Cancel accepted summer internship offer?

erklam's picture
Rank: Baboon | 108

Hello everyone,

I have one more day before the deadline to accept or reject a summer internship for next summer at a Big4 in London. Is it possible/okay for me to accept the offer and then later, should I find something better, tell the Big4 that I'd like to cancel? As they expect me to respond so early in the academic year, I still have no clue about the outcomes of my other applications (haven't even applied yet!) at "better" firms.

The contract does say that boht parties can terminate the contract with a week's notice, although I'm not sure if this applies in my case.

I tried googling this but didn't find too much useful info. I'd like to know if this is something regarded as very unethical or if it's acceptable. In case I do cancel the accepted internship offer, would I have any trouble applying to this firm later on for different programmes?

Any input appreciated:)

Comments (87)

Sep 21, 2012

Do you have to sign anything? If you reneged, there's a chance they'd tell the firm where you decided to go what you did, provided they find out. where that is.

Sep 21, 2012

I would push back and ask for more time, maybe give up a sign-on bonus in exchange for a few more weeks. My school had a policy that students had to be allowed at least XX weeks to consider an offer. I wouldn't re-neg on an offer.

Sep 21, 2012

If you reneg on an offer you accepted, I'm fairly certain you will have trouble coming back to that same firm. However, I have friends who renegged a b4 and accepted a job in a different industry without any repercussions . I'm not sure if renegging at one b4 affects your offer at another b4 firm. Also, my experience pertains to the US, not sure how they do it in London

Sep 21, 2012

Why the hell would they make you commit when summer is 8 months away.

Sep 21, 2012

Ask for an extension first. Reneging should be avoided in my opinion. Recruiters move between institutions regularly, and network between themselves enough for it to be risky in the long run if your name gets passed around. That said, it's not guaranteed that your name will get passed around, so it's up to you to decide how risk-averse you are.

This isn't especially early in the recruiting calendar for London, so you should get contacting any recruiters you can ASAP.

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Sep 22, 2012

Thanks guys for your input, I really appreciate it. To be honest, I was a bit surprised to read your responses as friends I talked to before all said it was fine to cancel the offer. The deadline is today, and I jsut sent them an email asking for clarification with regards to the deadline (whihc they won't read before Monday, the very earliest). I'm hoping this few days delay won't disqualify me, but if you think so, please let me know!

Thanks:)

Sep 22, 2012

Ok, guys, how is it possible that everyone says something else? I read other threads on here that went on and on about the fact that it's fine to cancel your internship offer after you've accepted it. Above, you guys told me it was the worst thing to do.

But then, what shall I do? I got an offer for Audit but I am applyign for consulting and banking internships,as audit is not among my top choices. I need to respond now. Wouldn't it be irresponsible to turn it down? Would it really be an issue to cancel it later?

How is it possible to everyone is on a different standpoint? Anyone with personal experience perhaps?

THX

Oct 15, 2012

I renegged on a BB firm after a summer internship, and I've been forever banned from that BB.

It sucks because it is one of the top BBs and I'm kicking myself in the ass. I'd think real hard about renegging and if you'd ever want to work for that firm in the future.

Sep 22, 2012
JCKeenz:

I renegged on a BB firm after a summer internship, and I've been forever banned from that BB.

It sucks because it is one of the top BBs and I'm kicking myself in the ass. I'd think real hard about renegging and if you'd ever want to work for that firm in the future.

Seriously? Forever banned? Oh man...how did they tell you this?
"Dear applicant. You may not apply to us again in your life."??:S

But I'm assuming you turned it down to accept something better, so it was worth it...wasn't it?

Thanks for your input, although your post really made me anxious about my decision to accept this offer.

Oct 15, 2012

Yes, you can cancel the offer but you have to be aware of the fact that you will most likely not have another shot at this particular firm. If that is ok for you, cancel it (in case you have another offer). I guess it should still be possible to get an Audit position at one of the other Big 4 firms.

FYI: A friend of mine from college cancelled an internship offer at E&Y and years later he joined PWC (this was in Continental Europe), so I don't think you will get problems with the other Big 4 firms.

Oct 15, 2012

someone I know had an offer to do Big4 advisory and got it in like October of junior year. But then applied to banking jobs and got a BB offer. It worked out since he ended up getting an offer from the BB FT but he is definitely banned at that big4 and is banned from OCR so he could have been screwed if he didn't get the offer.

