As part of a new series on eFinancialCareers, an experienced graduate recruiter is willing to answer some of your careers-related questions
Nadia Capy-Osgood is a seasoned graduate recruiter who’s worked at various investment banks and is now a project manager for Graduate Solutions, an independent firm which operates graduate recruitment programmes for different firms in the City.
If you have a graduate career issue, send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, with ‘Graduate careers coach’ in the subject line. We’ll forward two of your questions a month to Nadia, who will respond with advice on that plus two follow-up questions. The thread will be posted on the site and your identity will remain anonymous throughout.
Here are the latest student questions, and Nadia’s responses:
I’ve received a Summer Internship offer at a top Bulge Bracket Investment Bank. Given current tough market conditions, do you know what the conversion ratio will likely to be from summer internship to full time offer this year?
CONGRATULATIONS! Banks hire interns for one reason alone – to feed their full-time pipeline the following year. So they want this to work as much as you do! The conversion rate in internships is usually around 70% and the hiring process for an intern is almost identical to the hiring process for a full time graduate. Gone are the days when interns are allowed to be “green” or “raw talent” for firms to mould to fit the business’ needs.
Getting a FT offer from an internship is better too as you are unlikely to fail your probation period as you have already proved yourself over the summer. The conversion ratio of summer offers does not really change much year on year and is not affected by the economic climate – unless unforeseen circumstances happen – such as a desk closing or a team walking! If you don’t get an offer it will be because you don’t perform or because you don’t “fit”. In my many years of running summer programmes at various banks there are always the naive interns who get over excited at a networking event, or over step the mark in a client meeting and ruin their chances of converting their internship and probably spend the rest of their lives regretting it.
Make sure you keep you head down, delight your managers (even if they are cocky analysts only hired last year), be a fabulous collaborator, help your peers shine and make sure you are not your intake’s Frankie Cocozza!!!
Thank you Nadia. Can you also tell me who ultimately decide when it comes to choose interns for a full time offer? Is it the MD, or the analyst, or other members of the team? Who has the most influence?
This is an interesting question. The MD gives the final sign-off and yes – he has the power to make or break an offer.
However the offer process for summer interns is more detailed than you may think. This is why interns usually make great hires as poor hiring decisions rarely happen – on both sides – the graduate and the hiring team are usually very happy with the match! You are observed throughout your summer programme and your team skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, technical ability, drive, attitude – how you interact with your peers, how hard you work – are all taken into consideration.
During the internship, you will most likely rotate through different areas. This will allow the bank to see where you flourish and where you fit. Then, at the end of the summer programme and after all the final-round summer interviews have taken place, all the data is collated on each intern. The desk heads then meet to discuss every candidate. A huge grid is usually drawn up on flip chart and each candidate’s grades and key information are added. A fiery debate happens – no one agrees! – and then offers are made.
A desk head usually “commits” to take a graduate at that point for her/his desk. However, sometimes specific desk hires are not made. This is particularly the case if there are uncertainties on who will hire in 12 months’ time. In this situation, you may be given a generalist offer and rotate again for the first 6 months when you are a FT graduate hire.
Thank you! Lastly, are full time hiring decisions dependent upon forecasted business needs of the specific team which the intern has worked in?
Right at the start of the hiring season, desks have to request an intern and they need to put up a business case why they need one.
They also need to prove that they can honour a place for a FT graduate in 12 months time. It is not easy for a desk to be allocated an intern as they are expensive to hire and need to be looked after (i.e. Given interesting work and not just grunt work that no one else wants to do).
Every business wants an intern because they don’t pay for them out of their own cost centres – the costs for hiring graduates and interns come from HR. So HR ultimately has the power to decide where they go and where they will be safe. The hiring desks need to be performing well and consist of strong teams who will respect and therefore convert interns into hires. It’s all about investing in you – developing tomorrow’s managers. Generalist programmes usually take care of uncertainties with the economic climate – that is why many banks favour rotation programmes.