A career in finance is very rewarding at the same time very demanding as well.
Aspirants around the world have gotten jobs in finance companies after a successful completion their finance internships.
As I have told this many time earlier as well, I would reiterate the fact that getting an internship is the best way to start a career in any field.
In this article, I will tell you what all you need to know in order to get an internship and how to get yourself a shot at an internship interview.
But first, let me tell you why you need to know about finance internships.
Why Do You Need to Know about Finance Internships?
Getting internship is the best way to get a head start in your career, but unfortunately not many aspirants go this way.
This is mainly because of two reasons – One, they do not know of the opportunities available out there for them. And two, even if they know, they do not approach it in the right way.
For the first issue, there is a bunch of stuff you can do right from doing your own Internet search to getting professional help.
By doing so, you will get an edge over people who do not know about the existing opportunities.
If you choose to ignore my suggestions, you might get an internship but the success rate will definitely be affected.
Even worse, you might not be able to bag enough number of interviews to get a summer job.
By following my instructions in this guide, you will not only get an edge over your peers but also will get clarity for yourself in terms of your long term career.
For the second issue, you might know of the opportunities, if you approach the application process in a wrong way you might either end up in the wrong company or the wrong profile.
Also, you might have to go through a lot when you can actually get a job with ease and directed efforts.
In addition to the availability of opportunities, and the approach adapted to applying, you also need to know how your career will shape up in the next 25-30 years of your professional career.
As they say, that the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest decision of one’s life!
What You Should Know about Finance Internships?
There are various types of internships available for the aspiring finance professionals.
There are internships for winters, summers, springs and autumns.
In this article, my focus will be on a select summer internships in the coming few months.
In the following internships I am going to tell you about the companies offering such internships, typical profiles offered and the usual pay in such internships.
It is important to know all this to avoid any surprises in the interview.
Also, knowing about your immediate options will give you clarity of thought and therefore you will be better equipped to approach the application and interview process.
Finance internships summer 2014
There is a plethora of companies in the corporate world that offer summer internships.
Usually the companies prefer MBAs or post graduates, but there is no restriction as such.
There are many companies who offer internships to graduates as well depending on the requirement.
Some of the companies also visit various colleges and universities for hiring interns. You should get in touch with your institute or the placement committee in your institute for any such leads.
These internships are typically for 8 to 12 weeks, and are sometimes paid handsomely. But I suggest, do not go behind money for a change, since your aim in the internships should be to learn and not just earn.
As an intern you would be working in small teams wherein you will be assigned a mentor in the company who would be your go to man in the company.
Finance internships in New York
New York hosts the best of companies in the United States for any industry.
This stands true for finance internships as well. Following is the list of a few top internships in New York City:
- Blackstone Group
Two types of internships available for college seniors and college graduates.
Both the internships are competitively paid and attract a lot of traction from around the country.
Prior experience in investment banking and accounting & finance are an added advantage.
- Goldman Sachs
Available in the profile of Investment banking and investment management, an internship in Goldman Sachs is one of the best ones available in the industry.
If the company does not visit your campus, you can start applying January onwards.
The company offers internship in the domain of financial services.
The company has three types of internships to offer and has a relatively stricter selection process.
The duration of internships is of 10 weeks and the pay is above par when compared to the industry standards.
- Credit Suisse
It is an ideal platform of aspirants who are creative and highly motivated.
The internship is of 10 to 14 weeks and is best suited for applicants who have a strong academic background.
The applications are invited and accepted from September to February.
Finance Internships in Chicago
Chicago is another location in the United States where many companies offer internships to undergrads and graduates. Following is the list of a few top internships in Chicago city –
Internships in the form of Summer Analysts for college seniors and Summer Associates for graduates are offered.
The applications are accepted from early January, but for Associates the cover letter has to be submitted in December.
The internship is from 8 to 12 weeks which pays USD 1,500 per week along with a fixed amount of relocation bonus.
- UBS Investment Bank
Internships in varied fields from asset management to investment banking are offered by this investment banking giant.
Major in engineering and Mathematics will give an edge over other aspirants.
