by Brian DeChesare Comments (323)

How to Prepare for Investment Banking Summer Internship Recruiting

How to Prepare for Investment Banking Summer Internship Recruiting
Young Man on white shirt Fixing his black neckTie. Groom concept

While I’ve written lots of summer internship tutorials, most of them focus on what to do once you’re actually working, or how to prepare for the internship.

Even back in the dark ages (in Internet time, 2-3 years ago) one of the most asked questions here was “OK, but how do I get a summer internship in the first place?”

And since then I’ve gotten many more questions on the timing for summer internship recruiting, how it’s different from full-time recruiting, what to focus on, and what happens when – so let’s get to it.


I’m assuming that you’re an undergraduate or MBA – or that you’re graduating but are starting a Master’s program right afterward.

Summer internships are only available if you’re in school.

Yes, you could still apply if you’re graduating or you’ve already graduated but that has a very low success rate, especially at large banks.

You don’t have to be at a “target” school, but you will have to rely heavily on networking if you’re not. You are at more of a disadvantage at the MBA level if you’re not from a top school, because there are fewer spots available and the competition is much savvier.


You know, investment banking summer internships. Haven’t we been through this before?

“Internship” is just another word for an 8-10 week interview at a bank: if you pass, you get a return offer at the end. And if you don’t, you don’t get a return offer and have to look elsewhere for full-time work.

You perform tasks similar to what full-time analysts and associates do, but you’re always supporting them and you’re given more grunt work since you don’t know anything.

It’s different in sales & trading because you’re not allowed to trade as an intern, so it’s more of a shadowing experience there.


Summer internships are important because having one will dramatically increase your chances of getting full-time interviews and offers.

If the economy is bad, you might not even have a shot at full-time interviews if you haven’t had an internship – and many bulge bracket banks fill their entire analyst classes with summer interns.

Even if the market is frothy, an internship still gives you a big advantage, and even more importantly, gives you more options than someone without an internship.

When Do You Get an Internship?

I’ve been writing “summer internships” throughout, but banks do occasionally offer autumn, winter, and spring options as well – more so in Europe than the US.

But the other internships are not much different aside from timing and summer internships are the most common ones, so we’ll focus on those.

Recruiting begins in December or January and concludes sometime in February. The internship itself starts in June and finishes in August, lasting anywhere between 8 to 10 weeks.

Before you reply and say that you heard of a friend who interned longer or shorter than that or someone who did not follow that exact timing, yes, there are exceptions and the sentences above just give approximate guidelines.

Some banks may finish later – especially boutique and middle-market firms – and sometimes recruiting starts in November, especially outside the US.

Prep Time?

More important than the specific dates is when you should start networking and preparing for recruiting.

A long time ago when I interviewed readers who broke into banking from non-target schools (no, that special offer is no longer active because the courses were released a long time ago), most of them reported starting 6 months in advance.

They networked through the summer and started with weekend trips in the fall before interviews began in the winter.

If you haven’t already done all that and recruiting is underway, it’s not the end of the world – although you will have to approach things differently (see the networking section below).

How to Get a Summer Internship

Summer internship recruiting is not dramatically different from full-time recruiting – you still get in via networking, having a solid resume, and then acing your interviews.

But there are some differences and special considerations:


Ideally you will have started at least a few months in advance with contacting alumni, setting up informational interviews, and figuring out your story.

This is more necessary if you’re at a non-target school than if you’re at a top school and already have a competitive profile: networking always helps, but if you have perfect grades and 2 internships at Goldman Sachs you will get (at least some) interviews anyway.

If you have time to start in advance, you know the drill: start with informational interviews over the summer, continue with weekend trips in the fall leading up to recruiting season and make your “ask” just before interviews begin.

If you have not started in advance and this is a last-minute effort, here are some tactics to try:

  • Go to all the information sessions you can – these are held right before the application deadline, so you still have a shot even at the last-minute.
  • If you’re at a non-target school, go to another school’s information sessions and sneak in if you can get away with it. Don’t kidnap someone and steal his/her student ID, but see if you can “borrow” a friend’s or otherwise talk your way in if security is tight. Some bankers frown on this, but others will be impressed that you were hungry enough to get in.
  • Look up alumni on LinkedIn or in your alumni database and still set up informational interviews – but be more direct and ask how you can position yourself for a formal interview at the end of each conversation.
  • Cold-call aggressively – this works better at boutiques and you should do it only if you have no other options and/or you made it through recruiting season without any offers.

