How to Get an Internship After Freshman or Sophomore Year

Like I promised, I'm back to give an explanation on how to get an internship after freshman or sophomore year. I'm not offering any guarantees, but I can tell you that it has worked for me, and it depends on the effort you put in. Want a job? Earn it. I'm writing this more as a recommendation for freshman, but it is generally applicable to sophomores as well. Sophomores have the benefit of having taken some relevant coursework.

How do I get an Internship
As a freshman you probably are thinking to yourself, "How can I get an internship if I don't have much to offer?" You might not have much to offer in regards to finance or accounting, but you do have something to offer as a helping hand. The number one thing that an employer will want from you is dependability and a go-getter attitude. Boss needs you to spread financial statements in Excel for the last 10 fiscal years? Get it done. Needs you to file some paperwork? Get it done. The key thing to remember is that you do not have much to offer. I would say most internships after freshman year are a service to you. Being able to work in a PE shop after freshman year, and get paid is a blessing. And before you ask me about unpaid internships, if you cast your net wide enough, you won't have to worry about that.

Strategy
If you are a freshman, you are going to want to slowly read and learn about everything out in the finance world. What does an investment banker do? What does a PE firm do? What does a HF do? Make sure you understand the differences. Once you do, start to reach out to alumni in the areas that interest you. (Try to do this in the fall or as soon as you read this) Have questions ready that don't yield answers via quick Google searches.
You might say, "But getting an internship at Goldman after freshman year (or sophomore year for that matter) is hard." That's true. But then again, you might as well start talking to BB bankers if that's where you want to be in a few years. Not only will this help you build relationships for your junior year and beyond, you will get comfortable talking with professionals and learn a lot.
However, since this article is about freshman and sophomore year, you are going to want to reach out to places that do hire underclassmen. These places will typically be PWM and PE shops. Both internships will be fine, however, if you want to do wealth management, aim for PWM. If you want to do banking or something on the buy side, go with PE. You will be able to see if that is the type of work you find interesting. If you aim for both, you'll have more chances at landing a gig for summer.
Now that you have a scope, it's time to snipe. And by snipe, I mean spray, because you are going to be blasting e-mails out to everyone in sight. MJ said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." This applies here as well. Go on Google and search for every firm in your area. Pop open excel and create a spreadsheet with the company name, email address, and phone number. You can also add a "Hit"/"Miss" heading and mess around with formatting to make it more organized. Essentially you want to lay out your targets and have them ready.
Before you start emailing, you have to make sure you don't sound like an idiot. Make sure you have someone look over your template. You are going to have to create something like this:

Dear X,
My name is _______. I attend ________. My major is _________. I would like to help out this summer and learn more about the ________ field.

Thanks,
_______
(Obviously make it more detailed)

The best time to email for these types of internships is January. Some places though, will either make their decisions earlier or later. That's why I would recommend to email in November, then follow up in January if you don't get a response.
The Interview
If you make it to an interview, congrats. These will not be very technical as an underclassmen. Nevertheless, make sure you understand the company you are applying to and what they do. Do they have a different strategy when compared to their competitors? They will ask you what you know about them and if you have any questions. If they see that you didn't take the thirty minutes to read their website, they will likely reject you if there are other applicants.

Summary
Since this was pretty long, here's a summary:
1. Learn about the various industries of finance
2. Reach out to alumni
3. Create a spreadsheet
4. Gather a list of companies
5. Create an email template
6. Reach out to PWM, PE, or other businesses around November or January
7. *Make sure you understand the company you are interviewing for

Best of luck, if you have any questions, feel free to comment.

Part 1: //www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/what-ive-done-in-my...

Comments (82)

 
11/29/16

great post, thanks for the insight

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11/29/16

Thanks for sharing. How did you interview go? I'd like to get into PE.

 
11/29/16

So I live in the middle of nowhere and the only finance offerings in my hometown are PWM. Do you think it would do me better to try and find opportunities in the nearest largest city (Philadelphia which is about 1.5hr away)?

I know there are PE firms in my collegetown, but I'm not sure if its worth it to pay for housing here if I'm staying for an unpaid internship.

Should I just stick with PWM or is that a waste of time?

 
11/30/16
Quote:

And before you ask me about unpaid internships, if you cast your net wide enough, you won't have to worry about that.

