No Internship? No Problem for Hiring Banks

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Usually banks draw 50% or more of their full time graduate hires from the pool of second-year university students who worked for them as interns the previous summer. In 2006, however, campus recruiters say that proportion is likely to be substantially smaller after improving market conditions prompted a last minute reappraisal of hiring targets.

"In investment banking our BA hiring goals have risen significantly," says Connie Thanasoulis, chief operating officer, campus recruiting, at Merrill Lynch. "It's a similar story in global markets: hiring goals rose during the summer so there are more spaces this year for non-interns."

The final hour increase in opportunities for final-year students without internships stands in contrast to a longer-term trend for recruiting as many people from the internship pool as possible: "75% to 80% of our summer hires get an offer, and in some businesses areas we usually fill as many as 90% of full-time positions with summer hires," says Thanasoulis. "It behooves us to hire as many qualified summer people as possible. It's a ten week interview: we're trying them on for size, and they're trying us on for size."

Interns 2006: Apply now!

As well as looking for full-time graduate hires to make up for the shortfall in last year's internship pool, banks are now gearing up to hire interns for summer 2006. Applications open in December and demand looks set to be strong.

"Hiring goals have gone up across The Street, and other industries are vying with us for talent - new industries include retail and luxury brands that are competing on the same BA & MBA campuses we are," says Thanasoulis.

Caitlin McLaughlin, Citigroup head of campus recruiting, says summer programs are particularly important for MBAs seeking investment banking roles on graduation: "You need to gain some practical experience of finance concepts and demonstrate a long term interest in this business."

MBAs who don't land a banking internship should try for roles in strategy and development or take a corporate finance position in a large corporate, advises McLaughlin.

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