useful
a funds investing strategy and managing
to have contacts within the bank you are
its portfolio trading activities. As a graduate
applying or even names of people you
you cannot directly apply to be a fund manager;
spoke to during these events in your cover
it takes years of experience before you can
letter, to illustrate to the bank that you are
consider this role.
interested in their company.
Asset Management Analysts and Economists
Analysts research companies/governments to
determine its financial condition and will make
TOP TIP recommendations to buy or sell this stock/bond
Consult our technical guides for the based on economic conditions. An economist
intricacies of each of the roles available. provides an opinion on the future of the market
and general economy based on financial and
economic models that you develop and maintain.

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3. Gain experience First year (or equivalent): Spring Week

A week-long programme introducing
The career path in finance is particularly the banking industry.
formulaic, with several important steps and Application open as early as August.
levels. Therefore, if you are considering a career Interviews conducted over November
in investment banking, its best to act early, in the or later. Usually consist of several online
first year of your degree. psychometric tests and one round of
The specific process varies between banks and phone interviews (and sometimes another
divisions, but as a general guide it all begins at the bank).
with a Spring Week in the Easter holiday of your The programme itself is in April.
first year (or second year, for a four year course). Some who complete the Spring Week
If this goes well, you may be offered a longer are fast tracked onto the Summer Internship
internship, during the summer holiday of the of that bank the following academic year.
next academic year Then, if this also goes well,
you may be offered a graduate job for when you Penultimate year: Summer Internship
finish university. 810 weeks interning as a Summer Analyst.
Do note, that with people applying across Applications open as early as July.
Europe and positions awarded on a rolling basis, Interviews conducted throughout the year.
it is advisable to apply early to many different
banks to be successful. However, the number of This varies from company to company,
applications is up to yourself. Do be aware that and often consists of a telephone
applications are time consuming, so its advisable interview, followed by an assessment
to start them as early as possible before centre (with several interviews, a group
Cambridge term gets fully underway. exercise and
a case study).
The internship itself is from mid-June until
late August.
Beware that there is a limited but real
chance of the internship clashing with
May Week.
Within IBD, you are either working
as a generalist or situated in a team,
dependent on the bank.
Within markets, you often rotate between
23 desks.
A successful internship can lead to
a full-time job offer.

Graduates: Full-time roles

It is never too late to apply for banking jobs.
If you have a strong CV, you could apply
for full-time roles without prior experience
in the bank.
The application cycle often starts in
September, once the full-time offers for
interns are finalised, but may also be
year-round, so it is important to keep

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The Process
This is a general guide and the actual process varies between banks and divisions.

Application Form

Online Tests CV & Cover Letter

The Offer

First Round Interview

Assessment Centre

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CUFIS Application Bible

The Application Form

To apply, you begin with the application form In answering these questions you should:
present on the careers website of the bank you Be direct and concise. Answer the
wish to apply to. question asked.
Be personal and make it as specific
The Generic Questions to the bank as you can.
With most application forms, you can log Drop in technical knowledge and current
in and out numerous times to complete affairs if you can.
the form. Use real examples. Emphasise
With that, you create a username and your role.
password for ease. Check the companys website,
Youre asked for personal information: particularly their Corporate
your name, University, home address. Responsibility section. This is often
full of company initiatives or principles
Alongside this, youre also asked to divulge that the company aspires to live by.
your employee and student history; which
includes past grades for some banks and Try to match the principle/initiative
predicted university grades for others. you have mentioned to something
you are personally interested in,
Languages: you are asked to declare any rather than just repeating their
languages you have a proficiency in. If you website.
dont feel comfortable having an interview
in that language, dont put it down! Example:
Through my degree, I have
developed a deep interest in
Soft Questions development economics, and
Most firms require you to answer questions therefore the work of the XXX
(roughly 200 words long) Bank Foundation really caught my
This is usually time consuming. attention. In particular, I admire the
Foundations focus on microfinance
Do however, spend time thinking and and enterprise development, as it
answering them properly as it is taken shows how XXX Bank is eager to use
more seriously than generally perceived. its power and resources to benefit
Common questions asked include: communities around the world.
What differentiates ABC bank from its As opposed to just: Im interested in
competitors? your Corporate Responsibility work.
How has the banking industry changed
over recent years? Proof-read.
Examples of leadership, teamwork, skills
showing you are suited for the role.
Explaining the business.
Always write answers to the longer
Motivations for applying. questions in Word and print them off to
check, before copying them onto the
application form.