I had the impression that paid internships as a freshman didn't exist, it's great to see I was wrong.

Is networking in Chicago viable even though it's not within driving distance of my college town? My hometown is nearby so commuting over the summer isn't an issue and I'd be able to make trips there/do interviews over breaks but going there during school for an interview/coffee is not possible.

"This world, it is a tempest sometimes. But remember, the sun always rises again."
-- Brandon Sanderson

 
12/5/16

It really depends on who you find. Some companies will pay, some won't. There are sophomores that go to boutique IBs and work for free. If you cast your net wide, like I mentioned, you'll be able to weight the differences between the paid options and the non-paid options.

Where you go to school is not a huge issue. If you go to school on the east coast, but live in San Diego, reach out to places near home and most likely they'll have you stop by the office during a break to meet you in person. Same thing applies for Chicago and other cities.

 
12/5/16

I guess it comes down to what you want for the summer and what you are willing to put up with. Getting a solid PWM role with meaningful work experience is great. In interviews you can talk about how you didn't really have other options near home and now you understand that you do not want to do PWM. Or you might realize that you do want to do PWM.

Are you trying to do IB? Give me some more color and I can provide more advice.

 
12/5/16

Definitely trying to do IB. I go to UVa which is a target I think and I have found lots of alumni in PE in the Phili metro area (closest big city to my hometown). My responses have been limited so far- one said they don't really take freshmen, and I'm gonna be on the phone with another alumni, but I think the conversation is just going to turn more into a networking thing.

I'm just skeptical about your assessment that any freshmen w/o things like family connections can still get a PE/IB internship. Geography is just such a limiting factor when you consider a lot of people don't live in urban financial centers.

 
12/6/16

Well I didn't reach out to alumni. Most shops do not take interns in general. Even more don't take sophomores. Reach out to every shop in Philly and see what options you have. If something is there that you can't turn down, take it. Otherwise try to just find some finance related internship near home.

 
12/2/16

There are BB IBD programs for freshmen/sophomores as well.

 
12/5/16

Yes this is true. Most companies only have programs for diversity though. JPMorgan does hire sophomore non-diversity candidates for IB, S&T, and presumably other programs. Citi also has a sophomore program but it is extremely competitive so if you want to get your foot in the door start networking.

 
12/3/16

Especially agree with point 1: Do a thorough research on the job/industry that you want to get to. When you go out to coffee chats with alumni or someone working in that industry, they can definitely tell by the way you talk whether you've done your research. You don't want to sound like a obnoxious freshman/sophomore who's just there to ask for a job.

 
12/6/16

Great post! Underclassmen internships are a great way to get into a field and seem overlooked by many.

 
12/10/16

Very helpful thank you for sharing.

 
 
12/10/16

As a fellow sophomore who is trying to get a internship posotion as well I can say this. 1) Networking.... this is your best bet. Talk to anybody and everybody you never know who knows who or where they worked before. I would say Linkedin is a must 2) Apply to every internship postion you find relative to field ......the worst that is going to happen is that you will get a no and be prepared for a lot of no's. 3) Apply to boutique banks they have less red tape in terms of recruiting and at times you can talk to the person directly if you figure out the email address...or apply to PWM firms not exaclty IB but it gets your foot through the door and you can meet people. There are more tips and I am sure sombody more quilaified with help you even more..pm if you want to talk a little bit more.

As long as I am doing better then I am feeling and I do it to prove them wrong.

 
12/10/16

Thanks for the reply. I also feel like I shouldn't split my energy and efforts into two different career paths (finance vs dentistry), so I was also wondering what would be the best path for me in this situation? I think I could be equally happy either way.

 
12/10/16

BigApe is spot on imo. Network as much as you can.

