You're leaving university in 2015 and you haven't yet secured a graduate job in an investment bank. As you will know from our comprehensive list of investment banking application deadlines, you're a little late in pinning this down: most large banks in London closed applications for their graduate programmes in November.
Nonetheless, it's not over yet. "All is not lost," says Tim Webster, a principal on the graduate team at recruitment firm Dartmouth Partners. "Some boutiques and smaller banks will always open their graduate recruitment campaigns later in the season. There will be campaigns that are still open - or, even, that are only just opening."
Which are these boutiques? Webster declined to give names, but research suggests that South African bank Investec is still hiring graduates for a 2015 start, as is German bank Berenberg.
It's not just boutiques. Bigger banks also still have 2015 graduate vacancies to fill - albeit not in the most appealing areas in the front office. For example, JPMorgan has set a deadline of January 25 for applications to technology roles in its Glasgow office. RBS still has London-based graduate jobs with a 2015 start in 'regulatory affairs', internal audit, technology and change, and technology transformation. Citi still has roles available in its London-based institutional clients group, although the deadline is January 9th (ie. today!).
The head of graduate recruitment at one North American bank in London says there will always be some places that didn't fulfill all their graduate hiring needs before Christmas. "You need to look at the smaller institutions," she says. "They usually hire behind the cycle."
Big Four accounting firms are another option. PwC, for example, is still hiring for its transaction services division in Belfast, Birmingham, Leeds and Reading.
If you're determined to land a role at a big bank or an institution whose 2015 scheme has already closed its doors, you can also opt for an 'off-cycle internship'. As we've pointed out previously, banks have become far more willing to hire people who've already graduated as 'off-cycle interns' and to make them a permanent job offer if the internship goes well. Teo Gionazzi, an Italian graduate who was officially registered with Morgan Stanley on January 1, entered through this route.
Webster says off-cycle internships can prove an ideal way of getting a first job in banking - if they work out. "While you're doing an off-cycle internship, you can always apply for graduate jobs elsewhere when banks open their applications for a 2016 start. Once you've got a permanent role locked down, you can then go travelling using the money you earned during internship and start full time work when you get back."
If all else fails, there's also the Masters in Finance option. However, this can be risky - a Masters is expensive and you need to choose your school carefully. "If you can afford to a Masters then great," says the head of recruitment. "But you'll need to land an internship and a graduate position as a result and there's no guarantee of this. Really, you're just delaying the crunch-point. You're better off compromising and looking at the jobs at smaller houses which you can still apply to now."