It’s not ideal to start networking at the last-minute, but it is slightly less of a deal-breaker than if you went into full-time recruiting with minimal networking.

And if you already started months in advance, you’re well ahead of the game because most aspiring bankers don’t read this site and are still going to information sessions asking what it’s like being an investment banker.

Resumes / CVs

First, download and use this university student resume template if you’re an undergraduate or this MBA-level template if you’re at the business school level.

Using one of those templates helps you avoid the most common mistakes like poor formatting, impossible-to-scan text, the temptation to be “creative” and make a video resume (please don’t or it will be forwarded widely and your life will be ruined), and so on.

But much of your resume is beyond your immediate control: bankers place a heavy emphasis on your school name, where you’ve worked, and your grades – and you can’t change those at the last-minute.

But you can control how you present your experience and what you focus on:

  • At the MBA level write about the 2 or 3 full-time positions you had before going to business school, focusing on whatever was closest to finance; just 1 full-time position is OK if that’s all you have, but you may want to include an undergraduate internship or an activity you’ve been involved in for the sake of variety.
  • If you have limited work experience as an undergrad, pick the 2-3 activities, sports, or competitions you’ve been most heavily involved in (see this tutorial and resume makeover for more). Hopefully you’ve held a leadership role in these.

For example, you could write about a student investment fund that you’ve led, a nonprofit you’ve been volunteering with, and a case or investment competition you won.

They don’t have to be finance-related, but it certainly helps when it comes time to tell your story and prove your interest in the field.

If you’ve had a rotational internship or you’ve had actual finance experience, then devote at least half your resume to that and don’t write as much about unrelated activities.

The specific format for each entry is the same as what’s in the tutorials above – pick a project-centric or task-centric structure depending on the experience and be as specific and results-oriented as possible.

As usual, cover letters are mostly useless but there is a cover letter template right here if you need it – there are no differences for internships.


For full-time interviews bankers focus more on your most recent internship, but for internship interviews you haven’t had as much experience – so they will ask more about your background before university or business school and the activities you’ve been involved in.

You still need a solid story and then 2-3 mini-stories (see The Banker Blueprint for an explanation) that you can use to answer the usual questions about leadership, teamwork, strengths and weaknesses, and so on.

The only difference is that you may rely more on your activities as an undergrad, or on your pre-MBA experience at the business school level.

Going back to the example above, the interviewee might talk about where he’s from (the “beginning”), then use the case competition as his finance “spark,” and then talk about how he started the student investment fund for his growing interest (see the story tutorial for definitions of all these and the overall outline).

The key challenge will be to convince bankers that you want to be in the field without sounding TOO certain and coming across as unrealistic – it is just an internship, after all.

So rather than saying you want to be a banker for life, say that it’s what you’re most excited about doing and what you want to do full-time after graduation. You know it depends on how you perform in the internship, but that is what you’re most looking forward to right now based on your past experience, networking, and everything you’ve learned on your own.

Technical Questions

The “bar” for technical questions is definitely higher than it was in, say, the 2000-2005 period.

Back then, you might have gotten in with little technical knowledge, but these days you pretty much have to know accounting, valuation, and how to answer basic questions such as how changes to line items affect the 3 statements.

And often you’ll get asked a lot more than that – it is not unheard of to get questions on merger models, LBO models, and so on even if you haven’t had banking experience and are going for summer internships.

Generally you will not get as difficult questions if you don’t have a finance background and haven’t had previous internships, but there are no guarantees.

You may get overwhelmed if you try to cram in everything at the last-minute, so this is another area where you want to start prepping at least a few weeks to a month in advance.

Undergraduate vs. MBA Differences

There aren’t many: networking and interviews are similar, and your resume may look different but the basic idea is the same.

The key difference is that bankers expect more polish if you’re at the MBA-level: they know that you’re good at BSing and talking your way into situations if you’ve made it that far, so they will ask more probing questions.

An undergraduate might get away with a generic answer for the “Why investment banking?” question, but you will not: they will ask more detailed questions to see whether you’re being relatively truthful or you’re just good at making stuff up on the spot.

