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Failed banking interns dissect where it all went wrong

It's all on for interns in investment banks, who now have 10-12 weeks in which to prove themselves in the hope of getting a proper job offer at the end of the process. Unfortunately, as we've noted before, investment banking internships aren't always everything they're supposed to be. Fewer interns are getting job offers, and it may be necessary to do multiple internships before you achieve a permanent position.

We spoke to four people who interned in banks and didn't receive job offers, and asked them why they think they didn't convert their internships. We've added their comments below. All the ex-interns requested that they remained anonymous.

1. A lot of the full-time jobs had already been allocated to 'off-cycle' interns

"Some banks have several internship periods throughout the year. You arrive for the summer internship and you find they've already made offers to people who interned there in spring. It makes it really difficult as there might be no places left on the team you're joining."

2. I was allocated to a team that didn't have any jobs going

"The vibe that's given out by these firms is that you'll get a job offer just as long as you turn up and you don't mess up. But that's not really true - it all depends upon finding a team which is actually hiring. On rotational internships, you have no choice about where you're placed. It's just pot luck whether you end up in a team where there are actually jobs on offer."

3. I was competing against a whole load of experienced interns who knew how to game the system

"I was 20 and the youngest in the 75-person intern class - there were a whole load of people aged 23, 24, 25 and 26. They'd already been working a couple of years and had already done three to four internships. They knew how the game works in terms of finding a desk which is hiring, and definitely had an advantage over people like me."

4. I didn't bond with my colleagues

"90% of the interns are capable, so ultimately it's all about finding a team you can click with. Unless you're a complete genius, the team aren't going to take you unless you fit in."

5. It was the wrong job at the wrong time

We spoke to one ex-Goldman Sachs intern who did receive a job offer, but decided not to take it. "I'd only just turned 21 and I felt it was too early to engage in a professional career. I went to study a Masters in Finance and decided to go for a job in consulting rather than banking - I didn't want the banking lifestyle and I felt that consulting offered better work/life balance and more variety."

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • fc
    24 June 2013

    6. I spent the last day as follows: lunch at KFC, all afternoon boozing with old team, went to intern leaving party, spewed KFC over grad HR (food poisoning). No one called back.

    Always fall at the last hurdle.

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