Oct 15, 2012

It's "unethical" per say to say you take the job now, and 6 months down the road you cancel it because you found a better job. That's why these companies ban you when they find out.

I am also stuck in a similar situation as I was offered a summer internship with the big 4 in their business advisory department but it's so early in the recruiting season that I think I will reject it in hopes of a BB offer down the road.

If the job they offer you is something that's not what you're really looking for in a summer internship, then don't take it.

Oct 15, 2012

All you need to know is this:

If you renege, you will burn the bridge with that company and never work there again. Thats really all there is to it.

Also, a slim chance they could contact your new place. However, for large companies, them doing this is very unlikely. And your new place might not even care if they did. I wouldn't concern myself with this.

Oct 15, 2012

i think the only consequence of renegging would be blowing your opportunity with that firm in the future, this will certainly happen. However i doubt they would ever hunt you down or blacklist your name from other firms especially if its not in Big 4

    • 1
Sep 22, 2012

Thanks for all the inputs, the picure is clear now. I guess, if I reneg my offer later on, to me Big 4 is only going to be Big 3.

Is the fact that you cannot apply again somehow officially comunicated to the applicant? I would be surprised as the contract does say that there is a notice period of 1 week for both parties.

Which one is worse?

Taking the offer now and possibly renegging it later if I get something better

OR

Hoping to get something better and asking for extension and then accept it if no other offer. In this case, would renegging the accepted offer later be much worse than renegging an offer that has not had extended deadline? Or in both cases, the outcome is lifetime ban from the firm, so it doesn't matter?

Thank you.

Oct 15, 2012
erklam:

Thanks for all the inputs, the picure is clear now. I guess, if I reneg my offer later on, to me Big 4 is only going to be Big 3.

Is the fact that you cannot apply again somehow officially comunicated to the applicant? I would be surprised as the contract does say that there is a notice period of 1 week for both parties.

Which one is worse?

Taking the offer now and possibly renegging it later if I get something better

OR

Hoping to get something better and asking for extension and then accept it if no other offer. In this case, would renegging the accepted offer later be much worse than renegging an offer that has not had extended deadline? Or in both cases, the outcome is lifetime ban from the firm, so it doesn't matter?

Thank you.

They're both bad because the end result is the same; You're going to renegg the offer if you find another opportunity. Will you get a lifetime ban for doing this? Probably, but that won't stop you from getting other jobs.

Oct 15, 2012

If you think you can get a better offer like a week or two after the accept deadline then try asking for an extension. But big4 and IBD deadlines don't match up generally and the big4 is keenly aware of this. They know they will lose a lot of top people to IB firms and try to get people early on in the recruiting season.

But when you think about it, realistically you arent banned for life. Are you banned from entry level jobs if you reneg, probably. But if 4-5 years down the road you are looking for some upper level job at the firm and have networked with people, is HR really gonna slam the door because some kid renegged half a decade ago? Probably not.

Oct 16, 2012

Well, if you get something BETTER.. then who cares if you are blacklisted from Ernst & Young? It won't matter.. nobody cares. E&Y can fill that spot very quickly.. they will move on. You will have a better job.

The people that say they would never reneg, have obviously never reneg'd. I have.. and now I am at my top choice position vs. something I may not have liked/less pay/less training/less everything. Nothing happened and nobody cared.

Sep 22, 2012

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Sep 22, 2012

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Sep 22, 2012
lionwater:

Well, if you get something BETTER.. then who cares if you are blacklisted from Ernst & Young? It won't matter.. nobody cares. E&Y can fill that spot very quickly.. they will move on. You will have a better job.

The people that say they would never reneg, have obviously never reneg'd. I have.. and now I am at my top choice position vs. something I may not have liked/less pay/less training/less everything. Nothing happened and nobody cared.

Makes sense! Someone above posted that they did reneg and then did not get a FT offer after their "better" internship...but other than this, if one gets a better internship, then who cares...and if worst comes to worst, there is still 3 out of the Big 4 where one can apply haha:)

Oct 23, 2012

I was in the exact same boat as you not so long ago. Here goes: if you are looking to work in finance (especially banking)..I would seriously hold out for something more relevant. B4 recruits really early in the year (offers in hand by Thanksgiving) and the recruiting for all finance internships at my school was in the spring. If you want to do accounting I would go ahead and accept but if you have your heart set on finance I would definitely hold out for a finance internship and gain much more relevant experience. You will have an easier time for FT finance if you have relevant finance experience (aside from corp finance-big 4 experience will be viewed favorably).