Everyone else will also be networking, since that’s arguably the true purpose of business school – so you need to get started before you even arrive on campus.

Technical questions in interviews may also take the form of case studies – whether written or informal discussions – more often at this level.

Instead of asking how to value a company or the trade-offs of the different methodologies, bankers may ask about a specific company and walk through an imaginary scenario where someone else wants to acquire them, and then frame all the valuation questions in that context.

So be prepared and read up on case studies – the private equity case study tutorial is also applicable here.


The main differences:

  1. In addition to CVs and cover letters, you may also have to submit written answers to competency questions (more common in Europe).
  2. The interview process will also consist of an assessment center and case studies that you complete there (mostly Europe and Australia).
  3. In emerging markets, the recruiting process will be more unstructured and haphazard.

For #2, see the existing guide to case studies and assessment centers.

For #1, just pretend you’re answering interview questions but condense what you say into 200 or 300 words, or whatever the word limit is.

Just like with cover letters, if you say something stupid it could come back to haunt you – but amazing answers won’t help you that much.

Answer each question with a definitive statement (e.g. “My top 3 qualities are my work ethic, leadership, and ability to work in a team.”) and then give a specific example or two to back up what you say.

Banks claim to pay attention to these questions, but overall they are less important than your CV and interview skills so don’t lose sleep over them.


Good news travels quickly: if you get an offer, you’ll probably hear back right away. If you don’t get an offer or you’re on the wait list, you won’t.

And yes, before you start panicking, there are exceptions and banks don’t always do this.

If you get an exploding offer, you pretty much have to accept it unless you have another offer lined up.

For internships it is much better to take something – even if it’s at a boutique or middle-market bank – than to turn it down and take a chance on getting an offer at a much larger bank.

Even with a lesser-known bank on your resume, you’ll still get interviews at bulge bracket banks for full-time recruiting – so the risk of not accepting an offer outweighs the potential upside of waiting and taking a chance on a better offer.

You could renege on your summer offer but that has its own set of risks.

And for summer internships it is arguably more risky than with full-time recruiting, because you may have to interview once again after your internship – if someone remembers that you reneged on an offer, that’s bad news for you.

Plan B Options

What if you go through recruiting and end up with no summer internship offers?

Just take a look at the Plan B options here and here and cut out the ones that don’t make sense (e.g. business school or a Master’s program).

Get as close to banking as possible – outside of PE/HF/VC the best options are probably corporate finance/development and wealth/asset management.

The back office is not necessarily the kiss of death as it is for full-time work, but it is a step below client-facing / revenue-generating options.

If nothing on that list works for you, start your own project, your own student club or investment fund, or something similar.

Whatever you do, don’t just sit around or only take classes or study for exams and certifications because you’ll put yourself at an even bigger disadvantage.

And don’t even think about the Best Buy option.

Any questions?

M&I - Brian

About the Author

Brian DeChesare is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys memorizing obscure Excel functions, editing resumes, obsessing over TV shows, traveling like a drug dealer, and defeating Sauron.

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  1. Hi!

    Im in a final year of master at non-target school with previous experience (short-term internship in Big 4, one year in a local bank, half a year in local PE fund + one semester at Emory university in the US). My question is, how to get into IB in some of big european banks in the UK, GE or Switzerland?

    Do I need to go to one of the target schools ? Or do I have a chance to get a summer internship in IB anyway? Will I get throug the CV screeing (if I studied at non target uni) or shall I just apply at only small banks? what is the best solution in my situation?

    Thanks a lot for any tip or advice!

    1. You can potentially get into IB without going to a target school, but you’ll have to network to compensate. Try networking first (especially in the UK), and if that doesn’t work, maybe think about smaller banks. There are relatively few actual IB roles in Switzerland, so you’re better off focusing on the UK.

      1. Thank you for reply Brian! I was also considering IB in Asia (Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore etc…. is it easier to get into IB in Asia or even more difficult as geting into IB in the UK for example?

        and the last question… Do you think it would be better in my situation to apply for a job in PE (if I have a work experience in PE fund) or is it sth impossible to get a job in PE as a foreigner in countries like UK, US without previous IB experience?

