(Help Needed) Intern offer from Rothschild vs. UniCredit's Graduate Offer

DACHCEE's picture
Rank: Chimp | 10

Hi guys,

Long story short. I recently got a job offer from UniCredit Group for their 2 y. graduate program in corporate banking, with possibility of changing department to Leverage Finance Solutions. But recently I got a call from local Rothschild's office, with offer for an internship in Global Financial Advisory, till December this year, although they rejected me for their Summer Analyst program.

Benefits of Taking a Full-time Job Offer

The UC's program takes about 2 y. and I would rotate between different departments of UC group. The program starts in September in sales. In addition, I know very well one Executive from this bank, that might help me later in a career at UC.

Is the Internship Worth the Risk?

I am torn, because I really wanted to do M&A, but I am aware, that It'd last only last till the end of this year. There were a few interns prior to me, and none of them got the full-time offer, even during a call I was informed, that they can't offer me anything besides internship after December.

Decision: Internship vs Job

What should I choose? I am willing to take Rothschild's offer, instead of UC, but I was unemployed throughout last year, and I'll be 27 next year. I don't think that I would find any job in banking if Rothschild won't give me an offer for full-time role, because I went through interviews at almost every company, and without any success.

WSO Community Advice

Most WSO community members recommended that OP take the UniCredit job. They cited numerous factors including:

  • Hours
  • Work environment
  • Work culture
  • Future career opportunities
  • Risk tolerance

For other WSO discussions on deciding between internships and full-time offers, check out these posts:

Comments (16)

Aug 31, 2013


Aug 31, 2013

Rothschild is clearly a stronger brand, but if they already stated the can't make you an offer than Unicredit sounds like the better option. Is there even a remote chance you can get FT from Rothschild? I mean I would literally kill that internship and be on everyone's good side. Rothschild is a large firm and even though that office may not have a need, another one likely will. Just something to ask yourself.

Aug 31, 2013

1.) Do you enjoy pulling a series of all-nighters? Not just one all-nighter but two or three in a row?

2.) How big of a risk-taker are you?

If it were me I'd take commercial banking. But I like having a life and occasionally doing things like... SLEEPING. The problem here is that if you take Rothschild and you decide you hate it, you're kinda screwed. You literally won't have time to interview elsewhere. And if they don't hire you, it looks weird, at least by American standards. (Perhaps things are different in, say, France).

This sounds like a weird French employment situation, where the 1-year internship means they can fire you at will. Given that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush (old English phrase), I'd be looking for an expected placement rate of at least 50%. If you don't think there's a 50% shot at a full-time offer, I'd go with UniCredit.

To be fair, the European market seems to be improving. I'd imagine you'll have better odds today than the intern that got hired in 2008 and was expecting a full-time offer in 2009.

    • 1
Sep 1, 2013

I took an post grad internship at a boutique ( think Lazard, Houlihan, Evercore) over a mid office job at a BB and landed a full time spot. Everyone thought I was crazy.

Rothschild is a great shop and if you actually are willing to work hard, I believe something good will come out of it.

Sep 1, 2013

i'd say go for UniCredit.
reason? The fact that you were unemployed last year gives it all. (not to mention your age)
let's be real here.

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Sep 1, 2013

@TeddyTheBear I don't think I would get a FT offer after the internship. At least right after completing this one. When I've said on the phone, that I already have a FT offer from UniCredit MD's Assistant replied "Ohhh, so It's sound like you already have a job. We can't promise you, you will have a place at our office in 2014. But you can be sure, that you'd be working till December for 100%" - I know that they are ahead of some big sale-side mandate, so it looks like they're looking for another pair of hands to work. But I'm still not sure what happened to their Intern, that they picked in first place. He was either really-bad, didn't like the working hours or found something better.

The other thing is that, I know, that their Analyst is looking for a new job, because during one interview at one boutique when we came to discuss my salary, manager told me, that there was an Analyst from Rothschild who's willing to work for 30% less salary, in order to spend less hours in a job. So, there might be possibility of free spot, but that interview took place in February and the guy is still at Rothschild. And just as you have said, during initial interview MD told me, that internship is the only way to get FT offer. So if not in January, maybe they would offer me a placement in future?