 
12/10/16

thanks @"takenotes08"08 and @"Lazara" I look at it this way...whatever I want to do in life I want to be the best at it so think it through carefully. Research both fields and figure it out........I love finance specially IB the work to me seems fun, you are payed on your performance, and it's competitive. With that being said people like myself are devoting all their time and efforts to break into this industry you half ass it ....you are not going to make it. As a 2nd year student you are still on time to make it junior and senior year is the crunch time and will be much more competitive. i dont know much about dentistry (I brush my teeth every day twice) but I have a friend who is a senior got a signing deal with a top IB bank for a full time position the day after he graduates and is now relaxing taking 2 classes for the rest of the year and is eating the fruits of his labor while other kids are going to start looking for jobs. Think it through you might not get a internship this year so take on leadership roles with your school and network. Instead of going away for the summer or spring break read up on the industry educate yourself. I am hopfully applying for a PE firm that might give me a chance if that doesnt work out I will be a manger for new student orientation at my school get to meet partents and kids (who might be involved in the field) and put leadership roles or somthing on my resume. Time used properly will be your greatest asset. Keep asking questions...like do you know which field in ib you want to work in m&a, advisory, sales/trading, research all fall under ib but are different? Like I said im a sophmore as well but I can answer your question best to my ability.

*pardon an spelling/grammer mistakes wrote this fairly quickly

As long as I am doing better then I am feeling and I do it to prove them wrong.

 
 
12/10/16

Honestly, sounds like you've got a good head on your shoulders. Keep us posted dude. Wish I would have been this motivated as a freshman.

 
12/10/16

Thanks SDeep24, if any of you guys have any questions about how to break in as a youngin you can ask on the site and I will try my best to answer the question if I can't answer it right away then ill find out and give u the answer. :D

I want a lady on the street, but a freak in the bed,

Go Bucks!!

 
12/10/16

congrats

i'm also a freshman grinding for an internship. if everything goes well i should have a UBS PWM intrnship under my belt this summer, no VC but still pretty good.

but congrats bro, keep doing what you're doing.

 
12/10/16

Thanks, UBS PWM is great! Are u doing it in NYC?

Well regardless network hard, show your manager that you are the shit and go to the WSO conference in NYC this summer!

I have to still see if I can go. ( Ill be in SF)

GL bro I hope to see you on the street someday!

I want a lady on the street, but a freak in the bed,

Go Bucks!!

 
12/10/16

It's at the Boston office and has there been a date set yet for the WSO NYC conference?

 
12/10/16

Ok man gl boston is a great city, and yea July 21 2012

I want a lady on the street, but a freak in the bed,

Go Bucks!!

 
12/10/16

u gonna buy tickets :D?

I want a lady on the street, but a freak in the bed,

Go Bucks!!

 
12/10/16

I just might, i have to call a few relatives in NY ahead of time to let them know i'll be down and have a place to stay for the weekend.

is there a link to purchase the tickets?

 
12/10/16

Yes sir its on wso

I want a lady on the street, but a freak in the bed,

Go Bucks!!

 
12/10/16

damn where have i been lol.

but i'm definitely interested, i might do it.

 
12/10/16

not on WSO for sure come on man! haha

It seems great you should turn that interest into a certainity :D

I want a lady on the street, but a freak in the bed,

Go Bucks!!

 
12/10/16

i'll most likely make it down there, great opportunity to meet some people and network.

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12/10/16

@jonathan-wang3, I would start trying to network with non-alumni. Take a look at my networking guide. Even an internship at a "no-name" boutique looks excellent for sophomore year, so try spreading your net wide. Only a very, very select few sophomores get internships at top BBs.

 
 
12/10/16

Are you a minority student / have any disabilities. There are places that help network you into top firms. Otherwise do discovery programmes (aimed at freshmen students). This will help you get the interview in your second year when you're eligible for interview.

Otherwise, I know Google takes on first year interns. See if you can get into their finance internship (through the business intern programme). Very hard to get into but its worth a shot. Brand names NEVER hurt.

 
12/10/16

OP isn't eligible for any of this. He's a HS senior going into his freshman year.

 
12/10/16

Start cold emailing people. Use LinkedIn and try to find people online that work at places you want to intern at. As a freshman with little technical knowledge and no internship experience, you will not get an offer without networking.

 
 
12/10/16

This is quite a common topic. Use the search button and you'll find the answers you're looking for.

 
12/10/16

Yes, it is possible to get an internship at a BB as a rising sophomore, although it is quite rare. Typically students who get such internships summer after freshman yr. get in through programs targeting URM's or women, or have incredible connections. A girl at my school interned at Goldman after her freshman summer in the IBD so it's absolutely possible.

 
12/10/16

Yes it is possible. Join our sophomore recruiting thread if you have questions..

 
12/10/16

Hypothetically. Of course, it helps if you are the cousin of a major client.

