Investment Banking Internships for Undergraduate
While I’ve written lots of summer internship tutorials, most of them focus on what to do once you’re actually working, or how to prepare for the internship.
Even back in the dark ages (in Internet time, 2-3 years ago) one of the most asked questions here was “OK, but how do I get a summer internship in the first place?”
Summer internships are only available if you’re in school.
Yes, you could still apply if you’re graduating or you’ve already graduated but that has a very low success rate, especially at large banks.
You don’t have to be at a “target” school, but you will have to rely heavily on networking if you’re not. You are at more of a disadvantage at the MBA level if you’re not from a top school, because there are fewer spots available and the competition is much savvier.
“Internship” is just another word for an 8-10 week interview at a bank: if you pass, you get a return offer at the end. And if you don’t, you don’t get a return offer and have to look elsewhere for full-time work.
You perform tasks similar to what full-time analysts and associates do, but you’re always supporting them and you’re given more grunt work since you don’t know anything.
It’s different in sales & trading because you’re not allowed to trade as an intern, so it’s more of a shadowing experience there.
Summer internships are important because having one will dramatically increase your chances of getting full-time interviews and offers.
If the economy is bad, you might not even have a shot at full-time interviews if you haven’t had an internship – and many bulge bracket banks fill their entire analyst classes with summer interns.
Even if the market is frothy, an internship still gives you a big advantage, and even more importantly, gives you more options than someone without an internship.
When Do You Get an Internship?
I’ve been writing “summer internships” throughout, but banks do occasionally offer autumn, winter, and spring options as well – more so in Europe than the US.