The Graduate Applicant's Timeline

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September/October: Applications for full-time positions

You may have only just returned to school after a summer vacation spent backpacking around Europe, but if you're a final year student who wants to work in an investment bank, this is not the time to be complacent. September and October are a crucial time.

"We see students from different schools within a relatively short period from late September through to mid-October," says Janet Raiffa, co-head of campus recruiting for the Americas at Goldman Sachs. "Each school has a different deadline, and we review applications when that's passed and make offers on a rolling basis."

"Resumes are typically due from mid-September to the start of October," says the BA recruitment manager at one firm. "Students should apply directly to their college careers centres."

Caitlin Mclaughlin, head of campus recruiting at Citigroup in the Americas, says applicants are also advised to apply directly to banks themselves: "To apply in full, candidates have to submit an application through their school careers service and through our own website. Students who apply upfront through our website show themselves to be more savvy than those who don't."

October/November: Interviews and offers (full-time)

During the second half of October and early November, interviews for full time analyst positions take place, and full time offers are despatched. "The application process is usually wrapped up by December 1," says Mclaughlin. The subtext says if you don't have an offer by Thanksgiving, your chances of receiving one later are slim.

December/January: Internship applications

While unsuccessful full time applicants weep over their turkeys, would-be summer analysts are still in with a chance. Summer internships are open to penultimate year university students and are a key route to a full time traineeship in an investment bank - most banks draw as many as 80% of their full time analyst hires from the previous year's summer analyst class.

"Applications for summer analyst programmes open in December," says Connie Thanasoulis, COO of US Campus Recruiting at Merrill Lynch. "By late December to early January we've usually selected the people we want to interview."

January/February: Interviews and offers (summer analysts)

While most people are celebrating, applicants for summer positions on Wall Street spend the New Year's period priming for interviews.

"We usually interview summer analysts from the middle of January to the end of February," says one recruiter, "Interviews are sent out a few days after the interview: it's a tight process and we try to be as quick as possible."

"We begin interviewing in mid-January," says Hurst at Citigroup, "And we aim to have the whole process wrapped up by March 1."

June/July/August: Summer analyst season

After letting their hair down in April and May, investment banks' graduate recruiters spend the rest of the summer managing interns.

Summer analyst programmes typically last ten weeks and take place across June, July and August, with intakes staggered to take account of varying semesters. At most banks, interns are informed in the weeks subsequent to the programme whether they've been successful.

"Students receive offers approximately two weeks after the end of the summer programme," says Thanasoulis at Merrill. "But they should have a good idea of the outcome by the time the programme ends. We pride ourselves on giving good feedback - summer analysts participate in a mid-summer review, an end-of-summer review, and an exit interview."

While summer internships are in full swing, successful full-timers from the previous autumn's recruiting season arrive for training. Forget backpacking around Europe, and welcome to the world of work.

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