As for reneging the risk is your school can ban you from OCR. This is a huge gamble in case you do not get an offer from the firm where you intern during the summer. I would definitely have a chat with your career services in regards to signing with a firm that has an "at will" contract, perhaps they may be okay with you giving notice according to the contract. If you did not get the Big4 opportunity from OCR then it is a completely different situation.

In short, if you want to do finance..hold out for a better internship.

Oct 23, 2012

They will not find out but I would only do it if you are absolutely positive that that is where you want to work for at least the next three years... That's just my two cents though. I know a girl that did it.

Oct 23, 2012

Doubt there is a high chance they will revoke the offer. Depends how the HR individual, is if she's nice she'll/he will understand. Make sure when you make the call your appreciative and apologetic.

However as the poster says above, make sure you are POSITIVE you want to do the BB position. May I ask why you would prefer the MO over a consulting position? It seems most here would rather go with consulting.

Oct 23, 2012

mid office = back office. bb's dont have real mid office. ur gonna hate ure job.

Oct 23, 2012

If you have a good/decent relationship with the HR lady at the BB, then I would just be upfront about it. People appreciate that a lot more than you having to come up with some bs excuse of why you need more time to think about it etc. If she says, that it's no problem then go with it, after you've made sure this is what you want to do for the next few years, as ppl have mentioned above. If she says no dice, then stick to consulting. You know what it's about from you internship, I assume you like it and you can always make the switch later I think. Good luck and remember, it's not bad to have this kind of "dilemma"

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Oct 23, 2012

Why are you playing on both sides of the field in the first place ?

Oct 23, 2012

have you accepted the original one? nothing wrong with interviewing with several places...

Oct 23, 2012

Depends on which bank, where are you reneging from?

Oct 23, 2012

Actually I don't want to put out to many details in terms of the bank. It is not GS or MS, but still in the top ranks (JPM, CS, DB, BarCap, UBS, Citi, BAML, SocGen) if that helps..

Generally speaking, in how far do they differ in terms of any penalties? Worst case, what could I expect to happen?

Oct 23, 2012

I would call HR, if you know anyone there well enough. I think that telling them before in person/on the phone is much nicer than sending a rejection right away, because then you don't offend sensibilities... They will be able to answer all your questions anyway.
Also, I think that unless they desperately need you because you made 30mm during your internship, it's not a big deal. Who wants a kid on the desk who actually does not want to do the job? If it is not rotational but you know the desk already, I would call those guys as well, but first HR. It may be an issue, if it's desk-specific and they do not have anyone else.

Otherwise, you will make someone else very happy, who is still on hold.

Oct 23, 2012

It is in fact a desk-specific role..however, theoretically in the worst case I would start to work and resign on my first day. This would then result in a 4 work training period and additional costs for the bank. The problem is only that I would have to tell my new employer as I will only be available a month later.. Regarding the procedure I definetely planned to call first, before I send an official resignation.

Oct 23, 2012

Also I was wondering if I should tell my new employer that I reneged a contract as they would probably find out anyway if they do a background check..?

Oct 23, 2012

HR at a top bank (GS/MS/JPM) told me that reneging was frown upon but they would not sue junior people (not worth the hassle).

Oct 23, 2012

being blacklisted at that bank.

Oct 23, 2012

will I be blacklisted from other firms as well?

Oct 23, 2012

unlikely if they are smaller firms. keep in mind it is possible for it to come around full circle but the smaller the firms (and different cities) lowers that risk considerably

Oct 23, 2012

Do you have a better offer on the line? If not then just take the Big 4 internship and leverage off that later on.

Oct 23, 2012

It's fine if you reneg to do something you'd rather do. If a banking gig falls in your lap, take it and don't look back. It sounds like you already understand the repercussions of that (i.e. blackballed). Even that is unlikely because the B4 machine is so large. Worst case is that you're blackballed from the one; the others have no way of knowing or caring, so those doors would still potentially be open.

Oct 23, 2012
djfiii:

It's fine if you reneg to do something you'd rather do. If a banking gig falls in your lap, take it and don't look back. It sounds like you already understand the repercussions of that (i.e. blackballed). Even that is unlikely because the B4 machine is so large. Worst case is that you're blackballed from the one; the others have no way of knowing or caring, so those doors would still potentially be open.

