An Ultimate Guide to Finance Internships
Whether or not college students in finance should do internships is a decision that ultimately depends on their individual goals and circumstances. In general, internships in finance can provide valuable hands-on experience and help students develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in their chosen field. Additionally, internships allow students to make connections and build their professional network, which is beneficial when looking for a job after graduation. On the other hand, internships can be time-consuming and only sometimes provide financial compensation. Therefore, it is vital for students to carefully consider their goals and priorities before deciding whether to pursue an internship.
Internship Program for Finance Majors: Overview
An internship program for finance majors is a structured work experience program designed specifically for students or recent graduates studying finance or a related field. These programs typically involve working with a company or organization in a finance-related role, such as accounting, financial analysis, or investment banking. These programs provide students with practical experience and exposure to the finance industry and help them develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the field. Many internship programs —especially in Fintech— for finance majors are offered through colleges and universities and may be paid or unpaid depending on the specific program and organization offering it.
What Are the Different Types of Internships in Finance?
Usually, finance degree programs at universities closely align with the needs of the financial services industry. As a result, there are internships available in almost all major finance-related areas. While internships can be a great way for students to gain practical experience in the field, internships with well-known firms can also provide valuable networking opportunities and help students develop important skills that are highly sought after by employers.
Here's an overview of several primary types of finance internships:
Involves working with a company's financial statements and records, preparing and analyzing financial reports, and assisting with the organization's accounting and tax compliance.
Financial Analysis Internships
Involves using financial data and market research to make recommendations and decisions about a company's financial performance and investment opportunities.
Investment Banking Internships
Involves working with a team of investment bankers to help companies raise capital and advise them on mergers and acquisitions.
Corporate Finance Internships
Involves working with a company's financial department to help manage the organization's financial resources and make strategic financial decisions.
Private Equity Internships
Involves working with a private equity firm to help invest in and manage private companies.
Wealth Management Internships
Involves working with a financial advisor to help individuals manage their investments and financial goals.
Evaluating Your Finance Internship: Before
One of the best ways to prepare for your career is to participate in internships. From a timing standpoint, most are done in the summer between your sophomore and senior years of college. Whether an aspiring financial analyst or future buy-side analyst for a prominent investment firm, college internships can make a big difference. You will gain experience to add to your resume and enjoy a competitive edge at the company for future employment.
Finding the right internship should start early, even 6-8 months from your potential start date. Finance internships are typically very competitive and can come from anywhere:
- College professors and job boards
- Family connections
- Investment clubs
- Direct contact
- Job websites
- Past Employment
As they say, who you know can be very important in one's career. Beyond that, getting the right opportunity takes resourcefulness and a bit of hustling!
Identify Your Requirements and Intent
The internship's overarching goal is to give students a deeper understanding of how a finance division functions, encompassing areas like asset management, investment research, international markets, operations, and investment banking. To identify your requirements for an internship, start by thinking about your goals and what you hope to gain from your experience.
Consider the following questions:
- What are your long-term career goals, and how can an internship help you achieve them?
- What specific skills do you want to develop or improve during your internship?
- What industries or types of companies are you interested in, and why?
- Do you want to have any specific responsibilities or tasks as part of your internship?
Once you clearly understand your goals and what you are looking for in an internship, you can use this information to search and apply for internships that align with your interests and needs. You can also use this information to communicate your requirements to potential employers and ensure that you are matched with an internship that is a good fit for you.
While it is important to remember that an internship is an opportunity to gain valuable experience and build skills, the pay factor is also important. There will be sought-after opportunities that might be unpaid. This might not be an option for many students, especially in expensive metropolitan areas. For paid options, finance can be one of the most lucrative industries, especially for analysts and interns working at the top 10 investment banks.
Getting That Extra Edge in Landing a Finance Internship
While getting a good finance internship requires the candidate to follow the basic mandate that makes them eligible for the same, increasing your chances of getting one is a process that involves more than one step:
Start your search early: Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for internships. Start searching for opportunities in your field of interest well in advance so you can apply and interview for the positions that interest you.
Research potential companies: Before applying for an internship, research the companies you are interested in to learn more about their business and culture. This will help you tailor your application and prepare for the interview.
Network: Networking is essential to the internship search process. Attend career fairs, join professional organizations, and talk to people in your field to learn about potential opportunities and make connections.
Tailor your resume and cover letter: When applying for internships, tailor your resume and cover letter to the specific company and position. Highlight your relevant skills and experiences, and explain why you are a good fit for the role.
Be persistent: Don't be discouraged if they don't respond immediately. Keep applying for internships and networking with people in your field. Eventually, you will find the right opportunity for you.
Tips and Tricks for Finance Internships
The competition to get into a finance internship is intense, and staying well-prepared becomes a key to the process. Your success, tracking from before you join as an intern to when you move out of the same, largely depends on your resume, your performance in the interview, and the networking you form once in the position.
Here’s how you can ace all three of them:
- Keep it concise: Your resume should be succinct and direct. Leave out anything that is not necessary and concentrate on the most important and pertinent facts. Try to keep your resume between one and two pages long.
- Use clear, concise language: stay away from jargon and sentences that are unnecessarily complicated. Use simple, understandable language that is straightforward and succinct; unless an acronym or abbreviation is well-known, avoid using it.
- Use action verbs: Use action verbs to describe your responsibilities and achievements on your resume. Examples of action verbs include “developed,” “implemented,” and “achieved.”
- Tailor your resume: Don’t use the same resume for every job application. Instead, customize your CV for each job by emphasizing the abilities and encounters that are most pertinent to the position.
- Proofread: Before sending your resume, carefully check it for typos and grammatical problems. Have a friend or coworker check to see if you have missed anything.
What Are the Benefits of Securing a Finance Internship Program?
Finance internship programs can provide a number of benefits to students and recent graduates. Additionally, internships can provide networking opportunities and the chance to build a professional network, which can be helpful when looking for full-time employment after graduation.
Apart from giving participants valuable work experience and the opportunity to learn about the finance industry, these internships also help in gaining:
Evaluating Your Finance Internship: After
You should start saving the names and contact details of the professionals you meet as soon as you secure an internship. This might be the person who conducted your internship interview, the broker or analyst you will be assisting or the organization's internship coordinator. All can be helpful while looking for a full-time position, particularly at that company.
After the Internship
Here are some post-internship and on-internship reminders that you can pay heed to
In finance, interpersonal abilities are necessary, and they may impact the hiring and promotion decisions made in the end. Staying in contact with your network formed even after finishing your internships is highly beneficial and can help you stay informed of their career progressions.
There are many career opportunities available to individuals who have completed a finance internship. Some potential career paths include becoming a financial analyst, a financial manager, a financial advisor, or a financial planner. Additionally, individuals who have completed a finance internship may pursue further education and training in finance, such as obtaining a master's degree in finance or business administration focusing on finance. Depending on your career interest, an advanced certificate like the CFA Charter can give you a real advantage when seeking employment. This can open up even more career opportunities and can help individuals advance in their careers.
Here’s more about CFA careers and CFA salaries.