How important is an internship?

basel's picture
Rank: Chimp | 5

How important is it to have a consulting/financial internship the summer before senior year if you want to get a job at a top firm after graduation?
Would doing an unrelated (international advocacy/development) internship over the summer make it very difficult to get a job directly after graduation to get a good consulting job if I go to a target school?

Comments (50)

Dec 22, 2010

If you can sell yourself, nothing else matters

Dec 22, 2010

Considering you go to a target school, and if you have a decent enough GPA, you only need to sell yourself after you get the interview. Just remember your competition may have the upper leg with relevant experience.

Dec 22, 2010

internships are not important at all.

Dec 22, 2010

Umm, internships are pretty much key. Unless you go to a target where no one else interns, you will be at a disadvantage. Your resume better blow everyone else's away. Internships provide a testing ground for companies to see how you work before hiring you. They also give you some actual skills to use at a job. At the very least, an internships is more directly related to work than UG GPA.

Dec 22, 2010
ANT:

Umm, internships are pretty much key. Unless you go to a target where no one else interns, you will be at a disadvantage. Your resume better blow everyone else's away. Internships provide a testing ground for companies to see how you work before hiring you. They also give you some actual skills to use at a job. At the very least, an internships is more directly related to work than UG GPA.

Umm.... NO.

As long as you can do case interviews and have a high GPA, you will be fine. MBB doesn't care about internships at all.

Dec 22, 2010

MBB hire far more full-timers than they do interns; the majority of their FT hires were not interns the summer before being hired. You do have to have an internship somewhere, though. International development is less common than other consulting/finance internships, but it all depends on 1.) how cohesively you can make it part of your story, and, to a lesser extent, 2.) the name brand of the place (a place like Oxfam is much more valuable than somewhere nobody's heard of).

Dec 22, 2010

If you have any current experience in the industry than it's not important. If you are looking to transition into finance than your resume will need something that speaks to the job you are applying to. I was told from a recruiter that I was given bad advice from a professor who said an internship was not necessary since I was in a MBA program. My professor made it sound as though employers would look past my lack of experience since I had a MBA. I have found that is not the case! If you're like me and trying to transition, then while you are going to school try and land an internship. It will only add to your resume, experience, and build your network.

Best Response
Dec 22, 2010

Internships are very important. Speaking from consulting, someone else can elaborate for banking, it doesn't matter if you did not have a consulting internship. I had a Fortune 100, leadership rotation internship prior to consulting. It opened a lot of doors and 1st rounds interviews for me, and I was able to sell my experiences pretty well. Consulting internship is a huge plus, but they are actually harder to get than full time offers.

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Dec 22, 2010

Thanks for contributing bankalot, wonderful insight as usual.

Dec 23, 2010
ANT:

Thanks for contributing bankalot, wonderful insight as usual.

More accurate than someone who's 40 years out of school.

Dec 23, 2010

Well I'm more interested in consulting than banking. So it seems that if I can show that the development internship helped me and can contribute to me being a good consultant. And if I have slightly under a 3.7 from a target school I should be able to get an interview with MBB and then its basically down to the case interviews?
Does that sound about right?
Thanks a lot for all your responses

Dec 23, 2010
basel:

Well I'm more interested in consulting than banking. So it seems that if I can show that the development internship helped me and can contribute to me being a good consultant. And if I have slightly under a 3.7 from a target school I should be able to get an interview with MBB and then its basically down to the case interviews?
Does that sound about right?
Thanks a lot for all your responses

Pretty much spot on. With a 3.7 from target school and any decent internship, you should have a decent shot at first round interview on campus. Then it's up to how you sell your experience, ability, and very importantly case interviews.

Dec 23, 2010
basel:

Well I'm more interested in consulting than banking. So it seems that if I can show that the development internship helped me and can contribute to me being a good consultant. And if I have slightly under a 3.7 from a target school I should be able to get an interview with MBB and then its basically down to the case interviews?
Does that sound about right?
Thanks a lot for all your responses

I just went through the process with under a 3.7 (3.63) from a target school and ended up doing well with MBB. My internship on paper could politely be called underwhelming, which just meant that I needed to do more on the networking end prior to interview selections. As said before as long as you can sell what you did - whatever you did - you'll be fine as long as you've got the case interview aspect of the interview down pat and put some effort into networking.