        1. With your background, it is better to go for roles in Asia because banks won’t care about your language abilities in the UK but they will care in Asian locations. It is still ideal to work in IB first before entering PE.

  2. Hey,
    I’m an international student starting an MSc in Finance at a target b- school in london. Due to the structure of the program I will have 2 months off during the summer and the program officially ends at the 30th of September. I am thinking of applying for summer analyst roles as well as off cycle internships. What do you thing suits me best given the fact that I do not have the experience needed for graduate analyst programs?

    1. Off-cycle internships are probably better to get the required experience first (but it depends on the length of your program as well…).

      1. Thanks for the reply. The insights you provide are really helpful. One last question though. I have a couple of connections in the industry (corporate finance advisory boutique and ib in a major US bank). In addition, both of them graduated from the same b-school I will, which I think is a plus. I am planning on leveraging these connections in order to escape the noise from the high volume of MSc graduates. Do you think I am being unrealistic expecting some sort of help from them? (I know you have several articles about how networking can benefit you but I hoping for a personalized answer). Thanks again!!

        1. I do not have a crystal ball, so I cannot answer that question. However, I do know that if you do not contact them, your chances of getting a response are 0%, but if you do contact them, your chances of a response are greater than 0%.

  3. Hi Brian,

    I am a sophomore who is looking to secure an internship with a BB in either NY or Chicago next year. I come from a non-target school, but with a good amount of alumni on the Street (Michigan State). Do you think it is too early to start networking right now? I know recruiting is being pushed back; superdays are now being held in October or November. I thought it would be a good idea to start networking now so I can get those second calls in around July and August, when recruiting ramps up. Do you think this is a good idea/worth my time?

    1. You should have already started networking because summer internship recruiting now takes place a year before summer internships. In the future, it will probably be pushed up so much that internship recruiting takes place 15 years before internships (i.e., when you’re still in pre-school)… I’m only half-joking.

      So yes, get started ASAP.

  4. Hi Brian,

    After a long recruiting cycle, I ended up with SA offers from Brown Brothers Harriman in NYC (PE arm), Citi in NYC (ER), and Financial Technology Partners in either NYC/SF (IB). All three companies hire back for FT analysts.

    I am not sure about which internship offer to take, as each offer is clearly very different and would set me on a different career path. I am also not sure of which is most valuable for my resume in terms of FT recruiting: the BB brand name, IB experience, or PE experience. I think I want to gain as much exposure to deal executions, transactions, and modeling & valuation experience as possible this summer.

    I would appreciate any advice on which of my current options will set me up best for FT recruiting in IB. Ultimately, I would like to work at the job that offers me the most exit opportunities and diversity of career options.

    1. FT Partners is probably best for full-time IB recruiting.

  5. Hi,
    Would it be too late to apply to internships in the fall of my junior year? Or should I apply with a mildly ok application in the fall of my sophomore year and hope to ace the interviews?

    1. ??? Isn’t the goal to do both? You need a sequence of internships these days.

  6. Hi,
    I am doing mathematics in Germany and want to apply for an internship in IB(Frankfurt) next year.
    While my grades are really good and I have some kind of a “story”, I have no clue about the technical basics. I took a few courses in micro/macroeconomics but none thought anything about accounting, valuation etc.
    How can I prepare for the technical questions without citing some dumb phrases? Maybe good book(s) covering the basics and a bit of modelling?
    Thanks in advance

    1. There are some good tips here, including a Germany-specific interview guide:

      You can also check out our YouTube channel ( and courses to learn more.

  7. Really appreciate what you guys are doing here. I’m currently getting into my sophomore year in college in South Korea majoring in Economics. I have a diverse background-spent most of my childhood in China, and I’m here in Korea for college. It is a target school (top 3 in Korea) and I want to pursue a career in IB in HK or Singapore. With the trend right now, what are some good preps I can do early in the stage apart from doing internships? I’m constantly catching up with my chinese for Hong Kong. Do club activities within college actually matter in the CV screening process? Would joining IB clubs be helpful? And wold doing a leadership position (even in sports/arts related) be helpful too? really appreciate it.

