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In any career, interning has always been a great way to not only experience whether a particular profession is the right one, but to also get a leg up on landing a full-time job after graduation. In the world of finance, internships are practically mandatory while at the same time very competitive.

If you want to stand out during the application process, you should research which of the over 30 different sectors of the financial markets industry you want to explore, along with the companies that operate in those sectors.

Make sure to continue to hone relevant skills whether they're math, quantitative analytics or communications. Keep up on current events and the markets. Read financial news every day and take courses that will give you academic foundation in economics as well as financial and investment principals.

When Citigroup selects summer interns from college seniors and summer associates (students between their first and second years of graduate school, 90 percent of whom are MBA candidates), it looks for students who can articulate an interest in the financial markets.

Another tip is to line up some recommendations. Whenever you can, get people to put in a good word for you. It's easier to get an internship when you can get recommended, especially by someone with connections to the company which you are applying to.

Keep Your Eyes Open

When seeking your internship, cast a wide net. There are a number of different positions in a variety of sectors in financial markets. Banks look for people with a variety of backgrounds for positions in human resources, risk management, sales and trading. This industry welcomes students with varied and interesting backgrounds.

Once you're in the door, keep a mental checklist:

  • Do you like the work?
  • Are the other employees' interests and skills similar to yours? Be curious (but not pushy) about their backgrounds and responsibilities.
  • Is the work environment comfortable or lacking?
  • If you don't feel you have enough to do, ask, politely, for more.
  • Always be enthusiastic and professional.
  • If you're in a new city, try to network with other students and alumni from your school. As you hone your existing skills and acquire new ones, you just might meet someone who can help you find a permanent job

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