Dec 23, 2010

Yeah, in my experience really aren't that crucial. It's not like banking where not having an internship raises some red flags about fit or commitment.

Consulting firms seem to view internships as an opportunity to sell you on their firm, but if you don't happen to intern with them that is fine. Empirically, I'd be surprised if any schools have more than say 50% of entering classes to any MBB being former interns.

That said, having an internship (consulting or otherwise) does beat having no internship, and the more "prestigious" or at least interesting the internship the better.

Dec 23, 2010

Where in Milan are you studying?

Dec 23, 2010

Skip Milan and get the internship. The internship will benefit you long-term much more.

Dec 23, 2010

If you stay at UNC this year, get an internship + FT offer by the end of summer, couldn't you study in Milan for Fall/Spring 2014?

Dec 24, 2010

I'd get in contact with the career center in Milan to see if any of your target firms take summer interns from your prospective university in Milan. If so, I would imagine it wouldn't be that difficult to leverage those internships into a strong FT offer in the U.S. I'm in the same boat as you, however I spoke to some of the recruiters and they said if you are a strong enough candidate, you can interview in a foreign office for a state-side internship.

Dec 24, 2010

Just a heads-up, it's going to be exceedingly difficult to find an internship in Milan unless you speak decent Italian. If you're going to Bocconi, the career center should have connections with some small consulting firms in the US. McKinsey comes to campus but they're mostly looking for Msc. students with ridiculously high grades.

Dec 24, 2010

You will gain better with the internship. It has lasting benefits, and you have a better chance in the recruitments as well. The work experience counts!

Dec 24, 2010

You will gain better with the internship. It has lasting benefits, and you have a better chance in the recruitments as well. The work experience counts!

Dec 24, 2010

Not to pile on here but the internship before your senior year might be the single most important aspect of your profile going into FT recruiting.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Dec 24, 2010

Unfortunately, I have zero Italian language expertise. I'm planning to learn as much as possible while I'm there, but I definitely won't be fluent.

I'm studying at Bocconi. I didn't realize they could help me get a summer internship back in the US. I have a 3.9 GPA right now, so I think I stand a good chance for any position that doesn't require Italian.

I've talked to my Deloitte recruiters, and they said I could potentially interview over Skype while I'm abroad. Is there any chance I could do something similar with MBB?

"Not all those who wander are lost"
-JRR Tolkien

Dec 24, 2010

I spoke with an MBB analyst and he told me if your abroad:

Round 1) You would do a Skype/phone interview.
Round 2) You would go into an office abroad and interview.
Round 3) They would fly you out to the office your actually applying to for your final interview.

Can't tell you if this is the standard process or if it's on a case by case basis. If you have alumni in MBB they should be able to let you know. Hope this helps.

Dec 24, 2010

I didn't do an internship senior. That was one of my biggest regrets since I had to wonder the desert for a bit.

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Dec 24, 2010

As mentioned, I would definitely pursue the internship prior to your senior year. You can defer your exchange to the following year and get the best of both worlds. My exchange experience was the best ~7 months of my life, but when you get back to reality it's much easier to know that you have a FT offer waiting for you. Your mind will be at ease and you will enjoy every foreign kill that much more.

Dec 24, 2010

80% of our new hires each year were from the previous summer intern pool

Dec 24, 2010

I definitely have to agree with everyone and say take the internship over study abroad

Dec 24, 2010

Ditch the study abroad. Do it later

Dec 24, 2010

I just talked to a talent scout at Deloitte. She told me that they have only 40 Consulting interns each Summer, nationwide. She told me - at Kenan-Flagler - they give approximately ten times more full time S&O consulting offers than Summer internships.