  8. I am finishing my junior year in college. I currently have a 3.8 gpa in quantitative economics. Until I have been considering law school, but I recently became interested in finance. The problem is that I have no internship experience, aside from 1.5 years doing quantitative physics research for a professor. My school has a BA/MS program in economics which I am planning on doing. It’s another year after college. Would I be able to get an internship for next summer after my senior year?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Your chances are not good if you don’t have previous internship experience. Consider delaying graduation or doing a Master’s program depending on how serious you are, and getting an internship at a small firm ASAP in the meantime.

  9. Hi,

    I am an Economics student at a top-tier UK University, currently in my penultimate year of study.
    I have an upcoming summer internship in a French Investment Bank, and am not looking to pursue a Masters Degree anytime soon, my preference being to get a job at a top IB.
    During my third year, should I apply (for the following year) for a full-time position, or is it easier to get there by applying first to another summer internship or/and an off-cycle internship?

    I look forward to hearing back from you.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I am not sure if you’d be eligible for another summer internship; you may want to check with banks’ requirements because they do specify graduate year for applicants. I’d say apply for a full-time role if you can.

      1. What about an off-cycle internship? Would I have more chances of getting a full-time job after an off-cycle, or by applying directly for the FT?

        1. M&I - Nicole

          Yes. I think an off-cycle internship can help you, probably more so than applying directly for FT

  10. Hi,

    I am graduating from a non-target school in Belgium this year. Next year, I will be doing an advanced master in finance at Vlerick (Belgium). As I only had an internship in PE and some business game experience, would you advise me to try BB or only MM and Boutiques for a summer internship?

    Kind regards,


    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’d focus on MM/boutiques, but also try BB if the opportunity arises

  11. Hi I’m a non-target junior looking for IB summer internships. When I was a sophomore, I had (but failed) a final round interview in AWM with a major (tier-2) investment bank. So I got the contact info of a Regional Head of campus recruiting. This year I applied for the IB summer program in the bank but I haven’t heard back from the bank yet. I was thinking about writing an email to the Regional Head to ask for referral to the recruiter (or maybe she is the recruiter herself). I know one of my friends who did it before and managed to get a final round (but it was in AWM and it was quite late – in April). So my question is how I shall write the email to the Regional Head asking for a referral or an interview opportunity. I do know that M&I or BIWS has the email template, but it focuses more on emails to alumni. If I’m wrong, please correct me. Just wondering whether there is a email template to HR. Thank you in advance and I look forward to hearing back from you.

    1. There are plenty of email templates for other scenarios (following up after an interview and so on), and the way you write it to HR isn’t really that different.

      “Dear [Person’s Name],

      I hope all is well. I originally contacted you X years ago and went through the recruiting process at [Firm Name] for [Position name]. I really appreciate the time you took to speak with me and offer your advice back then.

      I applied for the investment banking summer program this year, but have not yet heard back on my status. I figured that you might know something about this process given your role at the firm, and just wanted to reach out directly and see if you could tell me anything about where I stand, or who I should speak with regarding this role.”

  12. Nicole-

    I am currently a sophomore in a no name business school. I was just wondering if a summer internship at a hedge fund would be something to consider if I am looking to go into IB?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      This can potentially help especially if you can gain valuation/deal experience.

  13. Greetings! Question. Graduated with a B.S. from a state school. Doing a 2nd bachelor’s from Ivy League school (currently a junior). Applied as a junior and received multiple summer internship offers (IB, AM, and S&T) at several bulge brackets. Once I accept one of these, do you foresee any issues from banks since I already have an undergraduate degree? I hope not, since their only requirement on most of these job descriptions is to be a junior in a 4-year undergraduate program.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I don’t think there will be an issue; I wouldn’t be concerned about this.

  14. Hello, I am a master of Econ student from NYU, and currently looking for IB SA internships. I found most IBs don’t offer summer analysts for master students. So I am very confused about your blog about how using a master program as a leverage to break into IB

  15. Hi,

    I am a 1st year master student (not MBA) in the US and applying for a summer internship in IB. Some banks offer both Summer Analyst and Summer Associate internships. So far, I’ve applied to Summer Associate positions because I think this is more relevant given that I’m a master’s. But today I want to apply to Morgan Stanley and I read that their Summer Associate program is aimed to MBAs (and their summer analyst program is aimed at undergrad). What do you suggest I do? Apply for Summer Associate as I’ve done so far?