Slightly disagree. In certain cities, the HR for the Big 4 all know each other and talk.

Oct 23, 2012

Great thanks for the answers guys

Oct 23, 2012

Yeah, just know that you'll never work at that firm again.

I renegged at a Big 4 very close to my start date. I decided to take a last minute offer in Chicago instead of moving to NY. I called hr and told them I wanted to stay in Chicago for family reasons (although there really wasnt a family reason).

I've never tried to go back to that firm, but other than that I've felt no repercussions.

You don't say it, but I'm assuming you have another offer. NEVER turn down an offer unless you have something better in hand.

twitter: @CorpFin_Guy

Oct 23, 2012

Sure. I would say that's the case in most cities. That doesn't mean they have an institutionalized way to blackball someone across the industry. So say some sophomore accepts and the renegs on an internship offer from Deloitte. He's 1 of like 50, just in that office. As stated ,worst case, Deloitte makes a note internally because they have an actual HR file on the kid by the time he has an offer. This likely prevents him from getting a gig at Deloitte going forward because all they have to do is check their own HR files. Even then, if he gives them some sob story about a sick family member, or some other legit reason that he can no longer accept, they probably won't even make a negative comment in his file. Then he's in the clear.

But let's say he's dumb and tells them flat out he thinks they suck, and he'd rather work some place else. Further, let's say the Deloitte HR folks coincidentally have a monthly lunch the very next day with their peers at the other 3 firms. They get to talking, and this kid comes up. What then? I suppose if he called PwC 3 weeks later, one of those HR folks might connect the dots. Big maybe. Probably not.

The more likely scenario is that he renegs for a gig in IB, does that for a few years, and for some god awful reason finds himself in the position of having or wanting a job at the Big4 again. Say he applies for an Advisory role in Transaction Services at PwC. They have no institutional knowledge of him. The HR chick that maybe remembered his name 3 weeks after the incident has probably been promoted to a level where she'll never see him again, or she's left PwC for a corporate gig, or another firm, etc.

The Big4 are monstrous machines that crank thousands of people in and out. Unless there is a document tied to him, he's fine, and even then, he can completely influence what that document says about him such that the door is still open even at the place he renegs on.

Oct 23, 2012

Reneg it -- they don't care about you, and you shouldn't care about them. When layoff time comes, guess who's going? You.

Oct 23, 2012

Could screw you with your career services office for full-time recruiting / interviewing

Oct 23, 2012

Do you have an MBB offer in hand, or is this a hypothetical?

Oct 23, 2012

If you're trying to choose between the work in each field then that's up to you.

If it's between NY and the comforts of your hometown I would say MBB will have you flying so often that I hope your motivation is to live home and not waste rent on a place you'll be resting your head at about 1-2 days a week.

As for reneging I dont think anyone would go crazy if you did it now considering the SA stint just ended. You won't be throwing a wrench in anyone's business.

Oct 23, 2012

Two very short cliche things.

Just do you.
If you accept the offer and don't get the AM job, you still have a good gig going on. If you don't accept the offer because of fear of reneging, and don't get the AM job, sucks to be you. If you accept the offer, and get the AM job and renege, the Big 4 company is going to live and get a new person to fill that spot fairly quickly and not think about you anymore.

YOLO.

Oct 23, 2012

Yolo as he says above

Oct 15, 2012

Probably not, actually knew a friend who did the exact same thing. Likely happens a lot because if I recall, the Big 4 recruited earlier in the semester than banking.

That said, if you got the Big 4 offer through OCR be prepared to be banned from OCR and thus make sure you work extremely hard to get a return offer otherwise recruiting will be more difficult for you.

Oct 23, 2012

You didn't tell the HR lady what firm you were going to... did you?

Oct 23, 2012

by what he said im willing to bet he did which is stupid

Oct 23, 2012

I didn't offer it up, but she asked and I felt like it could ease the tension. Yes, she does know. Still, I have spoken to a number of people who have told me that nothing will happen, besides of course, burning bridges at big 4

Oct 23, 2012

I didn't offer it up, but she asked and I felt like it could ease the tension. Yes, she does know. Still, I have spoken to a number of people who have told me that nothing will happen, besides of course, burning bridges at big 4

Oct 23, 2012

There's infinitely better excuses for explaining why you would renege a Big 4. It should be inconsequential, but it would definitely be inconsequential if you hadn't told them you were skipping out for a BB.

