Internships Vital for Investment Banking Jobs

Investment Banking firms look first to the ranks of former interns to fill entry-level positions, according to recent Wall Street Journal poll. That’s because the internship process is such an effective way to “preview” investment banking job candidates and get a better idea of what they can expect.

An article in the Dartmouth also noted that over 50 percent of new graduate hires have worked previously as interns at the firms where they land their first jobs.

If you’ve never held an internship, there’s still hope. Alternative approaches, such as volunteering at firms or non-profit organizations during the summer can demonstrate your interest and commitment to a particular career path, according to Monica Wilson, acting co-director of Career Services at Dartmouth.

Investment banking firms typically hire an annual class of a few dozen to over a hundred analysts. Those who’ve spent a summer at their firm know the firm’s culture and know what to expect, which increases retention rates for new hires. JP Morgan, for example, notes that “we hire most of our full time analyst class from our intern class,” in a company document.

Students who’ve held an internship at a firm, but want to work somewhere else, still have an advantage in the workplace, but not as much as someone who’s spent time at the particular firm, says Wilson. The only trump card might be if you have another offer from a competing firm, which demonstrates your attractiveness as a candidate.

What’s your take? Did you have an internship prior to landing your first investment banking job? Add your comments below.

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