Also, prior experience would come in handy for getting an internship in the company.
Google Finance Internships
According to the ratings submitted by interns at Glassdoor (a career site), Google retains the top slot as the best internships offered by a company.
In terms of pay, Google is far behind MicroSoft or JP Morgan, but still is considered as a good pay master.
The reason why Google’s internships are rated very high is that interns are given a free way to innovate and voice their opinion at regular intervals.
Getting an internship at Google is really competitive as only about 1,500 interns are selected every year out of more than 40,000 applicants.
Also the process of selecting candidates is very rigorous and at times tedious for the applicant.
It all begins with an online application, followed by highly technical rounds of interviews.
You may have to wait for a few months to get a call back from the Google office for an interview.
However, being patient pays off. The interviews in Google are technical in nature, and require you to think on your feet.
Accommodation and commutation are taken care of by the company and the pay is reasonable where the interns can earn up to USD 5,500 per month. In addition to the regular work in office, the interns are also taken to places for outdoor learning activities including trips to museums, parks and art galleries.
How to Get a Finance Internship?
It is a simple yet effective process, which if followed to the tee, cam result in multiple call backs from various finance companies.
1. Get your basics in place
To start off as an intern you need to gain the technical expertise required to enter an organization.
If you are an undergraduate, focus on the subjects that are core to any finance job like corporate finance, cost of capital, taxation and accounting.
If you are a finance graduate you might want to brush up the concepts learnt during your degree so that you are ready for a real job.
If you are from a non-finance background, you might want to take up specialized courses in finance like financial modelling using excel and VBA to be at par with your peers from the finance background.
All in all get the required skill set acquired before even stating to hunt for an internship.
2. Set a goal
This includes zeroing on the target companies you want to get into and build a successful career.
This can be done by doing quick internet search and identifying the roles and responsibilities offered by various companies.
The next action in this step is to create a short term, medium term and long terms goal for yourself as a finance professional.
This step is very important as it gives you a direction at the initial stage of your career, so that there are milestones for you to achieve as you move along your journey.
Creating goals does not mean that you cannot modify or enhance them at a later stage depending on the kind of work you do.
These goals should just facilitate you in your career progression.
3. Create a resume
Most of the companies use resumes to reject applications, and trust me, you do not want to be rejected an opportunity just on the basis of a piece of paper.
However, I do not feel that a resume is just a piece of paper! It should ideally be an executive summary of your professional/academic personality.
I seriously recommend all my students to be honest and clear in resumes.
Use simple and short sentences that would give the reader a clear idea of your strengths and weaknesses, and the skill set you own.
4. Search for openings and apply
The best way to do it is checking the company websites of your target companies.
There are openings for internships that start taking applications from as early as September and last till end of February.
Identify the internship you want to apply for and apply instantly after finishing all the previous steps.
Please apply at more than one company for improving the chances of getting a call back.
If you do not get a call back in a month, rebuild your resume and apply again.
There is no limit on how many times you can apply in a company. Till the time you get a call back, do not settle down and keep improving your resume till you have optimized it enough to get a call back.
5. Start preparing for the interview
This is the last, but by no means the least, stage in the process.
Please read carefully the roles and responsibilities offered by the company to its interns.
Expect a lot of questions on your core concepts of finance, and prepare for them.
Depending on the company, you might be asked a variety of questions which can be hypothetical, personal, career related, case study based or on you past experience.
Please do a thorough research on the company’s interview procedure whilst preparing for the interview.
What to Do Now?
Now that I have told you everything that you need to know about getting a finance internship this is what you should do right away:
- Get ready in terms of skills and knowledge to apply for the internship
- Create a list of target companies to apply for, after doing thorough internet research
- Create a resume in consultation with your seniors or someone who is already working in one of the finance firms
- Check company websites for openings of internships and apply immediately
- Wait for the call back, in the meantime keep applying and improving your skill set and resume
- Prepare for the interview, and you better crack it!
I hope this article gave you clarity on beginning your journey as finance intern, and grow on to become a successful finance professional.
In case you have any questions, please feel free to write back.