The Importance of Networking

Many successful applicants for internship and graduate job positions are singled out during early corporate networking events on campus. A business representative who takes an interest in you can ask HR to flag your name up on their recruitment system, leading to a far greater chance of you gaining that elusive offer. As a result, it has never been more important to make the most of the recruitment events on offer in Durham. As well as providing you with a link into the company, corporate presentations can help you to understand the culture of the firm, enabling you to make a more informed decision regarding in which company you would best fit.

At events, it is imperative that you speak to as many business representatives as possible. This will enable you to learn about the different divisions on offer, and which one would best suit your skills and interests. If you have a prolonged conversation with someone who particularly interests you, do not be afraid to ask for their business card. Immediately write down a detail from your conversation on the back of the card, and then send them an email within 24 hours thanking them for their time, including the topic of your conversation in order for them to remember you. Although you may not receive a reply, hopefully they will forward your email to HR who will then have a record for future reference when you make an application to their company. If you have any specific questions, do include them in your email, but avoid generic questions, such as generally asking about their experience in the banking industry.

Some networking questions to get you started…

What skills do you need to succeed in your division?
Why did you choose your division?
Why did you choose your team?
Why did you choose to work at this bank?
Have you ever worked abroad?
How often do you travel?
What did you study at university?
Have you always worked in this division?
How are your hours?
What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
How often do you interact with your clients?
Who are your clients (e.g. corporates, asset managers, private clients)?
What courses should I be taking at university (e.g. accounting, coding)?
Are foreign languages useful in your division?
How long are the durations of your projects?
Have you completed any professional qualifications?
What training opportunities are there?
In what ways is performance measured and reviewed?
What was your route into banking?
How would you describe the culture at your firm?
Can you recommend any resources (websites, books etc.) that I could use to learn more about the industry?
I read … about the industry. What do you think?
I read … about this recent deal. What did … mean?
How does your bank differentiate itself from your competitors?
Do you get involved in the corporate social responsibility opportunities?

Dress Codes


  • Men: dark navy or dark grey suit, plain white or pale coloured shirt, simple tie, polished shoes
  • Women: dark coloured trousers, or dress/skirt on/below the knee, non-transparent shirt/blouse, jacket, heels or smart flats

Business Casual:

  • Men: suit (as above) but no tie; or chinos with jacket
  • Women: business dress (as above) but jacket not necessary; brighter colours more acceptable

Smart Casual:

  • Men: chinos/smart trousers and shirt, no jacket (no jeans)
  • Women: dress, skirt or trousers with smart top (no jeans)