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Please summarise how the financial
crisis in 2008 impacted our investment
banking business.
(150 words)
The global economic turmoil, sparked by the
credit crunch and sustained through a slow Example
recovery, had marked significant changes to Question:
Investment Banking business. The burst of Please write about a recent news article that has
the U.S. housing bubble caused by subprime interested you and how you feel that subject
lending and weak credit controls through would relate to XXX Bank.
intricate financial instruments resulted in a (200 words)
bailing out of financial institutions. While the
collapse of Lehman Brothers and acquisition Answer:
of Bear Stearns by JP Morgan epitomises the A recent news article I read outlined Theresa
change in players of investment banking, Mays potential hostility to foreign direct
new regulations aim to resolve the too-big- investment into the UK, particularly in the
to-fail issue. The Basel III, for example, context of Brexit. During her leadership
globally designates banks capital campaign, May repeatedly criticised previous
requirements, leverage ratio, and liquidity foreign takeovers, such as Krafts acquisition of
requirements, increasing the costs of the banks Cadbury, and suggested that the Government
operations, and thus reducing profitability. should be capable of preventing such bids.
Whilst she permitted SoftBanks acquisition of
Policy responses such as quantitative easing ARM, she subsequently said future deals would
have also impacted banks, as they must now be reviewed to ensure they are in the national
operate in low interest rate environments. At interest, in a similar way to how Americas
low interest rates, firms, for example, may find CFIUS authorises transactions. This policy
it less costly to issue debt rather than equity. interested me, as it appears to be markedly
The consequent uncertainty e.g. over potential different to Britains previous approach, which
QE tapering, in addition, resulted in less was generally supportive of foreign investment.
business activities as firms may find mergers
and/or acquisitions untimely. If this were to become a reality, it would be
much harder for foreign companies to acquire
strategically important UK-based firms and
could potentially deter foreign investment. For
XXX, a more benign UK M&A market could
mean lower advisory revenues and profits.
However, the UK is the third most targeted
nation for deals, meaning advisory fees are
unlikely to disappear, even with more stringent
regulation. Further, XXXs clients will continue
to use the firm, due to its long-term client
relationships and reputation as a leading
financial advisor in the region.

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The Cover Letter

This letter should stipulate your motivations When considering the intricacies of the
for applying for ABC Company and XYZ division letter itself
in a concise and personalised manner.
Each bank is different, with some applications Format
not requiring such a letter, with them preferring
just soft question answers. However, it is
1 page long (never go beyond 1 page)
imperative to include if they do not mention In a professional font size: 9pt12pt
that it is not required. In a professional typeface
Dependent on the application form you may Provide your contact details, as you would
have to attach it to your CV in a PDF file and a normal letter.
attach it, or for it to be separate: this once
again differs from bank to bank.

(e.g. email &
phone numbe






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Content Paragraph 3: Past work experience

Mention the position, job skills earned,
Cover letters usually consists of 45 paragraphs relevant examples.
and are organised as follows:
Explanation is key!
Paragraph 1: Introduction Do note that relevant is not exclusive to
Who you are. the finance industry. For example, if you
are applying for a sales and trading role,
How you heard about the opportunities. explaining how youve been able to deal
Name drop: university, people from the firm with disgruntled clients when working in
youve met, previous work experience etc. a store can also show the requisite skills
for the sector.
Paragraph 2: Motivations
What inspired you to apply?
Why said firm? TOP TIP
Be specific! Do not sound generic. Do not simply list all your experience
Read through the websites and but highlight the relevant ones.
recruitment material of the bank
youre applying to.
Learn about their culture and ethos. Paragraph 4: Extracurricular experience
Explain how you can see yourself fit
into that firm. Position, skills earned, relevant examples.
Consider the programme you are applying As with paragraph 3, explanation is key!
to also: what you can add to an Asset
Paragraph 5: Conclusion
Management role differs to that of an
Investment Banking role. Brief summary.
With one you must communicate Contact details if you wish.
your interest in the inner workings Thank them for taking the time to read
of the market, whilst the other takes your cover letter.
a more microeconomic perspective
on businesses.
Please note:
Both, however, will have a focus on The cover letter structure described above, is not
their clients, but those clients differ concrete. As long as the points are covered and
considerably: with an Asset Manager your message is conveyed in a concise coherent
possibly holding pension funds vs an way, many different structures are acceptable.
Investment Banking Division working
with some of the most powerful
companies globally.

