Whether you’re a freshman, sophomore, or junior, you have been subjected to the constant frenzy and second-hand stress of recruiting for finance.
So what exactly is this daunting time of your undergraduate career? “Recruiting” basically refers to the time when you’re actively applying to and interviewing for internship positions for your junior summer. While this process used to happen during your junior fall semester, it seems that the process has gotten earlier every year. Current juniors went through the process their sophomore spring, but current sophomores? Applications are already opening up for summer 2020.
How unfair is that? You haven’t taken classes in finance yet or are probably taking your first one. The pressure sets in from those around you to “just recruit for investment banking” because the process happens the earliest and is probably the most straightforward. And if you’re freaking out right now because you haven’t even thought about what you want to do, fear not. I’m about to outline what the typical process looks like for an undergraduate woman in business (this is USWIB after all.)
Step 1: Firm-wide events and networking.
Many of the larger firms will come to NYU and hold “firm wides” at either Wasserman, Kimmel, or during a club meeting. They’ll have professionals from different groups in the firm there to answer your questions about what they do at work and you can find what interests you. Ask for business cards from people you have interesting conversations with and want to learn more from!
Step 2: Coffee Chats
Your goal is not to coffee chat as many people as you possibly can. It’s quality over quantity. Reach out to the professionals who gave you their card and ask to set up a time to talk on the phone or meet in person, and make sure you have questions prepared for your 30 minute – 1 hour meeting. Don’t forget to follow up and thank them for their time. You want this to be a long lasting connection, not just someone who you talk to once.
Step 3: Picking a group within finance.
The major categories can be loosely defined as follows: Investment Banking, Sales & Trading, Research, Capital Markets, Asset Management, Private Equity, and Venture Capital. For more information about each of these “buckets” of career paths, go to any large firm’s website to read more or use resources like Wall Street Oasis and Investopedia. More career options definitely exist, but these tend to be the most popular.
Step 4: The application process.
Apply on the firm’s website, and check constantly for deadlines and when apps open. (Ask recruiters if they recruit on a rolling basis.) You’ll most likely be contacted within the next week for a HireVue – a video interview where you record your answers – and if they like you based on that, you’ll be called in for a “super day” interview. This will be a few back to back interviews, usually a half hour each, with different members in the firm. And if they like you, congrats! You just landed a junior summer internship.
Obviously, a lot more goes into this whole process and you’ll likely feel stressed when it seems like all your peers are getting internships but you’re not. Remember that you have upperclassmen to help you out and your friends to support you. You can do this!