Interns For Innovation - BofA, JPM, BNP & Credit Suisse Look For Talented Students

A talented workforce is the backbone of innovation. No company can stay relevant in the market without constant talent acquisition and workforce development. As millennials become the most important segment for financial services sector, young minds are needed to build next-generation technology and products that relate to millennials. The need for fresh and innovative minds led financial institutions to actively roll out programs, challenges and competitions for students. The idea is to catch them young and provide them with internship opportunities as some of them become potential hires in the future.

We have selected some of the most interesting challenges organized by financial services industry players to attract students to demonstrate why it is the most exciting time for students to join and be the ones to lead the innovation.

BNP Paribas’ Ace Manager competition is a three-week game for students that takes place in a fictitious Universe-city where – as the company describes – an extraordinary discovery unleashes a series of unprecedented events. Participating teams of three people will have to complete a variety of tasks related to retail banking, asset management, corporate and investment banking, which are related to the events.

The Credit Suisse HOLT Valuation Challenge is another three-week challenge which is presented in the form of a game aimed to sharpen students’ understanding of finance, valuation and accounting. HOLT is Credit Suisse’s proprietary method of measuring return on capital. As described on the official website, HOLT's flexible platform provides an objective view of over 20,000 companies worldwide. The rigorous methodology examines accounting information, converts it to cash and then values that cash, allowing you to identify key drivers of value that others miss.

JP Morgan’s The Deal Competition is focused on another set of skills, bringing together students to form teams of three to five people playing a role of financial advisors on a deal involving a publicly listed company and a target company within the same industry in emerging Asia. Students have to analyze the acquisition and create a presentation to explain the reasoning behind their choice and issues related to it. Interestingly, only students from the US and China are eligible. JP Morgan sees the strategic opportunity in the fast-growing Chinese market of financial services and with this competition, it wants to acquire talents to lead the company to the Asian market. The winners are granted a final round of interviews for a place in JP Morgan’s Asia Investment Banking Summer Internship program.

Another competition by JP Morgan is Code for Good Challenges, which is aimed to help nonprofits to improve their operations and discover talents and innovative minds for one of the biggest banks in the US.

If JPMorgan is focusing on the Asian market, KPMG’s International Case Competition (KICC) is trying to tap into the global talent pool inviting students from 23 countries for a four-day competition that will be held in Dubai, UAE. Teams of students are competing to provide the best solutions for a series of complex business challenges. During each stage of the competition, teams are given a detailed case study to consider. For each round, there are three hours to review the case, identify and analyze key business issues, develop a compelling set of recommendations, prepare an engaging presentation for the panel of experienced KPMG firms’ partners and leaders. Even though not promised, the challenge could be a gateway to KPMG’s Global Internship Program focused tax, audit and advisory.

First National Bank of Omaha is targeting college students to source the most talented hackers through the 48-hour First National Code One 2.0 hackathon. A dozen teams of three members each will compete to solve a specific problem they will discover only at the start of the event. First National’s Code One challenge is a way for the bank to get closer to talented techies, inspire interest in creating banking apps and foster digital transformation.

The Campus Challenge is an annual event hosted by Bank of America that offers college students from participating universities the opportunity to compete for cash prizes while developing innovative technology solutions relevant to the bank’s customers and clients. The first round of the competition consists of an intra-school competition among a group of 12 universities. The top team from each participating school then moves on to a second round to compete against teams from other schools. Teams present their solutions in a five-page submission including a business case, detailed business and technical requirements, architecture platform description and an explanation of benefits along with a five-minute video pitch describing the solution.

Unlike previous examples, the next one is a cooperative effort of several financial societies. UK Investment Banking Series (UIBS) is a nationwide investment banking competition series that incorporates an M&A Challenge and a Trading Challenge. The challenge is organized by the finance societies at four top UK universities (Imperial College, London School of Economics, University College London and Warwick University). These finance societies have collaborated with some of the world’s leading investment banks to attract talents to the UIBS. The teams of three are required to have a certain talent structure of either trader + researcher + portfolio manager for hedge funds, or trader + researcher + sales trader for investment banks. The software and content are provided by Fintratech. For the entire competition, five stocks and three derivative products are made available for students to trade in the market.

Montreal FinTech Forum’s contest focuses on data management for the financial services industry and invites full-time students at graduate programs to compete for a $10,000 prize in a two-round challenge. Three finalists are chosen at the end of the rounds to present their software solutions to the panel of judges. Among the sponsors of the contest are Societe Generale, National Bank, Deloitte, MasterCard, Cushman & Wakefield, CGI and other notable companies. Since it is also a forum apart from the contest, there are major exhibitors to attract the attention of the students. Among the exhibitors are Deloitte, National Bank, Societe Generale, SAS, Palo Alto Networks, Nabla Analytics, Maples Fund Services, Inovestor, Desjardins, Broadridge and others.

The Global Investment Banking Valuation Olympiad, in partnership with Greensea Capital, is another amazing opportunity for students to push the envelope in innovation. More than 5,000 candidates from around the world are participating in the challenge; one team leader will win a paid internship and the team will win a cash prize. The teams will participate in a three-stage competition where they will get their valuation skills tested. The competition starts with the business valuation test, after which top 20 winning teams will be solving an M&A case study with the top 10 teams reaching the final stage when they pitch the solutions.

Previous examples of the challenges are mostly related to classic financial industry services like valuations, taxation, M&A cases, accounting, etc. ModelOff Championship is a different kind of a challenge focusing on financial modeling. The global challenge is under the careful watch of judges from S&P Capital IQ, Deutsche Bank and Technology4U. ModelOff is the world’s largest professional competition for Microsoft Excel, financial analysis, investment analysis and financial modeling. The international competition annually attracts 4,000 leading professionals and students from over 100 countries. Participants compete in two online qualification rounds in topics that range from advanced discounted cash flow modeling (DCF), quantitative analysis of infrastructure projects to innovative challenges in Microsoft Excel. The best and brightest competitors (top 16) are flown to London for the World Finals event which is broadcast live and free worldwide as part of the annual ModelOff Conference. Major global partners and sponsors of the world championship include Microsoft, Bloomberg, HackerRank, Adkins Matchett & Toy, Intralinks, S&P Capital IQ, KPMG, Kaplan Schweser, AMT Training, Corality and the British government.