☰ Menu eFinancialCareers

Why you MUST get an internship

Don’t spend next summer at the beach, spend it at a bank. In the wake of the financial crisis, firms are refocusing their recruitment on summer internships in order to provide them with an inexpensive and proven talent pipeline when it comes time to recruit permanent graduate trainees.

Interns aren’t paid much for the weeks they work and there isn’t an obligation to take on permanent headcount in today’s volatile market. But a year down the track (when the interns graduate), banks still have a ready-made supply of potential employees, thus reducing their reliance on costly campus hiring-drives.

At most major banks, about 80% of trainees are former interns. “We definitely aren’t doing as much recruitment at universities to get our trainees. We’re relying much more on our interns joining us when they graduate,” says the head of HR at a major bank, who asked not to be named.

Internships are vital to both students and banks, says Sally Whitman, Deutsche Bank’s Asia Pacific head of graduate resourcing.

“They are a great way to improve your skills and knowledge, not to mention your chances of being offered a full-time position on the graduate programme. A key purpose of our internship programme is to provide a strong pipeline and we are currently out on campus hiring interns for next summer,” says Whitman.

Goldman Sachs JBWere, like most firms, isn’t axing its interns. “We’re absolutely committed to the summer internship programme…We will be offering the same kind of numbers as last year,” says a spokeswoman for the bank.

Thousand of Aussie students apply for internships, but only hundreds are chosen, so students should do all they can to secure a spot.

But how do you become one of the lucky few? Applicants should gain knowledge of the finance industry and the individual bank, advises a spokeswoman from Citigroup.

“Read the business and finance sections of newspapers and know about recent deals. Know who the key players are, and speak to as many people as you can in the industry. Visit the website, research the company’s recent deals, gain an understanding of the firm’s structure and business lines,” she adds.

Deutsche’s Whitman says interviewers expect you to do your homework, “so a top tip would be not to ask the obvious questions, or questions that you can find the answers to elsewhere”.

Most domestic banks will start recruiting for 2009/10 summer internships towards the middle of this year.

As an example of potential numbers, ANZ offered 52 internships in 2008, in areas such as operations, institutional banking, IT, risk, finance, strategy and markets. “It’s a great way for students to learn about our business,” says ANZ’s acting head of graduate strategy Sarah O’Brien.

Comments (9)

  1. Unfortunately “reading the newspaper” and “knowing about recent deals” will not secure you an internship. You may be the most enthusiatic, knowlegeable and charismatic candidate, recruiters only want one thing; a D on your transcript (or HD for JBWere) …

    Hubert Cumberdale Reply
  2. I half-agree with Hubert.
    HR will be looking for high academic results. But being a mere nerd won’t help you pass the interviews.
    Employers, these days, want EVERYTHING

  3. First hand experience
    Myself: honours degree, HD average, huge range of extracurricular activities, strong experience…. 2 interview offers out of 9 applications.

    My friend: Law ->HD average, university medal, honours in arts and 100% UAI. 2 interview offers.

    What the hell do these bulge brackets want FFS?

    Student Student Reply
  4. A D-grade does not mean anything sometimes.
    I think employers are wrong and I also think australia is not he only country where I can choose from anyways…aftr all, I don`t want to end up like all those stressed cows taking the trains at wynyard at 5pm….brrrrrr….

  5. I don`t really agree… a good grade is of course good but is sometimes useless. Having an HD everywhere does not mean u are smarter than the person who got pass or fail. It just sometimes means you are lucky or you have been used with the system since many years, in which case the australian system o teaching is discriminatory.

    In any cases, this is not the only place on earth which offers jobs; there ae other alternatives in France or germany or elsewhere. Personally, if the odds are too high here, I dont see why I should even make the effort to comply to the rules of a country I like averagely.

    Martine Rousselle Reply
  6. first off- what uni did you graduate from? most banks dont recruit from non target uni’s.. they say they do.. but they dont… this will instantly kill your chances

  7. yes grades is really good. the epic vast majority of your initial impression will be from grades. doing well in uni demonstrates the hard work you’re capable of. nowadays kids have it all: usyd, umelb, anu, activities coming out of their ears, first class hons. you cl cv me telling me you can work hard with a 60 average… why should i take you??? if you’re a P student, don’t expect a break unless you started your own NPO for somali orphans… and yes, GPA is NOT everything but stay in perspective and realistic.

  8. More first hand experience:
    I have a HD average, Finance. Applied to bulge brackets. Only one interview out of the lot previous big4 accounting experience. Thought my application was pretty solid.

  9. It might help to try to think from a recruiter’s point of view – I think what really defines one big4 (whether it is a bank or accounting firm) is their culture. After all, most of them offer the same services, and from our point of view, we may not choose one because of superiority in one service. So before we come to a common consensus that recruiters are incompetent, it might be true that they are selecting people who are able to espouse the ethos endorsed by the firm.

    Personally, I’ve been unsuccessful, and though I like to think of myself as superman, it comforts me that IF recruiters failed me due to my personality difference, I’m thankful that I don’t have to put on a face for most of my waking hours.

    For those who are okay with lying on applications to ‘get the job’, it is very true that if you know people inside the firm, there’s an increased opportunity that you’ll find out what the firm in question is looking for.

The comment is under moderation. It will appear shortly.


Screen Name


Consult our community guidelines here