MBAs who would be bankers must intern to get a job

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If you're an MBA who wants to get into banking, the good news is that business schools are adamant that banks really are still hiring. The bad news is that they're only hiring MBA students through internship programmes. This means that if you're in the final year of an MBA and you haven't got a job lined up in a bank, you're not going to get one.

Europe's top business schools say Goldman, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch are among the banks only interested in hiring interns this year.

Enthusiasm for interns appears to be based on the fact that an intern who is booked now for an internship next summer won't actually join full time until 2010, by which time the current problems may have blown over.

"Banks are interested in interns because they're a long-term investment. They're planning two years in advance," says Vicky Lambiri, associate director of careers services at IESE. She says IESE's encouraging its final-year MBA students who are still looking for positions in banking to look at industry instead.

Sandra Schwarzer, director of careers services at INSEAD, says other finance firms are lining up to fill the investment banking gap: "We've had turnaround managers such as Alvarez & Marsal, hedge funds and PE firms, as well as the European Investment Fund, coming to campus for the first time."

A final-year MBA student at one top UK business school says students are getting turned off from the big investment banks: "People are looking at boutiques, private equity and investment management."

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