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CUFIS Application Bible

Individual applying to Spring Week:
Jane Doe
XYZ College
ABC Street
CB1 234
Email: abc123@cam.ac.uk
Tel: +44 1 234 5678

Dear Sir/Madam,
My name is Jane Doe and I am writing to apply for the Spring Insight Week at XXX. At present, I am an
undergraduate reading YYY in Cambridge University with the aspiration of joining the investment banking
industry. I believe that a place at XXXs Spring Insight Week will no doubt give me a profound insight into
this field. An opportunity for an insight opportunity at the Bank will provide me a platform of discovering
and learning more about what I am truly passionate about.
As an individual who is passionate of giving back to society, I recognise the ability of the financial sector
of generating an impact onto society on a large scale. To name a few, this is in terms of the industrys
ability to help corporations raise capital resulting to a trickle-down effect onto the less privileged or
its technical expertise on helping mergers and acquisitions to take place thus allocating resources more
efficiently with its cost synergies. In addition to my interest in the analysis of businesses, I managed to
secure an internship in the buy-side over the summer where I conducted equity research in the Global
Equities team at ZZZ Asset Management. I would love to explore the sell-side approach into analysing
businesses where the world of investment banking dives into.
I love taking up challenges as I derive satisfaction from solving problems and receive a sense of fulfilment
when seeing my effort having an impact. While completing a task, I am meticulous with my work and I
strongly believe that completing it with a positive spirit in a tenacious manner would make the work more
satisfying; a trait that I feel has a significant influence in the industry. From attending A-Level Investment
Banking Insight Days, I was privileged to be given the opportunity to network with key individuals in the
industry. I aspire to expand my communication skill and improve my hopefully maturing interpersonal skill
by attending the Spring Insight Week. In addition, I got a taste of leadership as Head of ABC Competition
2015 where I led a team of 50 students to victory. With such a dedicated team whom I made lifetime
friendships with, it was definitely a life event I cherish and I aim to achieve this on a bigger scale at XXX.
I aim to strive at a place like XXX, a firm known for its dynamic and resilient nature which could be
seen from how it evolved as a Bank. I am fascinated by the adaptable approach that the Bank takes
with a change of event such as the prolonged low interest rates, increased complexities from regulations
and advancement of technology. Having kept in touch with [name at XXX Bank] who is in the [division
contact works in] at XXX, we had a discussion on the recent Brexit phenomenon which would cause
exchange rate movements to affect industries that are heavily influenced with currency fluctuations. I
aspire to be a part of a company that engages with frameworks which are so relevant with daily news flow.
As an aspiring investment banker, I am willing to go through the challenges ahead of me as I hope to join
the Bank in the future where I can then contribute with my strengths. I hope this program will benefit both
parties as my participation will help me assess my suitability for your company and vice versa. I hope all
of these will serve as evidence that I am a serious and committed candidate to be part of your companys
organised Spring Insight Week. Finally, I would like to express my utmost gratitude for considering my
application and I look forward to your response.
Yours Sincerely,
Jane Doe

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Individual applying to Spring Week:
John Doe
XXX College
XYZ Street
CB0 123
Email: def456@cam.ac.uk
Tel: +44 1 234 5678

Dear Sir/Madam,
When attending a recent networking event, a talk given by Managing Director [name] opened my
eyes to the unique culture at XYZ Bank. I was surprised to hear that employees do not have specific
job descriptions, enabling an approach where people move between businesses areas fluidly, knowing
there is the possibility to explore a variety of different roles and engage with people from across the
business greatly appealed to me. However, possibly the most enthralling aspect of the culture is the
quality of the people, where only the most creative, innovative and committed individuals are recruited,
and that recognition and responsibility is administered on a purely meritocratic basis.
I had the invaluable opportunity to speak to Executive Director [name] who kindly explained to me
his role in derivatives structuring and more broadly the securities division. Following this discussion, I
decided that securities is the ideal division for me because it would utilise my numerical and analytical
skills perfectly in addition to my ability to multitask and perform under pressure. I am focused on
exploring the areas of structuring and trading, I am attracted to these areas because of the direct
relation between current affairs and market behaviour, meaning that no day is ever the same. However,
I accept these views are likely to change which is why it would be beneficial to experience a range of
roles within securities through the Spring Insight Program before deciding.
I feel through my leadership roles, as Head boy at my previous school, but more importantly through the
opportunities I have had to act as part of team, playing rugby and volunteering, my character has been
perfectly aligned with the synergies of the XYZ Bank culture. I am passionate about striving for the best
and working collaboratively with others to maximise results.
Yours sincerely,
John Doe

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CUFIS Application Bible

Individual applying for Summer Internship
John Smith
XYZ College
ABC Road
CB1 234
Tel: +44 1 234 5678
Email: ghi789@cam.ac.uk