    Many thanks for your help. Very useful blog by the way! Hope you can make some decent money out of it :D


    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes, I think you are still eligible for the SA role since you are obtaining your Masters degree.

  16. Is it still possible to get an internship after graduating?

  17. Hi Nicole,

    With respect to FT recruitment, is now (beginning of Sept) too late to begin establishing new leads at bulge brackets? Do you know if the middle market has been chewed up particularly bad this year?


    1. M&I - Nicole

      Not necessarily – you can still establish new leads now. I am not sure if MM firms have been performing badly this year; I’ll leave this to readers.

  18. Aggarwal

    Hey! I am joining MS in a target school in Europe this fall and want to apply for IB Internship. After undergrad I worked in a business development role in non finance industry for 20 months but now want to switch to Finance. As I figured IB would be difficult for internship, to make chances at other Fin internships I sat for CFA Level 1 this year. Can you advice if I have chances of getting IB internships, is it advisable to apply Wealth Management roles that would give me a leg in to the industry and help me find IB internship after that? My school (in France) has option of a full gap year for internships.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I don’t think wealth management is directly relevant to IB but if asset management is something you’re interested in I’d give WM a shot: Otherwise, I’d try to stick to roles in IB to increase your chances in the industry.

  19. Hi, I would like to apply for an intership at banks ( or even in a company-i don’t mind doing an internship there) but I’m not sure if my profile now is so good to be accepted,and I think it could be better in one/two years.
    Should I apply too? Or Do you know if banks(big4 -company)have some sort or lists where there are people rejected the other years so they automatically reject them when they apply next?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      If you’re only in your second year, then I’d wait. I don’t think banks keep such lists, but in my experience I think its always better to apply when you have the best application. Yes some people are rejected initially and then they break in, but they’ll have to show a substantial improvement on their application.

      1. I’m in Europe, so my bachelor lasts just 3 years.

  20. I just received a summer internship offer in NYC when I would prefer to work in SF for the summer. Would it be wrong to ask if there is a position in the program available in SF before I accept the offer?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I don’t think it is wrong though if you ask that you may risk going through the interviewing process again because they may doubt your commitment to NY. You may want to do your background research on the firm and speak with some people over there to gauge hiring needs in SF and logistics of transferring there. If you’re pretty sure SF is hiring and you’ve spoken with some contacts there then yes I may ask for SF. However, since it is just an internship you can stay in NY for the summer and ask to be transferred to SF thereafter assuming you do well


    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’m sorry to hear. I’d speak with HR and ask if you’re on the waiting list. In the meantime, I’d look at roles in other companies.

  22. Hey everyone, almost all of the banks offer graduate programs and summer internships. Which one is better to apply to given I will be finishing my masters of finance in June 2015? Or is it acceptable to apply to both? To my knowledge, a successful summer internship usually leads to a full time position but how does this compare to the graduate program which I understand is usually quite long (18 months) ?

    As past experience, I have already interned during 6 months at JP Morgan in markets

    thanks a lot.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Probably graduate/full time programs. I’d suggest you to speak with HR because they may have different policies for that.

  23. Hi,

    Thank you very much fort these great articles, there are really helpful. I am currently doing an internship at a well recognised Investment Bank till next February. However, it is not directly related to investment banking since it is in the financial reporting unit. My question is if I should apply for Investment Banking off-cycle internships or summer internships for next year? I am still a student in my penultimate year, so both programs are an option for me. As in most banks you cannot apply for both and I really need to secure a relevant internship next year, I was wondering for which program I have the highest probability of getting an internship? I believe that most of the students applying for summer internships do not have a lot of work experience, but I know that the numbers are very high. I would prefer applying for an off-cycle internship for right after I finish my current internship, but I do not know the calibre of the candidates applying for these roles and if I have a shot for being considered for those? Please let me know what you think and if you need me to clarify something.

    Thanks a lot!

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’d apply for summer internship roles; banks may question why you’re applying for off-cycle roles.. I think both programs offer equal chances, since caliber of candidates who apply for off-cycle internships can also be very good.

  24. Hi.I am currently in a target MS Finance and given the way that the program is structured, I would be able to take off the whole summer, if necessary, to do a full-time IB internship, and then resume/finish the MS the next fall or spring after that. I’m not sure, though, if I would have a chance at getting bulge bracket internships for that summer, since I’m technically a graduate, but have only been in the workforce, full-time, for about 10 months between my undergrad and masters. Thanks!

