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:

Accounting 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.

Discover Your Learning Style in 3 Minutes
Woman looking puzzled with learning style icons around here

Consider the following questions:

  1. What are your long-term career goals, and how can an internship help you achieve them?
  2. What specific skills do you want to develop or improve during your internship?
  3. What industries or types of companies are you interested in, and why?
  4. 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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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:

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

Reflect on your goals: Before evaluating your internship, take some time to reflect on your goals for the experience. What did you hope to learn or accomplish during your internship? How did your experience align with your goals?
Review your performance: Look at the tasks and projects you worked on during your internship and evaluate your performance. What did you do well, and where do you think you could have improved?
Ask for feedback: Ask your supervisors and colleagues for feedback on your performance during the internship. What did they think you did well, and what areas did they think you could improve?
Reflect on your learning: Think about what you learned during your internship. What new skills or knowledge did you gain, and how will these benefit your future career? Write this down, as future job interviewers will ask about your internship.
Plan for the future: Use what you learned and gained during your internship to plan for your future career. Identify any gaps in your skills or experience, and plan to fill them and achieve your career goals.

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.

Career Opportunities

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.

CFA Review to Help You Pass. It’s Simple.
Leave nothing to chance and be your best. Take our proven approach for passing results with our FREE trials.
Showing the guess which ball is in one of the 3 cups. One cup is clear and has the ball in it - with the analogy that UWorld is the easy choice to make for CFA prep.

Frequently Asked Questions

Finance internships may be paid or unpaid depending on the specific internship and the organization offering it. Some internships may provide a stipend or other form of compensation, while others may not provide any financial compensation. It is essential to research the specific internship you are interested in to determine whether it is paid or unpaid.
A finance intern’s remuneration can vary depending on several factors, including the specific internship, the organization offering it, and the internship’s location. Some finance internships may not provide financial compensation, while others may offer a stipend or other compensation. In some cases, finance internships may pay an hourly salary. Finance internships are more likely to provide financial compensation if larger, well-established companies offer them. It is vital to research the specific internship you are interested in to determine what, if any, compensation is offered.
Whether or not internships are necessary for finance majors is a decision that ultimately depends on the individual student’s goals and circumstances. In general, internships can provide valuable hands-on experience and help students develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the finance industry. However, internships are only sometimes necessary, and some students may be able to gain similar experience through other means, such as part-time jobs or coursework. It is crucial for students to carefully consider their goals and priorities before deciding whether to pursue an internship.
Whether or not to consider an unpaid internship is a decision that ultimately depends on the individual’s goals and circumstances. Unpaid internships can provide valuable hands-on experience and help students develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in their chosen field. However, unpaid internships can be time-consuming and may not provide financial compensation. Therefore, it is essential for individuals to carefully consider their goals and priorities before deciding whether to pursue an unpaid internship. If you are considering an unpaid internship, discussing the potential benefits and drawbacks with a career counselor or mentor may help you make an informed decision.
The length of an internship can vary depending on the specific internship and the organization offering it. In general, internships can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months, with the average length being around three to six months. Some internships may be part-time, while others may be full-time. It is vital to research the specific internship you are interested in to determine the length of the program.
Scroll to Top