Dear Sir or Madam,

I have just completed my Xth year of studying YYY at the University of Cambridge. The opportunity
being provided by XXX Bank is one that has peaked my interest through the wide range of opportunities
available within the Summer Analyst Program. As a result, I wish to apply for the XXX Summer Analyst
Internship on offer.
XXX is steeped in history but continues to foster innovation, through collaboration with the focus of
creating balanced decisions and encouraging entrepreneurial spirit, to create specially tailored solutions
for clients. This focus on nurturing your staff in the culture you exhibit, is one of the key characteristics
of XXX that has greatly appealed to me. This is exemplified through the vast training program in the
initial week of the internship and the rotational nature of the Summer Analyst program. Past this,
your sensitivity to the society in which the bank operates is clear to see. This is witnessed through
the XXX Institute for ZZZ. The fact that you encourage your employees to volunteer in philanthropic
organisations, alongside celebrating the voluntary work of your employees, attracted me to XXX and the
culture it embodies. Past this, one thing I would be intrigued to witness, if I were to be accepted onto the
program, is how a publicly listed company functions. Having only interned in privately owned investment
firms, I would like to further my knowledge as to how you balance the long-term ambitions of your clients
with your stock profile.
Studying YYY at Cambridge, has allowed me to see how applicable the subject is to real-world
situations, especially when considering AAAA. I am also observing this outside of the lecture hall, as the
current X Officer of the Y Society. In this role, it is my responsibility to abcxyz. I am experiencing with this
the need for clarity in communications from society heads to policy makers. Thus, I believe I would be
able to transfer the skills learned from this position into the internship, with Global Markets indeed being
a client facing role.
Having studied YYY within my degree, I believe that this mathematical foundation will serve me well
if I were to be accepted onto the program. The analytical skills, which I have developed, were evident
during my internship at AAA Bank over the summer of yyyy. Here, I was able to put my skills to work,
through using Bloomberg, Morningstar and Excel to research and produce reports for the CIO to
consider, with the overall aim of helping both the clients and the company. Considering this, I would
hope that the XXX Summer Analyst role would allow me to develop my analytical skills further through
the vast opportunities throughout the period you have on offer.
Thank you for taking the time to consider my application. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Yours faithfully,
John Smith

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If youre the kind of person who cant wait to NETWORKING DINNER
make a difference, consider a career at Goldman DATE: 18 October 2017
TIME: 6:30 p.m. 9:00 p.m.
Sachs. We believe that good ideas and innovations
can come from anyone, at any level. We offer
meaningful opportunities, best-in-class training and BREAKFAST HOSTED BY THE WOMEN'S
a wide variety of career paths for talented people NETWORK
DATE: 19 October 2017
from all academic backgrounds. Plus, with access to
TIME: 8:30 a.m. 9:30 a.m.
important clients and projects, youll have the chance
to make an impact with global significance.
These events are open to students graduating in 2019
and 2020 who would like to explore our Summer and
Spring programme opportunities.
NEW ANALYST: Sunday 29 October 2017 HOW TO REGISTER:
SUMMER ANALYST: Sunday 3 December 2017
Visit www.goldmansachs.com/careers and
SPRING PROGRAMME: Wednesday 3 January 2018
choose My GS Events


www.cufis.co.uk 2017 The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Goldman Sachs is an
equal employment/affirmative action employer Female/Minority/Disability/Vet.
CUFIS Application Bible

The CV
Your CV is the most important document of your
professional life. Although not all personal traits
can be expressed through paper, your CV reflects The typical CV consists of the following sections:
who you are and what you can bring to the firm 1. Education
at the first glance.
In its purest essence, how good your CV is Location
depends on two things:
Year started / year of expected
The content (based on your experiences). graduation
How the content is communicated. Subject
Past (or predicted grades)
A-Levels (or equivalent)
TOP TIP Location
For first time CV writers, go to Cambridge Time period studied for
Careers Service for their CV guide for Subjects studied
Grades achieved
Can also include a brief overview of GCSE
(or equivalent) results.
Format For example, 9 A*s and 2As at GCSE
1 page long (including A* in English Literature,
A in English Language and A* in
This is incredibly important do not Mathematics).
submit a CV longer than one page.
If you do include your GCSEs,
This is part of the application process; the specific grade results matter for
if you cant manage to condense your
English and Mathematics.
skills and achievements down to that
length, it could potentially suggest poor 2. Professional experience
communication skills to your recruiter. Try to build up as much experience as you
In a professional font size: 9pt12pt. can.
In a professional typeface. This experience does not need to be
Have the title or subtitle as your full name. specific to finance/banking, but try to link
this experience to skills relevant for careers
Provide your contact details.
in the sector.
time period worked position / title of
position / company name and location /
explanation of the role you partook in and
the skills you developed.
Be concise but informative.