Oct 23, 2012

i dont get why it would matter to the bank if she did say anything which she wont, ha you picked them

Oct 23, 2012

Based on similar personal and anecdotal evidence you should be fine.

Oct 23, 2012

Nothing will happen. They will just call some kid on the waitlist and extend an offer.

That said, you should NEVER tell them which firm you will be joining.

Oct 23, 2012
Whiskey5:

Nothing will happen. They will just call some kid on the waitlist and extend an offer.

That said, you should NEVER tell them which firm you will be joining.

This. You should have been vague that you had some circumstances come up that you can no longer work there over the summer and have that be the end of it. I once coached a guy through the same situation with a summer internship, he didn't say the firm name, and HR said "ok I will let the proper people know" or something along those lines which sounds vague as if she was contemplating calling the school but my buddy was fine and nothing ever happened. He proceeded to renege on his OCR FT offer as well when something came along.

Oct 23, 2012
Whiskey5:

Nothing will happen. They will just call some kid on the waitlist and extend an offer.

That said, you should NEVER tell them which firm you will be joining.

This. You should have been vague that you had some circumstances come up that you can no longer work there over the summer and have that be the end of it. I once coached a guy through the same situation with a summer internship, he didn't say the firm name, and HR said "ok I will let the proper people know" or something along those lines which sounds vague as if she was considering calling the school but my buddy was fine and nothing ever happened. He proceeded to renege on his OCR FT offer as well when something came along.

Oct 23, 2012
Whiskey5:

Nothing will happen. They will just call some kid on the waitlist and extend an offer.

That said, you should NEVER tell them which firm you will be joining.

what he said

Oct 23, 2012

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I think I am just very paranoid.

Oct 23, 2012

Not gonna lie....reneging on a big 4 offer has to feel good....

Oct 23, 2012
skifree101:

Not gonna lie....reneging on a big 4 offer has to feel good....

It felt great, but I just wish the phone call went better and I knew my offer at BB was safe.

Oct 15, 2012

Reneging was a great idea. What were you thinking telling them where your going? Who cares if the phone call is awkward, its going to be awkward. Tell them your going to the fucking circus, just dont tell them about the BB.

That being said im 98% sure your fine anyway.

Oct 23, 2012

I reneged on an offer and got a lengthy letter from the OCR counseling services. Was still able to apply and interview for everything though.

Oct 23, 2012

what's wrong with New Jersey?

Oct 23, 2012
The Real Gordon Gekko:

what's wrong with New Jersey?

Nothing particularly. I would be working with clients in New Jersey. I however, live in New York and wouldn't be able to move right away because of personal/family reasons so I would have to commute to New Jersey. So I wouldn't get travel reimbursements for working with any clients in New Jersey so those costs will add up and I'd be losing a good chunk. I was in the New York office this summer and was on a project in New Jersey and received $ for my commute, which was great but that won't happen if I'm from the New Jersey office.

Oct 23, 2012

PwC isn't going to care. You don't want it leaking back out to KPMG though. Many would say you are are justified to do it no matter what (companies aren't really loyal to you either); I'm not one of those people. But they did change the location of your offer, so I personally wouldn't feel bad about continuing to explore my options.

Oct 23, 2012
John-Doe8:

PwC isn't going to care. You don't want it leaking back out to KPMG though. Many would say you are are justified to do it no matter what (companies aren't really loyal to you either); I'm not one of those people. But they did change the location of your offer, so I personally wouldn't feel bad about continuing to explore my options.

Thanks. I just want to make sure I'm safe. I don't know how much Big 4 HR communicate with each other.

Oct 23, 2012

@skinship did you accept the offer verbally or in writing?

Oct 23, 2012
Canadiens16:

@skinship did you accept the offer verbally or in writing?

In writing.

Oct 23, 2012

I know for a fact PwC and GS communicate, but I'm not sure how B4 communicate. If you're still. a student, I'd ask a prof you trust for help. Recruiters will 1) love that you got a return offer and 2) would totally understand why you're still looking. If you're really wanting KPMG, I'd stay. But if not, can't hurt to look, right? Besides, it was pretty sleazy of them to move locations like that.