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Outrageous advice for converting your important banking internship

(Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

(Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

The summer is technically upon us and for students who find themselves on this website that probably means internships! Summer internships at investment banks have always been precious things. Getting an intern position often comes after a demanding numeracy test, a lengthy application form, a gruelling assessment day and a then, if you’re lucky, an interview.

Goldman Sachs said last week that it received 17,000 applications for its summer analyst programme this year, and only made offers to 350 people. That’s a success rate of 2%.

Why banking internships are worthwhile 

The good news is that unlike internships most other industries, internships in banking are paid and paid well. Banking is one of the few industries where a summer internship could theoretically help to fund your studies. Although the big investment banks won’t usually disclose their interns’ pay, salaries can reach £900 each week or £45,000 pro rata. Investment banks usually pay their interns the same as they pay their graduates – a practise that doesn’t seem to be waning. A spokesperson for Citigroup, admits that the pay for interns has gone down slightly in recent years, as would be expected given the state of the industry.

Nevertheless, if you want to work in banking you’ll need to do a summer internship. According to a graduate recruitment survey from High Fliers Research, an independent market research company, investment banks were among the worst for graduate recruitment in 2012, with the fifteen top UK investment banks surveyed reducing their intake by more than 315 places, compared with 2011.Between 2007 and 2013 the number of graduate vacancies in the 15 investment banks fell by 33.7 percent.

However, according to the same survey, banking and finance is the industry that is most likely to hire graduate talent from those who have already worked for the company, meaning former interns. This year, 43 percent of those recruited out of university were predicted to have had previous experience with the company. If you look at investment banking specifically, the likelihood rises to 78 percent. In 2013, the ratio of paid work experience placements (or internships) to graduate vacancies is expected to be 123:100.

Although she wouldn’t reveal figures, Faye Woodhead, Director of Global Graduate Resourcing at Deutsche Bank said the company “were proud of their conversion rate.” She also noted that 90 percent of all candidates offered a summer internship accepted the offer, which she said “suggested a continued commitment to the industry for those focused on financial services and the strength of Deutsche Bank’s programs for penultimate year students.”

How to convert your internship – the off-the record version 

If you’ve been lucky enough to land a summer internship at an investment bank this year and are wondering how to convert that into a full time job, a new blog by the people behind the Goldman Sachs Elevator twitter account purports to offer a warts-and-all account of how to go about it. You can see the full list here.  Among other things, it advises:

  • If your boss smokes, smoke.
  • Don’t wear Hermes ties, ever.
  • If you went to a decent boarding school, subtly find out if anyone who matters went to the same school. Make them your mentor.
  • Never forget that your fellow interns are your rivals. It’s war. (When a fellow intern leaves his desk, change his screen (or screens) to rolex.com, porsche.com, or morganstanley.com.)
  • Don’t be too good to do the coffee runs.  It shows confidence.  Just don’t mess up.
  • Ask the secretary for the travel schedules of the senior members of your group for the week ahead. You’ll then know when you can sleep in, or hit the gym.
  • Don’t offer to buy drinks for senior bankers; you can’t afford them and it won’t score any points. Always laugh at senior bankers’ jokes.

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