To see how you should explain
your experience, look at professional
LinkedIn profiles for inspiration.

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3. Extracurricular activities
Be involved and join societies whilst
at university.
Do what you enjoy and try to develop
your roles within the societies.
For example, be on a May Ball
committee or even better: initiate
Firms appreciate well-rounded applicants
who show traits of leadership, teamwork,
communication, ambition and an interest in
Time period involved.
Title of position.
Society name and location.
(e.g. University of Cambridge).
Explanation of the role and the skills
you developed use active words.

4. Skills / interests / achievements

It allows the company to see the other
side of you.
Do remember that at the end of the day,
youll hopefully be working with them.
Therefore, they want to work with someone
who they enjoy being around.

With many more financial institutions doing
more philanthropic work, do try and include
any charity work you have conducted.

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Individual on 3 year course applying for Summer Internship

John Doe
07123 456789 [email]

The University of Cambridge Cambridge
Bachelor of XXX, XYZ College September 2016- 2019

XYZ College Politics Society

Speakers Officer June 2017-
ABC Society
AAA Officer October 2016-
BBB Officer February 2017-

CCC College [Location]

September 2009- June 2016
A-levels: EPQ: Topic- DDD A*
EEE A* UCAS points: 670
FFF A* GCSEs: 7 A*s (including Mathematics and
GGG A English language), 2 As and a B

JJJ Bank [Location]
Securities division: Spring Internship, Paid April 3rd 13th 2017
KKK Bank [Location]
Global Markets division: Spring Internship March 27th 31st 2017
LLL Capital Management [Location]
Client Services: Work Experience August 22nd 26th 2016
MMM Bank [Location]
Insurance Business Services: Work Experience July 11th 15th 2016
NNN Bank [Location]
FX Prime Brokerage: Work Experience July 4th 8th 2016
PPP Consultancy [Location]
Summer Work Placement, Paid August 2015
Head Boy of CCC College [Location]
May 2015 June 2016
QQQ Church, Youth Club [Location]
Youth Worker/manager of finances, Voluntary March 2013 May 2016
I was in charge of running the caf
Increased the profitability of the caf by implementing a variety of data collection systems
Technical Skills:
Excel (and other office software); C++, mainly for basic robotic applications, my projects have reached
an audience of over twenty thousand on YouTube
Regional and National public speaking competitions; two international MUNs and a debate hosted in
Played second row for the schools Rugby A team
Participated in the UK Maths Challenge every year since 2009 consistently achieving Gold
Machining parts I have designed using my lathe in my workshop, in order to fix engines
Very interested in classic automobiles, and have a small collection of vintage watches
Awards: The 2015 RRR Bank Award for Outstanding Student Achievement

Note: Content in the example CVs have been redacted for security reasons.

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Individual on 3 year course applying for Summer Internship

[ A D D R E S S ] | T E L : + 4 4 ( 0 ) 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 | [ E M A I L ]


BA XXX, XYZ College, University of Cambridge, 2015-2018 (expected graduation).
First Class in first year, Tripos Prize winner and XYZ College Scholar.
Modules include: AAA, BBB, CCC, DDD.
EEE Qualification, [Qualification Body], 2016.
Modules: FFF, GGG, HHH, KKK.
LLL Summer School, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), 2016.
Modules: MMM, NNN.
A-Levels: PPP (A*), QQQ (A*), RRR (A*), SSS (A*), [College], UK, 2010-2014.
TTT plc, [Location] JUL 2016
[Description of Company]
Introductory corporate finance placement to conduct [tasks conducted].
Investigated [secondary task completed].
Observed preparations for a variety of transactions, including acquisitions and equity placings.
Gained exposure to equity research and attended results presentations.
VVV, [Location] JUL 2014 JUL 2015
Initiated coverage of 2015 General Election and production of daily briefings that examined significant political and
economic developments and consequences. Gained direct readership of over 400, including [name of CEO].
Supported VVV by [task] and produced Excel-based [task 2] in collaboration with UUU Division. Developed own
methodologies that successfully predicted every [info on task].
Briefed senior VVV executives for meetings with [clients]: scribed economic and political summations under short
notice and high pressure.
Treasurer, YYY Society, 2017 : Manage X,000 budget for YYY Society, the Xth largest society at Cambridge University.
Responsible for sourcing sponsors and rebranding the society.
President (2017), Treasurer (2016), XYZ College Ball: Managed Y,000 budget for the Ball at Cambridge University,
attended by XXX students. Now lead a team of 20 students to produce the 2017 event.
National Champion, ABC Competition, 2014: Captained four-person secondary school team during nationally-
renowned competition. Coordinated structure of presentation and directed internal communication strategy.
President, DEF Show, 2016: Appointed to organise the 2017 Cambridge University DEF Show, attended by 450.
Recruited committee members, coordinated event logistics and invited renowned speakers, including [names of
XYZ College Swimming Captain, 2016-; UVW College Swimming Captain, 2014: Passionate long distance swimmer.
Organised and participated in a swim across the English Channel, aged 17. Initiated 3 24-hour Swim fundraisers,
raising 4,000 for various cancer research charities.
Achievements | Hobbies: Rowing, SCUBA diving (BSAC Dive Leader), swimming, skiing, radio broadcasting, travel.
Charity: Raised money for Teenage Cancer Trust and Prostate Cancer UK through voluntary swims.
IT Skills: Microsoft Office Suite, Bloomberg.

