Friday, January 1, 2010

Spring Term Internships at Bulge Brackets

Deadlines for summer internships and other internships are right around the corner.

We've been getting requests to write about non-summer internships at bulge bracket banks. Our resume reviewers have been through the recruiting process for several of the bank programs. This is the first post about internships you'd be interested in! As always, let us know if you want to hear about the recruiting process and experience of a particular internship.

One of the most selective and popular ones is the Goldman Spring Securities program during spring break. This one was launched about 4-5 years ago. There are about three rounds of the program - depending on when spring breaks falls for each school. Each round has about 8 to 12 interns, for a total of 24 to 36 participants. In the past (2007-8), students came from Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, Brown, MIT, UChicago, Columbia, Dartmouth, NYU, and Cornell.

GS specifically recruits at the above schools. After one round of on-campus interviews at the above schools, they made offers.

If you don't go to the above schools, you can still apply online via their website. Before anyone asks, we didn't know of people who got into the program without the one round of on-campus interviews. So if you don't go to the above schools, I'd suggest getting in touch with a recruiting contact who can field questions about applying for the program.

The interview was not incredibly technical in nature. It was most, if not all, fit. Of course the interview questions will vary depending on one's background, but on the whole, our impression was that this program is seen as a way of attracting high-achievers before junior recruiting. More than 75% didn't have prior finance experience.

This advice applies to securities internships in general:
  1. Ask LOTS of questions. As you can only learn so much in one week, it's most important to be interested in all things finance - ask insightful questions!
  2. Read the WSJ, NYTimes business, DealBook, and other resources. A lot of doing #1 well is by following current events - and asking intelligent questions when you're doing desk rotations.
  3. Jot down questions and thoughts after each day's sessions and prepare questions for your next day's rotations. Have something substantive to say at each moment throughout the day - it will make you stand out.
  4. Be friendly to the other interns. You don't have to be best friends, but it doesn't help to make enemies either (no matter how stiff the competition is). Each intern rotates through the same desks in a different order - and it's ideal to have a sense of what to expect if you can compare thoughts and experiences with others prior to your turn on a specific desk. Also, there isn't a quota on the number of returnees to the bank for the summer, so you and others can both do well by being strategic. Also, there is an end-of-week team project. The teams that did presented well had good team-players; those with big egos did not receive a return offer.
  • Usually 1-2 interns were asked to go back for the summer after their sophomore year to a certain desk. These interns hit it off really well with a certain desk and were placed on that desk for most / all of the summer. This goes to show that fitting in with the culture is a huge deciding factor in converting the spring internship to a summer offer.
  • A few interns received summer offers for the summer following junior year. These students generally had a good grasp of finance and fit in well with the securities team, but still had a few developmental areas (learning more finance, taking accounting, etc.)
  • Most interns received a guaranteed final round interview for a junior summer internship. This is an accelerated interview prior to the traditional recruiting schedule. These interns really had to get up-to-speed on general finance knowledge.
  • Regardless of the outcome, the spring internship is a great opportunity to make connections with senior people. We know of interns who received an accelerated interview -- they kept in touch with VPs and MDs, who helped them prep for the final round and vouched for them with HR. Those who used their connections ultimately landed the offer.

1 comment:

  1. Some questions about the program-
    How many interns received an offer for their junior summer at the end of the program? "A few" - does that mean around 2-3? Are these numbers for the whole program or just one of the weeks?
    For those who received offers, what do you mean that they had a "good grasp of finance"? Since most participants don't have much experience in finance, what did these interns do to stand out? Any more specific advice on how to land an offer by the end of the wee?


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