    1. M&I - Nicole

      You have perhaps 50/50 chance since you’ll be competing against people from target schools who have had industry experience, but I may still take the summer to gain some sort of finance experience, even if it isn’t in IB, if you want to break into the industry

  25. After reading quite a few articles on the site, it is clear that I need to be reaching out to professionals I find on LinkedIn and in alumni databases. What do you suggest I say to them? I can’t imagine a random person I have never met before wanting to take the time out of their day to talk to me.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’d just make sure your profile is polished, and send them a brief note telling them of your interest in what they do and their background. should help you

  26. Can an MD at a bulge bracket guarantee an internship for someone?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I don’t think the MD can 100% guarantee an internship, unless he is very very senior at the bank.

  27. Jonathan H


    Thank you for your helpful and great advice!

    My questions are:
    1. I am doing MSc in Finance Imperial (class of 2014/2015). Where banks accept both masters & bachelors students for internships (JPM IBD Europe), should I apply for masters? Credit Suisse HR said they hired, if not all, most of analysts from internships and I was advised to apply for off-cycle positions for 2015 intake after master graduation (though I am skeptical there are as many off-cycle positions as SA or FA). I surely want to start as a FA, but well its hard without an internship in the firm.

    2. What might be good reasons for applying for Internships when graduating from Masters? Shall I just honestly say things like “I understand most analysts come from internship program..” or “I want to do another masters (a complete lie)”?

    I hope your answers to the above questions can serve to help many others with similar questions. Thank you!

    1. M&I - Nicole

      1. Yes a masters can help you open more doors and give you more opportunities for jobs. I’d really focus on the alumni network and career services center
      2. They have internships for Masters students. However, you may not be able to apply for internships *after* you’ve graduated because internships are for students in breaks over the summer (before they go back to school). I’d actually apply for full time roles in this situation.

      1. Jonathan H

        Thank you Nicole for your suggestion. However, I fear the whole HR system might be slightly different in Europe from the US. On LinkedIn, I see a large number of Masters students who completed their masters and then apply for internships in the year they finished the master course (e.g. 2013 Master guy Graduated in September, doing Off-cycle internship from October 2013)

        It is really confusing and hard to decide, given IB firms only allow 1 application per year. In UK, I see that nearly 90% analyst are those who did intern at the firm, and only a few analysts (at BB) come from other BB Internship pool.

        Would you still suggest I apply for FT? Thank you so much for your suggestion Nicole!

        1. M&I - Nicole

          If banks are willing to take you on as an intern after you have graduated, then yes go for the internship. I am not sure if banks are willing to do so though, because some banks are strict re. this policy. Otherwise, yes I’d go for a FT role.

  28. If I complete a summer internship at a BB in front office-risk management role, and I want to move into a full time IBD role in the future at another BB, should I apply to another round of internships despite graduating, or go straight for graduate applications? I am not sure if not having an IBD specific internship would hold me back on a graduate application.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I am not sure if you can apply for internship roles after graduation; you may have to apply for graduate roles directly. Yes not having IB experience can potentially be a challenge.

  29. I got a few questions here, and would really appreciate some advice.

    My questions are (for London IB):
    1.Should I apply for summer or off-cycle internship, if my primary purpose is to maximise the probability of getting an internship (at a top-tier IBs)?

    2. As a BA Finance graduate, would you still recommend me to apply for internships? or apply for full-time positions? I have been networking with lots of people. HRs tend to say I should apply for full-time as I have graduated, but analysts tend to say I should always apply for internship positions. After researching on LinkedIn, it seems 90% of current analysts started as an intern.

    And here is my brief background:
    – I’m in UK with Finance degree from a Russell Group uni
    – S&T Internship in 2nd year from a boutique
    – M&A Internship in 3rd year (that is after graduation) from a boutique (with no visa sponsorship) as I landed no full-time job from a top-tier IB
    – Another M&A Internship from a boutique firm with healthy deal flow (but name is unknown).
    – Though I never wanted to study masters, I applied for MSc at top Bschools (LSE, CASS etc) for 2014-2015 (maybe helpful in some ways), and received offers in April.