I'm just concern what would happen in January in the case of "Sorry, we like you, but we have no FT place for you". It'd would be an another internship in my resume, and the list of firms where I interviewed is shrinking, and now I competing whit 24 y. graduates. I already got screwed by the IBD of one of BB bank (JPM/MS/ML), where MD informed that I got the job, I just have to wait. I waited 3-4 months and nothing happened. I've tried to email him, but no contact from his side at all. I wasted a few months like this, convinced that I have a job.

@IlliniProgrammer I already did some internship in M&A (middle-market investment boutique with a good reputation) and another one in TMT PE fund (more VC than PE - 70% of companies, are some early-stage investments). I also worked for 3 y. in M&A-related consulting business, within Energy group (clients like EDF, Veolia, GE). So, to sum up and answer question 1 - I'm aware of the working hours etc. I worked like this in consulting and during my both prior internships. I can handle it.

Answering question 2 - I was a big risk taker a year of two ago. But now I think I'm getting a bit too old to start, and If I would be a fresh 24/25 y. graduate I would take this shot immediately and I would nail it. But one of my colleagues from college is now 28 and his still working as an Intern, while some of his peers are now being promoted to Associate roles. His completing one internship after another, no full time offer. It's a standard practice in Europe (excluding UK) - weird French employment situation as you said. They got some more work, so they hire an off-cycle Intern to help them. When the job is done, they say bye. So it's not like in US or UK, where an internship leads to FT role if you're good.

Regarding my "never landing FT offer" colleague, when I asked him why his still doing this internships he stated: "I'm chasing the dream". I was doing the same throughout two, three last years, but after a year of unemployment, something around 10-15 interviews at companies with a good or very good brand, living with parents and school loan on a back, I think it's time to wake up.

I just wanted to do banking to get to MBA and move to US. 95% of guys who get to the MBA at HBS/S/W from my country, have pre-MBA experience at McK, BCG, JPM, GS, or some big European PE fund. I thought the M&A or consulting would be a good place to get my pre-MBA experience and then move to US. But recently one of my colleagues after 3 years at Astra-Zeneca got accepted to Stanford. So, I don't see a banking or consulting as the only path that can lead to MBA in US.
Regarding the placement rate. When I looked at Linkedin. Since 2010 on 4 interns, that I found from office where I have an offer, only 1 got FT job offer. And it was an Analyst mentioned in my initial post.

Dilemma that I have right now is that I am not sure if I'd get to Leverage Finance Solutions at UniCredit. If not I would stuck in this commercial banking, which is far from a career and payment like in M&A or Consulting. But there's still an Executive, that would probably support me and my further career at UniCredit. I can't get rid of a though, that maybe this offer is just this last shot, last chance of career in IB, where after few years at Rothschild I would have good exit options, savings and solid resume. And if something wouldn't go right with UniCredit, I'd be thinking "I should at least give myself a try". But, as IlliniProgrammer said, I'd be screwed if it won't work out. Cause I'd be 27 y. graduate, with internship after internship in resume, no full-time experience after leaving the school and still unemployed with loan to pay. The other thing is my experience during interview at European PE fund (AXA/Permira/3i) where partner asked me "Why you want this internship if you already graduated? I know you want to work in industry and that's good, but shouldn't you be looking for a full-time job?"...

Thank you for the post and your opinions, I appreciate them very much.

Sep 1, 2013

Sorry for some grammar and misspelled words.

Sep 1, 2013

Sorry for some grammar and misspelled words.

dude, you're going to have to do a DL;DR for that

Aug 31, 2013

I think you can get to an M7 with commercial banking on your resume. Not sure about Harvard or Stanford. Maybe Wharton with spectacular references.

I'd stop looking for jobs in France (which is what it sounds like you are doing) and try to land one in an at-will employment country like the UK. Actually, that provides a much stronger signal to employers outside of France, anyways- the fact that you could survive a job in a tougher country like the UK says a lot more than spending two or three years in a job where it's impossible for you to be fired. The UK is still a capitalist country, but they're a little nicer to workers than the US and Asia, so it would even be tougher elsewhere.

