Can Internships Pigeonhole you?

Hey, Guys. New to WSO.

Wanted to gauge everyone's thoughts around here on this -

Current Junior Undergrad at small private Non-target. Had summer internship with Mid/small-size Asset Management firm assisting PM team with models and ad hoc projects for Investment Services/Sales/Ops.
I managed to land an internship for this coming summer at top AM (Fido, PIMCO, T Rowe) on the Asset Management team in a "strategic advisory" role (Trend analysis/ Strategic initiatives/ Providing reports and advisory to senior leaders). It is more of a corporate strategy role, which is the route I want to take after school.

Here is my concern: I am the president of my school's student investment group, and will have 2 internships at AM firms coming out of school. I come from a school regionally known (at best) but fairly obscure - aka ZERO campus recruiting for finance/corporate anything. I've only ever gotten interest from AMs, BBs, Alt Managers (BB interviews were for average roles not IBD/PWM/IMD). I am more interested in corporate strategy/ Biz Dev, and would love to get into a leadership development program out of school at a F500.

Am I pigeonholed into staying in AM / investment roles? I have been told college internships can't do that. Thoughts?

Thanks!

Comments (29)

Feb 18, 2017

No

Feb 18, 2017

No, not ever.

Feb 18, 2017

Wait to complete your internship to see if you really like that path, then spin your story in interviews accordingly.

Feb 18, 2017

What year are you?

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Feb 18, 2017

Your explanation of a good experience but not want you wanted / fit is perfect.

Feb 18, 2017

i did a tax consulting my sophomore winter, and i don't think it's pigeonholed me.

Feb 18, 2017

I am doing my macc coming from a non finance undergrad. I posted before in another thread that I want to work in the government sector in regulation/compliance and I am hoping some of the skills will be transferable

Feb 18, 2017

I did a FO sales internship one summer, and I think it did pigeonhole me somewhat (although not too much because that's not what I'm doing FT). It pigeonholed me a little bit in that most of the interviews I was able to get were for similar roles. I was able to get a few other interviews as well, mostly, I think, because I interned at a well-known firm, but I think I was asked at every non-sales position interview, "why are you moving away from company x and away from sales?", so I would recommend that you definitely have a good 15 to 30 second story about what you liked about it and what you learned, but ultimately why you are more interested in other opportunities, and perhaps, if applicable, what some of the experiences you had working in tax that are transferable and made you interested in other types of positions. I am guessing, since you interned at a well-known firm, you will get other interviews, but make sure you have your reasons for why you're interested in other avenues of business.

Feb 18, 2017

Thanks for the excellent feedback everyone. I am curious to know, if after I complete my internship, whether or not I can simply put "Accounting Intern" instead of "Tax Intern" ? I know that in my job description the title says "Tax Intern", but I figure stating Accounting Intern isn't really a lie as tax = accounting. Is this something that is permissible. The way I see it, it is just a way to shield myself from being put into a box by recruiters.

Feb 18, 2017
Higheck123:

Thanks for the excellent feedback everyone. I am curious to know, if after I complete my internship, whether or not I can simply put "Accounting Intern" instead of "Tax Intern" ? I know that in my job description the title says "Tax Intern", but I figure stating Accounting Intern isn't really a lie as tax = accounting. Is this something that is permissible. The way I see it, it is just a way to shield myself from being put into a box by recruiters.

You are still going to be asked about what you did in your internship during the interview so it will come out eventually. You will also have to talk about it in your bullet points.

Just be honest, there is nothing you can do now unless you have another offer. Just say how you learned a lot but the experience really showed you what you ultimately want to do (tax not for you). Just be careful not to say anything negative about it.

Feb 18, 2017

IMHO: Go for Accenture. The brand name will set you apart next year, and the contacts you build will be invaluable. In this job climate especially, people would kill to have an internship with Accenture. As a freshman, no one will label you as anything. In fact, having consulting experience as a freshman would probably set you apart from your peers when you go into recruiting next year.

Feb 18, 2017

I'd go with Accenture, at this point the brand name is important, and half your competition will be doing nothing anyway. For how to transition from consulting to finance, I'd look at M&I, Dosk did internships in consulting pre-banking

Feb 18, 2017

I'd say it depends on the locations of both internships... Could you be more specific on that?

Feb 18, 2017

For some reason, I feel like U.S. employers devalue internships in your home country -- maybe the climate is different or they think you got it simply through connections. However, you do need to evaluate the work that you're doing for this securities company to see if you will be doing actual financial analysis or modeling work.

Feb 18, 2017

Okay to be more specific, the location that I'm talking about is in Southeast Asia, both of them. And yes, I got both offers through connections (both of my contacts are at MD/Partner level, after all who would hire a freshman for a front office intern?). To clarify my role further in the securities company, I will be doing a mix of financial analysis and due diligence (since it's a small company)

What Classic mentioned is another concern of mine although in this economy, it's very tough to find a good internship the normal way. I've sent in resumes to tons of places and had a couple of first-round/phone interviews for marketing/biz dev/corp fin internship for F500 tech companies but ended up with no offers. I guess brand name FO internship still trumps taking summer school/volunteering in Africa IMHO.

Feb 18, 2017

bump, looking for more comments

Feb 18, 2017

Could you split your summer time and do both?

Feb 18, 2017

Ukon: it might be possible (pending negotiation with both sides) but it means that both will only be around 5-6 weeks. I don't know whether it will count as a legit internship experience-wise. I'm afraid it might look dubious if companies see two internships in one summer. I'm not too worried about future background checks though, it will be fairly easy to take care of as both sides can vouch for my presence in the company.

Feb 18, 2017

Go Bills

Feb 18, 2017

Bump

Feb 18, 2017

No, you're not going to get pigeonholed as a sophomore in college

    • 1
Feb 18, 2017

Strong opinion - No you can't

Feb 18, 2017

No

Feb 18, 2017
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