www.cufis.co.uk 17
CUFIS Application Bible

The Online Tests

Once youve submitted your application form,
cover letter and CV you will be asked to conduct
1. Numerical Test
a series of tests. Each bank asks for different skills The test is designed to test your analytical
tests to be done. skills and numeracy.

The best way to tackle these tests is to practice!

Many of the questions ask you to interpret
graphs and pull information from tables
There are several resources available online.
be sure to be comfortable doing this,
Also, you will find that banks tend to share the
via practice tests.
same tests. Therefore, visiting the members
portal website to access a wide range of practice There are strict time limits applied,
test materials is imperative. so be sure to manage your time well in
order to not leave any questions blank.
Broadly speaking there are 4 main kinds of
ability tests that banks can ask you to complete: 2. Problem-Solving Test
This is used to test the ability of a candidate
to understand, analyse and adapt to new
situations or challenges.
If you see seemingly random images
and are asked to deduce subtle patterns,
or are presented with a simple scenario
requiring some mathematical interpretation
of the situation presented, beware; your
problem-solving ability is being tested.

3. Reasoning Test
These tests measure a candidates ability to
solve more complex problems, process and
check information and more importantly,
reason: analytically, verbally and in abstract.
These are tests that require greater
attention to detail, so expect some
brainwork here.
Tests of reasoning include comprehension
exercises in which you are asked to read
short pieces of text and interpret. You
may also be asked about more complex
situations that require some quantitative
or qualitative interpretation.

4. Aptitude Test
These tests are used to measure
leadership and management potential,
as well as the mechanical ability of the
Typical tests of aptitude take the form
of short questions requiring personal
responses to situations, as well as
time-consuming, yet simple, scenarios
requiring some analysis.

www.cufis.co.uk 19
CUFIS Application Bible

The FirstRound Interview

If your application and test results are seen to
be proficient enough, you will be invited to
Competency Questions
conduct a first-round interview. This can take Often a first-round interview is competency
place in a variety of different mediums: telephone, based, in which preparation is key.
video or face-to-face; it depends on the bank as
to how it is conducted.
Competency based questions are used
to gauge your soft skills and to see the
way you can communicate.
Your Story It generally covers several core
The first question you will often be asked in competencies:
an interview is something along the lines of: leadership / the ability to work in a
Tell me about yourself?. team / entrepreneurial skills / integrity /
From the interviewers perspective, this is an easy
introductory question, because they expect you
to have a prepared answer to this.
Your answer should be in the structure of Look at the banks career website
a story: and look at the active words used in
descriptions and competency skills
Quickly describe where you are now:
they look for in a candidate.
Im studying YYY at Cambridge
in my first year This will give you an indication as to
what competencies they will ask about.
Then transition to the beginning
of the story: Read the FT the morning of your
I first became interested in finance interview; specifically searching for any
news about the bank you are applying to.
This should be something that explains
the beginning of your finance career Example Questions
ambitions. This could be anything: Could you tell us about a time youve
a news story, a life experience or demonstrated your ability to work in a team?
your degree. If possible, try to make
it different or interesting, so the What are your past failures and what have
interviewer has something to follow you learnt from them?
up on afterwards. Tell us about a time youve convinced
After the beginning, outline any other someone to do something.
experience in finance/work you have Tell me 3 qualities/3 weaknesses about
had and how they link to your ambition yourself.
to go into finance. Tell me about a stressful situation and how
Finally, link everything youve said to you dealt with it.
why you are applying to this division at Tell me about a situation when you were in
this bank. conflict with a person at work and how you
Maybe mention their geographic focus dealt with it.
or a recent deal they have worked on. Tell me about a situation when you had to
This is incredibly important, you dont be a leader.
want the story to be the same at every What is your biggest achievement/failure?
bank, you have to make it specific to the
one you are interviewing with. Tell me about a time when youve had to
work as part of a team.