These replies had me rethinking my study abroad, but now I'm thinking it's no big deal. As long as I find something useful to do next Summer, I don't think the missing internship will keep me out of consideration for the full time offer.

"Not all those who wander are lost"
-JRR Tolkien

Dec 24, 2010
ClydeAtkins:

I just talked to a talent scout at Deloitte. She told me that they have only 40 Consulting interns each Summer, nationwide. She told me - at Kenan-Flagler - they give approximately ten times more full time S&O consulting offers than Summer internships.

These replies had me rethinking my study abroad, but now I'm thinking it's no big deal. As long as I find something useful to do next Summer, I don't think the missing internship will keep me out of consideration for the full time offer.

Hmm, that's not the point of the internship. The point of doing an internship is to show recruiters in the Fall of your senior year that you have what it takes to be taken on FT. All things being equal, a recruiter will pick the guy with the consulting experience over the one who did "something useful" 9 times out of 10.

Dec 24, 2010

I didn't do an internship before my senior year; yet I got a job at one of the mngt consulting companies you lisyed above. It's better to have it on your resume though of course; though key is to crack the business cases

Dec 24, 2010

I'd say study abroad might be an okay thing to do, if you already have stellar grades, leadership experience, and since you're a business student, one good internship under your belt.

Another thing that could help you is applying to offices which don't hire summer undergrad interns when you apply full-time, they'll be needing to fill 100% of their slots, not 50% of their slots.

Dec 24, 2010

If you don't have a BB summer analyst spot, then I think the most conservative advice is to have a pretty high GPA with finance-related courses. If not, network.

Dec 24, 2010

I know people who didn't work at a BB or in banking AT ALL the summer before FT recruiting and they turned out fine. One of them worked a second summer at a Big4 doing valuations.

Any IBanking experience though, helps tremendously.

Dec 24, 2010

would 3.7 be enough?

Dec 24, 2010
wonderwall:

would 3.7 be enough?

Depends where you go to school

Dec 24, 2010

It doesn't matter what your GPA is. You should work as hard as you can, network as much as you can, and take on initiative at your campus. Just because your didn't get an offer from the BBs doesn't mean the game's over. You have to contact your network and figure out if anyone's dropping out of the race. Lastly, you should get some sort of summer experience that is relevant to your interest. Take whatever gig at a smaller bank or a consultancy or even working in the industry. Keep the forum posted on your progress.

Dec 24, 2010

thanks!!!

Dec 24, 2010

Great post.

Dec 24, 2010

Get a job that will demonstrate similar skills to IB (financial analysis/modeling, long hours, attention to details, people skills, etc.). Work your ass off there so you get an offer and in the classroom as well to get your GPA up.

Start networking with the BB's early on in the summer, because some of them have accelerated superdays where you can interview and get an offer for full-time in August.

Not having a BB internship doesn't necessarily take you out of the game. There are more full-time spots than summer spots, and some people have a change of heart after the internship.

Dec 24, 2010

You can spin your summer experience however you want, but try to look for an internship that(as post above says) allows you to develop/demonstrate/use skills that overlap with banking.

Dec 24, 2010

what BBS have accelerated superdays?

Dec 24, 2010
  1. what industries/positions would allow to develop/use skills that overlap with ibanking?
    (tech., consult., small bank?)
  2. also, I'd probably have to explain why I haven't pursued ibanking internship during the summer...
  3. when during the summer BBs start interviewing?
    and what BBs?
  4. full time offers are usually intended for June graduates? I might be able to graduate early (december 07)..would you recommend noting this on the resume?
Dec 24, 2010
  1. Anything numbers related - corp finance at a company, private wealth management, etc.
  2. Just try to explain a natural progression to your decision making process. For instance, I know kids who did research for profs their junior summer and still got a BB gig b/c they just explained why they went into research and why they now want to go into banking. Its all about having a good story.
  3. Depends on the BB and how hard you network.
  4. You might want to note it but tell you truth, it wont make a difference.
Dec 24, 2010
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Dec 24, 2010