Consider the UK a proving ground for working internationally- maybe in another Northern European country like Germany or the Netherlands or in the US or Asia.

There are a lot of wonderful things about France, but the system of "You can't be fired no matter how lazy you are" is a disaster, IMHO. It's a disaster for recent college graduates, employees who want to switch jobs, and anyone who needs to get anything done in a reasonable amount of time. You seem like a bright kid- I think you'd have better luck in the UK or Switzerland than France. Yes, they *could* fire you there, no, I don't think it will happen.

You're an EU citizen; you seem to speak decent English. I am kind of hoping you are a French Engineering graduate, but I may be wrong. Either way it sounds like you are probably marketable in other countries, and it's better for a smart hard-working kid to get out of France earlier than later.

Sep 1, 2013

@IlliniProgrammer I'm from Eastern-Europe with a degree in Management, another one in Finance and postgraduate in Banking. The last one from a target school.

I've had a few interviews in Western-Europe like Switzerland and UK. And I can only agree to what you have just said. Situation in this area isn't the best one, just like in France. The best example of this is when you take a look at salaries. For instance I had my final interview at P&G in Geneva - no offer. But other candidate from my country that I know got starting salary of 90k (gross) Swiss francs = ca. $ 96k. The salary for the same position that my colleague was offered at local P&G's HQ - $22k. And it's a common practice in this part of Europe, no matter what kind of an industry. If you cross the German border and enter Poland/Czech Rep./Russia/Ukraine automatically salaries are 70% less than in EU15. But if you're an expat you get the same salary, that you'd have in your local office. Maybe in consulting, at companies like McK salaries are pretty comparable here and in the UK, in real value.

At Rothschild I was offered with a $1,2k (gross) = PS 798. I think that UK's Interns gets "a bit" more...I want to be fair, in my homeland, it's a decent payment for an Intern's role. You can easily rent a flat, go for a drink or a restaurant from time to time (if you would have time for it). So the lifestyle would be pretty comparable to the same in UK. And the salary for an Analyst's position is competitive to other offers, that you can get as a graduate here. But, if someone would consider an MBA like I do, I think that with local salary I would fit the category of a poor man, comparing to what people are earning in UK or western countries in other EU's states.

Many students and graduates here are taking internship after internship without any promise of a FT offer after completion of their programs. You just sit there and wait till the end, and then that say "We like you, you like us, but we don't have a full time offer for you" - and another intern takes your place. At least in UK, you know what you're up to. You'd be good during an internship, next year you will start as an Analyst. And not to mention that nepotism here is BIG. You really need to know someone to hear about the any better offer. But, I don't say I'm not taking advantage of this. This is how I managed to have a prior interview at BB.

From my experience, it's hard to find a job in London without a target school from UK, or any other major top-tier European school. At least for graduates and students from my country. I've tried, but I was rejected time and time again. I know that as an employee of UniCredit I can try to switch offices internationally. I would have an access to their internal job offers only for UC's employees, and there's always an Executive, that can make things happen. I know some ppl moved like this to Milan or some other location in Germany, Austria. UC has a strong presence here in CEE, therefore I think I'd go this way. Besides this, I would be looking for a FT job in UK and I wouldn't have to worry about paying the bills.

@IlliniProgrammer Just for the record, THANKS for helping me here. I appreciate this.

Sep 2, 2013

Sorry guys because I have not been going through all the messages and replies before posting my 2 cents on this.
A little disclaimer: I am working in Continental Europe (Italy, Spain, France) and there are a couple of people in my office who did internship in Rothschild.

1) In my country interning at Rothschild is miserable. They take 12 interns a year between FIG, Industrial and Debt Advisory and they extend 1/2 offers per year. You are expected to work till 6 a.m. in the morning for several days in a row and are expected, on the same day, to go back to the office at 9 a.m. (while I was interning in BB, at least they gave us 30 min - 1 hour extra sleep time when we pulled some all nighter and there was nothing massive going on the morning). Also, interns DO NOT HAVE DINNER with analysts and associates but they eat ALONE in another room. This is crazy I think and this will be enough for me to say "fuck off".
Also, while I was interning at MS/JPM/GS, my team and I went for lunch with an associate from Rothschild which used to work in my bank and he adviced me NOT to go there for internship because a) life is miserable b) it is almost impossible to get an offer for full time c) even if you receive a full time offer, your life will suck badly.
The same person, after 9-12 months, while I was trying to lateraling out of my current job, advised me not to take an internship at Rothschild (that he could have guarantee me) for those reasons.
Finally, if you go to Rothschild, you will not be able to attend any other recruiting opportunities during that period and FT recruiting is done during autumn...
The only good thing that Rothschild can offer you is a great name and the fact that sometimes they actually help people they had to find another job. I know people that where helped to go to Goldman Sachs (IBD), Barclays Investment Bank (in-house M&A), Mediobanca, etc.