20 Cambridge University Finance & Investment Society

CUFIS Application Bible

To prepare The STAR Technique

Think of examples for each potential The best approach in tackling competency
competency ahead of time. based questions is to think of an example
Research the firm to see whether there and use the STAR approach.
are core competencies that they value. With this, your answer should be structured
Go through your CV, thinking how as follows:
each of your experiences developed
your soft-skills. Situation
Make sure you prepare answers for all of Explain the situation.
the most common questions. Also, create What was the problem at hand?
a list of situations that you could use in an
interview answer. Therefore, if a question Task
comes that you havent predicted, you What did you have to do to resolve
can adapt an existing situation to fit the the issue?
What did YOU do?
Even within a team, specify what YOU
did in particular.

What were the outcomes?
Were you satisfied?

BONUS Evaluation
Looking back, I would
From this, I learnt

www.cufis.co.uk 21
CUFIS Application Bible

The Assessment Centre

If your first-round interview is successful, you will AM and S&T: Why are green bonds
be asked to go to an Assessment Centre. Each successful?
firm conducts the process differently, and within AM and S&T: If you had $1m how would
that each different division also conducts them you invest it?
They may also ask questions about their
The Assessment Centre is a daylong event with company also, such as:
612 applicants invited to take part in interviews, How is our firm organised?
possibly alongside group exercises and
presentations. What is our share price?
What is a recent deal we have worked
Assessment Centres are infrequent for on?
Spring Week applications, with them often
only having one or two interviews. Qualitative Questions
Such questions have three intended
The Interviews purposes behind them:

Past the potential competency based interview

To evaluate your motivation to join your
preferred business area.
that may come up again, there are also three other
types of question that may come up in interview: Your motivation to join the firm.
Your background.
Technical Questions
To prepare: know your CV inside and out.
Such questions usually have a two-edged Example questions:
Asked to gauge your knowledge of Why do you want to go into investment
banking (asset management, sales and
the specific area you have applied to.
To understand your knowledge of
the industry.
Are you apprehensive about the
working hours?
These questions are used to judge
With which other banks are you
the knowledge base of an applicant.
Accordingly, such questions are infrequent
Walk me through your CV
in Spring Week interviews, but quite
common for Summer Internship and
Graduate Program interviews.
To prepare: learn technical side of the job. TOP TIP
Examples: When asked about other banks you
are applying to.
IBD: If a firm with a low p/e ratio acquires
a firm with a high p/e ratio is the deal All banks are aware that you are
likely to be accretive or dilutive? more than likely applying just to them.
IBD: Are you following any deal/firm Try and focus on the ethos and cultures
in particular? of the firms youve applied to. There
IBD: What are the methods of valuing may be a common thread between
a company? them.

IBD and S&T: What do you think are For example, I applied to banks that
the reasons for the Eurozone problem? had a strong philanthropic grounding
and the opportunity to work with these

22 Cambridge University Finance & Investment Society

The Verdict
After all of this, you may be accepted or rejected
onto the programme that you applied to. From
both of these verdicts, you are able to learn a lot.

The Rejection
Throughout the process, you may receive a
rejection. Dont become disheartened by this!
There are a huge number of applicants to limited
positions, and many receive rejections before
finding a position.
Depending on the banks policy and when the
rejection takes place you can ask for feedback.
Although you may want to sweep the rejection
under the rug, all information on your application
is valuable to take into the next one. So, collect all
information that is available to you.
If you do not receive feedback, still evaluate the
experience. Look back and think:
What did I do well on?
Where did I not feel confident? Where did I
feel weak in answering questions?
What improvements can I make for the next
Although you arent forgetting about it straight
away, it is the best way for rejections not to spiral
throughout your applications.

