“Summer means various things to various people, but one thing it means for most people in finance and all of New York is: interns. I’m told there is a similar wave of little political interns towards D.C. this time of year, but frankly, I’m not even certain they get paid.”
As we approach the end of the summer and move into the fall recruiting season, all the summer banking interns out there have to think about their next moves.
The first step in that process: figuring out whether you’re getting a full-time offer, or whether you’ll have to search for “strategic employment alternatives.”
While there’s never a 100% accurate way to tell if you’re getting an offer or not, you can improve your chances considerably if you know how banks make decisions.
Who Decides Your Fate: Key Decision Makers
Back when I wrote about the investment banking interview selection process, I indicated that Managing Directors ultimately decide who gets full-time offers and who does not. Everyone else plays a role in the process, but they have the final say.
The summer selection process is similar but differs in a few key respects:
- Analysts (and Associates) who have worked most closely with the summer interns have significant clout and suggest to the senior bankers what to do
- You’re judged almost entirely on the quality of your work – not responses to interview questions, your wardrobe or anything extraneous
- Sometimes it’s easier to get a full-time position following an internship (this doesn’t mean it’s easy – just easier)
During a summer internship you’ll mostly be interacting with Analysts and Associates – so they’ll have a large say in who gets offers and who does not.
If you do, in fact, work directly with more senior bankers (VPs and up) then they will weigh in as well.
But the process differs substantially from full-time interviews because you generally won’t say much to the MDs during your internship.
Behind Closed Doors: The Decision-Making Process
The decision-making process for summer interns works differently from bank to bank, but typically there is a “round-table” near the end of the summer where everyone discusses the interns’ performance and who should receive offers.
Back in my previous article on how to do well in your summer internship, I advised you to work with as many people as possible and take on as much responsibility as you can handle.
Now you see why: if you work with more bankers, more people will “go to bat” for you during this round-table discussion.
The fastest way to not receive an offer? Have no one vouch for you during this discussion.
The Competition: Just How Tough Is It To Get An Offer?
Competition to receive full-time offers after a summer internship is less intense than what you’d expect. It’s significantly easier to get a full-time offer this way vs. going into full-time recruiting with no previous internship.
Many summer interns are just testing the waters or are not sure they want to do banking, so they “drop out” in the middle and stop trying as hard once they realize it’s no longer for them.
And some interns are simply so bad that no one even considers giving them offers.
At some banks, competition tends to be tougher – Goldman, for example, is notorious for giving out summer offers at lower rates than other banks.
The other consideration: when the economy is poor, banks will also hire fewer summer interns.
Analysts vs. Associates
I’ve received some questions on Analyst vs. Associate summer internships, but have not addressed this topic until now because they’re almost the same.
In general, expectations for Associates will be set higher and they’ll be given a bit less busy work and more “real” work, but any summer intern at a bank is treated similarly – they assist full-time Analysts and Associates with getting work done.
The offer process is also similar for Summer Associates – they receive a “yes” or “no” based on the input of everyone they’ve worked closely with.
Analysts might have less say in the process, but it’s nearly identical otherwise.
How To Improve Your Offer Chances
So how do you improve your chances of getting a full-time offer? I’ve already covered this one in my previous collection of summer internship advice articles, but the one point I’ll re-emphasize here is that you want to please those you work most closely with – the junior bankers.
Some summer interns try to bypass them completely and go directly to VPs and up with their work. This is a mistake – you’ll annoy the Analyst you’re working with and possibly look foolish in front of someone much higher up on the ladder (see: Investment Banking Summer Internship Don’ts on The All-Nighter).
Aside from that, there’s no magic – above all, don’t screw up and don’t get into embarrassing drunken situations with your MD and you’ll be golden.