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A quick & dirty guide to investment banking internships

Frances Chan

Careers Commentator
Find out what investment banking internships are offered by the likes of JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America.

This piece was reviewed by an anonymous Investment Banking Associate at JP Morgan.

"LevFin"? "Public Financing"? "Global Markets"? If you've ever felt lost in the lingo of investment banking internships, today's your lucky day. We're making sense of these investment banking internships and showing you where to find them.

  1. General investment banking internships
  2. Internships in specific coverage groups
  3. Internships in specific product groups
  4. Where can I find internships?

General Investment banking internships

Investment banking teams help companies, from startups to large corporations, get the funding they need for big moves like mergers & acquisitions (M&A) and IPOs (issuing stocks on the public stock markets). 

As an intern, you'll:

  • Help create models to understand a company's value.
  • Help make slides and documents for meetings.
  • Research to support the team's work on deals.
  • Organize important documents and information.

Look for:

  • "Summer Analyst" internships at investment banks.
  • "Corporate finance" internships – confusingly, "corporate finance" refers to investment banking services in places like Europe and Australia.

Some firms let offer general internships that let you rotate around the division to see what teams you vibe with the most. Others offer internships for specific groups within investment banking.

Internships in coverage groups

Coverage groups are made of generalist bankers who cover a region or sector. You'll see internships in coverage groups like:

  • Public finance: You'll see how investment banks serve public clients like the government.
  • Real estate: You'll help developers, investors, and sometimes large institutional clients finance the purchase, development, or refurbishment of properties. 
  • "Latin America"-focused internships where you'd need to speak Spanish or Portuguese and would help work on deals involving Central and South America.

Real estate modeling is different. That's why it's a separate type of group. And we definitely are recruiting heavily for our Latin America group.

– Investment banking associate @ JP Morgan

Internships in specific product groups

Teams that specialize in providing specific services (known as "products") also hire interns. These are more complicated, so we'll spend a bit more time on them.

  1. Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)
  2. Equity Capital Markets (ECM)
  3. Debt Capital Markets (DCM)
  4. Restructuring (RX)
  5. Activism Defense
  6. How to find product investment banking internships

Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)

M&A involves investment banks advising companies on buying or merging with other companies. For example, when Amazon acquired Whole Foods, an investment bank would have advised on the purchase, helping Amazon navigate the deal's financial and strategic aspects. Similarly, banks can help a company looking to sell itself find a buyer and secure the best terms.

Equity capital markets (ECM)

ECM mainly helps companies go public through Initial Public Offerings (IPOs). A real-life example is when Facebook went public in 2012. Investment banks helped Facebook prepare for the IPO, ensuring all legal and financial documentation was in order, and then helped sell Facebook's stock to the public for the first time.

Besides IPOs, ECM also helps companies with:

  • Follow-on offerings: This is when a company that's already public comes to an investment bank for help issuing more stocks.
  • Private capital markets: This involves helping companies who don't want to go public but want to raise money private institutional investors.

Debt capital markets (DCM)

DCM is about helping companies raise money by issuing debt, known as bonds. Unlike stocks, which give stockholders a piece of the company, bonds don't involve ownership. For example, if Apple wants to raise money without giving away any ownership, it might issue bonds that investors can buy. Investment banks help set up these deals, advising on the terms and selling the bonds to investors.

You'll also see internships for Leveraged Finance (LevFin) specifically. This is an area of DCM that's about helping companies borrow a lot of money, usually when they want to buy another company. Think of it as using a lever to lift something heavy — in this case, the "heavy" thing is the cost of buying another company. This process is risky because it involves a lot of debt, which means the company will pay higher interest rates. LevFin teams specialize in arranging these kinds of high-debt deals, ensuring companies can secure the funds they need while managing the risks involved. 

Restructuring (RX)

Restructuring is a type of investment banking that helps companies who can't pay back their debts. When a company finds itself unable to meet its debt obligations—like not being able to pay back money it owes in 5 years—it may need to declare bankruptcy as a way to get some relief and reorganize its finances.

In this context, "restructuring" means two main things:

  1. Restructuring the debt: Adjusting the terms of the debt to make it more manageable (for example, extending the time to pay back from 5 to 10 years)
  2. Restructuring the organization: Making changes within the company itself (like cutting costs or changing business strategies) to ensure it can stick to these new terms.

Restructuring teams work on renegotiating the debt terms to give the company breathing room and advise on operational changes to help the company become financially healthy again. This process allows the company to move forward with a more manageable debt load and a better structure for future success.

Activism Defense

Activism Defense is a specialized area focused on helping companies deal with activist investors. These investors buy a significant portion of a company's shares and try to use their influence to push for changes they believe will increase the company's value, like altering the company's strategy, financial practices, or its Board of Directors (BOD).

In this role, investment bankers advise a company's Board of Directors on how to protect the company's current strategy and leadership against the demands of activist investors.

For example, if an activist investor thinks a company should sell off part of its business to increase stock prices and starts pushing for this change, the activism defense team would help the Board argue why keeping the business whole is better for the shareholders in the long run.

This area of investment banking is quite niche, often involving only a few interns.

How to find product investment banking internships

Out of the options above, you're most likely to find internships in Equity Capital Markets and Debt Capital Markets (including Leveraged Finance). Look for internships with "Capital Markets" in their name. Here are some examples to give you an idea:

Where can I find internships?

You can find plenty of internships on Prosple. We have a vast selection of internships curated for students like you. Just filter 'til you find the right fit!