b) If you are thinking about an MBA, UCG would be probably enough to get into a good program (Columbia, Stern, Northwestern, etc.). Keep in mind that in Europe, you see only people from McK or BCG to go to Harvard because they are funded to go there. Obv. it may be hard or impossible to get into Harvard from UCG, but there are people from PwC, KPMG, Deloitte, etc. who get into Booth, Stern, Kellogg...therefore probably also UCG would allow you to target some good program.

Hope this can help.

Sep 2, 2013

I also know from people who interned at various Rothschild offices throughout continental europe, that they
a) treat you like a dog (exactly as cruel3a described it)
b) almost never offer a full time job

For Rothschild, unless you're working for the London office, interns are just cheap labor that do the stuff no analysts wants to do.

Sep 2, 2013

You could ask yourself one question

Do you need the M&A experience to get where you want to be long-term?
a) if yes, you could try to negotiate a postponing of the Unicredit program until december, then you could go for Rothschild with the option of joining Unicredit in case you dont get an offer. If Unicredit doesnt postpone the date, you could aim for Rothschild and do everything possible to get an offer (as already mentioned here, maybe not in this particular office.. but its so much easier to move within a company)

b) if no - i wouldnt go for Rothschild and take the Unicredit offer. Its safer and it gives you some air in order to reposition yourself and prepare your next move

Sep 2, 2013


this is literally my first post ever on WSO, even though I've been an avid reader for the last few years. Your post attracted my attention because just 2 years ago I was literally in the same situation: I had received an offer for M&A Internship from a major Bank in Frankfurt while at the same time receiving an offer for Unicredit graduate scheme. At the time I jumped at the opportunity of having a long term contract in a good european bank as I was feeling the numerous rotations would give me better exit-ops in the future.

After two years here is my feedback:

- Unicredit is a good but not great european bank. Regarding the graduate program the most troubling thing here is the total lack of foresight that managers display when hiring a graduate. Let me explain this better: the programme runs anywhere from 15 to 24 months, no fixed duration, and in this period you rotate in different department following a plan which may be written down together by HR and your boss. All of the programme should be designed to get you up and running for your target position, which is normally decided before the rotations even start.
- The huge issue here is that after the programme ends most of the graduates find themselves literally without a place to go: due to the many FTEs cuts in the last few years there are not many teams available to pick up a recently trained grad. Not even the ones who hired you and where supposed to have a place for you from the start. So what do grads do? They just keep on rotating, sometimes up to three years in random units until a place somewhere gets free. Keep in mind that this could be anywhere in the bank, and is most likely to be in commercial banking because that's where the bank is looking to expand at the moment.
- The only advantage I see in your situation is that the branch in Paris (where, correct me if I'm wrong, you should be headed) has mainly multinational clients to serve, and therefore qualifies as a bit more interesting than, say, a smaller city in Italy / Germany /Austria.

Bottom line: Uci is a bank of broken promises, there a countless grads without a position at the end of the programme (from my class only about half out of thirty), even though they retain the long term contract and given employment law in DE / IT /FR / AT cannot be easily fired. They are basically like castaways.

My advice is to do what many of us have been doing in the last few years: take the job, get the security that comes along with it, try to steer your rotations to the areas you find most interesting (you should be able to do that if you can appropriately convince your boss) , keep on researching for associate positions in other banks and then as soon as you get a better position somewhere else get out. Otherwise you risk getting stucked there.


Sep 2, 2013

Working for a secret society vs. not working for a secret society? Easy choice.

Sep 3, 2013