The Acceptance
CONGRATULATIONS! You got through a long
process and received an offer at the end of it.
Often there is a limited amount of time for you to
accept the offer, so be sure to accept or reject the
offer within that time period.
CUFIS Application Bible

Brainteasers Threats
Used especially for markets roles. What may be impacting the economic
The purpose of brainteasers is to test your environment and the marketplace;
intelligence, and whether you can learn and this may be Brexit, Trump or even new
adapt quickly. regulations in the market.
If you are not good at brainteasers, you can
prepare for them in advance. Do as many The Group Exercise
as you can practice makes perfect! The key to this exercise is to see how you
With these questions, the interviewer can work and communicate in a group
is looking for you to explain your train dynamic.
of thought throughout. Within this, you must be careful to not hide
Examples: within the shadows but also not overpower
What is the angle between the watch the conversation.
hands at 8.45am? Different banks ask you to conduct different
How many tennis balls can fit in this exercises within a group, examples include:
office? Newspaper exercise: a collection of
newspapers are given to the group, in
The Case Study which they must decide what recent
news events to present on and then
This task gives you a piece of text: perhaps develop a 15-30 minute presentation
an annual report of a company, or news on that topic.
Marketing exercise: interviewees receive
From this, you are asked to answer material on a company, and are asked to
a question based on the text given. develop a plan as to how to market their
Often, they ask you to evaluate a company new product and allocate the marketing
and some extension of that, whether it be: budget accordingly.
Is it investable?
Should company XYZ merge with it? The Presentation
After a set amount of preparation time, you Some firms may give you material prior
will be invited to present to an employee of to the Assessment Centre.
the bank individually. From this, you are asked to present on
said material.
To form the foundation of your answer As you are given it ahead of time, there
is an expectation to do research outside
for this, the best way to do so is to form
that given to you and explore all options
a SWOT test.
available to you.
With this extra time, you could also produce
What the company is good at, its USP. a powerpoint and/or a handout, so that you
Weaknesses differentiate yourself from the rest of the
Examples being the competition within
its marketplace or its poor board of If you do produce a PowerPoint,
directors. make sure that you can bring in a
laptop or have the technical facilities
available to use it.
Examples include new product lines.

24 Cambridge University Finance & Investment Society

CUFIS Application Bible

What are you

working for?

Learn more about our student and graduate

programmes at campus.bankofamerica.com
www.cufis.co.uk 25
CUFIS Application Bible

At VCMT, Trading
Trading Isnt
Isnt aa Job
Job -- Its
Its aa Lifestyle
youve always wanted to be a trader and youre ready to live, eat and breathe
always wanted to be a trader and youre ready to live, eat and breathe
trading, VCMT is where you want to be. We are a leading commodities trading
trading, VCMT is where you want to be. We are a leading commodities trading
firm with a focus on financial products. Its the kind of place where you wont
firm with a focus on financial products. Its the kind of place where you wont
languish in rigid organisational hierarchy. If you excel, well recognise and re-
languish in rigid organisational hierarchy. If you excel, well recognise and re-
ward you. Contact us if you have what it takes to be part of VCMT.
ward you. Contact us if you have what it takes to be part of VCMT.

Get started by sending your CV to graduates@vercer.co.uk

Get started by sending your CV to graduates@vercer.co.uk
Visit our website: www.v-cmt.com
Visit our website: www.v-cmt.com

Vercer Limited is registered in England and Wales. Registered office: 43-45 Dorset St, London,
W1U Limited is registered
7NA. Company in England
number: and Wales. Registered office: 43-45 Dorset St, London,
W1U 7NA. Company number: 10142406.
Vercer Limited is a corporate member of Capital Markets Trading UK LLP which is authorised and regulated by the

Vercer Conduct
Limited Authoritymember
is a corporate (FRN 509551).
of CapitalVCMT is aTrading
Markets trading name
UK LLPof Capital
which isMarkets Trading
authorised andUK LLP. by the
Cambridge University Finance & Investment Society
Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 509551). VCMT is a trading name of Capital Markets Trading UK LLP.
CUFIS Application Bible

The Verdict
After all of this, you may be accepted or rejected
onto the programme that you applied to. From
both of these verdicts, you are able to learn a lot.

The Rejection
Throughout the process, you may receive a
rejection. Dont become disheartened by this!
There are a huge number of applicants to limited
positions, and many receive rejections before
finding a position.
Depending on the banks policy and when the
rejection takes place you can ask for feedback.
Although you may want to sweep the rejection
under the rug, all information on your application
is valuable to take into the next one. So, collect
all information that is available to you.
If you do not receive feedback, still evaluate
the experience. Look back and think:
What did I do well on?
Where did I not feel confident?
Where did I feel weak in answering
What improvements can I make for the
next application.
Although you arent forgetting about it straight
away, it is the best way for rejections not to spiral
throughout your applications.

The Acceptance
You got through a long process and received
an offer at the end of it.
Often there is a limited amount of time for you
to accept the offer, so be sure to accept or reject
the offer within that time period.

www.cufis.co.uk 27
CUFIS Application Bible

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Cambridge University Finance & Investment Society