    I should have realised the importance of doing an internship at a top-tier IB. When making my first applications to IBs, I thought I could leverage my S&T Internship to get some interviews from top-tier IBs for full-time positions, so I mainly (wrongly) applied for full-time positions. Where I managed to get about 3-4 interviews from MM IBs, unfortunately I messed up during interviews + competition was severe I’d say (other interviewees were JPM and GS interns with masters).

    Thank you for reading and providing some answers to the questions above!

    1. M&I - Nicole

      1. I’d apply for summer internships
      2. So in your case, you’d going back to school in fall I presume since you’ve already been accepted to a top program. I’d explain that to HR and go for internships first to get your foot back into the door and gain some experience in the next few months.

      You can try for full time roles (without letting them know of your intention of going back to school) though I believe this can be more challenging.

      1. Thanks Nicole for your comments. As a follow up question, I would have about 10 months IB internship experience. Would you still suggest I apply for internship (which will be after I graduate from my Masters). I’m just worried that HRs might discard my application due to the fact that they generally “state” they look for penultimate students for internship positions. Given this, I believe Off-cycle Internships would be more feasible to me. Do you have any comparison between the number of places for Summer vs. Off-cycle internship? It’d be really helpful.

        As a separate question, would you know any forum or anyone that we could contact regarding London recruitment questions ? (I’m not talking about general HR stuff, but very minutiae ones). Besides all, I have visa matters as well, and it is really a pain, as it disqualifies my application for countless firms due to not having the work permit.

        Thank you!

        1. M&I - Nicole

          Yes, they may do so since you aren’t a penultimate student. I don’t have the comparison.

          Regarding London recruitment questions, we don’t have any partners on that front. Other readers may be able to give you suggestions, especially if they have worked with such recruitment agencies before.

  30. Hi Brian, I am a final year undergrad from a target school in the UK, and recently got an IBD summer internship offer with a bulge bracket in HK. I was originally thinking of doing a Master’s right after undergrad, but I’m now thinking of working through the analyst years to earn some money and get work experience. I was wondering if the bank will allow me to start working immediately after the internship instead of the following year? Many thanks!

    1. M&I - Nicole

      It depends on headcount, hiring needs and interview review. I’d suggest you to speak with HR and your team regarding your change of plans. It is quite possible that you may have to go through another round of interview for full time recruiting.

      1. I see, thank you Nicole!

  31. Hi Brian,

    I am currently a sophomore at a small liberal arts college with the goal of breaking into investment banking in the U.S. after graduation. I’ve received offers in both sales/trading and asset management in China, and was wondering which one to accept for this coming summer.

    Details about the offers:
    1. Sales/Trading at a relatively well-known group in mainland China. Pros: Learn to follow the market, active deal flows every day, location (think Beijing/Shanghai etc). Cons: ?
    2. Asset Management at a top four AM group in China which works with non-performing assets in state-owned commercial banks. Pros: More technical projects, more prestige(maybe)? Cons: Location

    Thanks in advance for the inputs!


  32. Hi, I have been following your site for a little under a year, when I first realized I wanted to go into IB. I don’t go to a target school and my grades are not the best (I’m a sophomore)I have read that smaller banks/boutique’s are more forgiving. Is that true? And is there somewhere that lists all or most of these banks ?
    I kind of screwed myself over by having lousy grades before I knew what I wanted to do so internships are hard to get.

    1. I’d appreciate any and all advice to help me position myself to get into IB. Thanks!

  33. I don’t know if this has been answered before. But can a person still get a summer analyst position if they have already graduated from undergrad? I’ve already graduated for some time and have recently been interested in getting in the industry. I know summer analyst positions are geared for juniors only and would be almost impossible to get one after graduating. Is this true? Who could I speak with to get the facts straight? Thanks!

    1. Nicole/Brian/or anyone else know the answer the question? SA is recruiting is coming up and I’m not sure who else to ask who’d know the answer.

      1. M&I - Nicole

        Thanks for the follow up. Most banks don’t allow graduates to apply for summer programs though you can always try to speak with HR/head of division and see if they’re willing to make an exception. Otherwise, you may have to go through the experienced hire route. Perhaps speaking with boutiques, 3rd tier banks may help because they are probably less likely to be as structured and may allow you to intern/work there

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