 
 
12/10/16

I would recommend doing a non-paid internship at a real estate investment shop where you have a contact. Pick a shop where you agree with their investment strategy. Maybe they do MF acquisitions or value-add retail. Anywhere where you could get a good learning experience will allow you to speak intelligently about the industry when you apply for Blackstone.

 
 
12/10/16

Hi Killua1234, no, I never sleep and so I can respond to any lonely threads (like this one) at all hours of the night. Impressive, I know ;-)

No promises, but thought I'd mention a few relevant users that work in the industry: @threatlevelmidnight @drudow @Lingcasper

I hope those threads give you a bit more insight.

 
 
12/10/16

Isn't too late to find a sa position for this summer?

 
12/10/16

well yes, at BBs but im shooting for boutiques.

 
12/10/16

Resumes should be one page, you waste a lot of space in that non-matriculated area. None of your "relevant studies" have any bearing on finance from what I can see.

EDUCATION

X University Place, Somewhere
BS in Engineering Expected 2012
* Major GPA: x/4.0; Cumlative GPA x/4.0

You have enough experience to not put any hgih school achievements on your resume, that is your work experience mainly. You need to quantify some results and make it easier to understand for some people. Don;'t just laundry list engineering applications like MatLab, describe how they were used in conjunction with quantified results.

Your work experience is not in chronological order either.

Your EMS experience isn't formatted

You can find SA positions now, just not at BBs and elite boutiques (which probably wouldn't take sophomores anyways). Just hunt out the regional boutiques.

Reality hits you hard, bro...

 
12/10/16
 
12/10/16

If it was a forced change of academic institution, it may come up in a background check for FT. FERPA isn't nearly as protective as it should be. For other interviews, you better have an amazing reason for transferring, because it probably will come up.

  • Tons of white space; make an "interests and skills" section to fill some of it up. Remove the computer coursework and put it in that, if anywhere.
  • Have you been accepted to the new school? If it's just a formality to start (and assuming they already know your situation), you could just use the expected graduation format. Be forewarned if they check enrollment though.
  • If you're going to use the word "black" to describe an ethnicity, it should be capitalized. I would recommend changing the word to "minority".

Overall, you need to fix the formatting to make it more presentable.

  • Why is your name ladymonkey when your profile says you're male?
 
12/10/16

Thanks for the info singularity, I am a female. I rushed through the process of signing up for a WSO acct so I never checked the gender

 
12/10/16

what sort of role are you shooting for?

 
12/10/16

Since it is so late in the game, anything in IBD will do. I have multiple internship offers in non-finance- related fields but I want to try something new this summer. If it is something I see myself doing FT, I will proceed to find a junior SA internship...

 
 
12/10/16

PM me as a reminder and I'll strive to help you towards the end of the week. Forget about PWM if you want to trade.

 
12/10/16

PMd you.

I was thinking earlier today, would there be any merit in opening up an account and independently trading for the summer? I feel like I should be doing this when I can put my full attention into it.

 
12/10/16
Pimp C wrote:

PMd you.

I was thinking earlier today, would there be any merit in opening up an account and independently trading for the summer? I feel like I should be doing this when I can put my full attention into it.

Try opening a paper account. Gets you used to the market and there isn't any risk.

 
12/10/16
dtm644 wrote:
Pimp C wrote:

PMd you.

I was thinking earlier today, would there be any merit in opening up an account and independently trading for the summer? I feel like I should be doing this when I can put my full attention into it.

Try opening a paper account. Gets you used to the market and there isn't any risk.

I've been paper trading for a few months now, and I want to get a better feel for the markets before I put my own money on the line.

 
12/10/16

If you have money, you can open up your own and from there execute your own trades.

 
 
12/10/16

I think you should scrap that idea entirely and focus on finding something small, but relevant enough to demonstrate an interest in finance. Or really anything at all that isn't laying around at home all summer with your thumb up your ass. That includes staying on campus and drinking all summer too. You really shouldn't worry too much about getting something your freshman summer - it's nice to have that if you can land it, but its also far from the end of the world if you just did nothing all summer either.

 
12/10/16

I recognize your point and have decided I want to pursue the best internship opportunity I can this summer. Coming from a semi/non-target disadvantages me a bit when it comes to getting a job after college, competing with ivies, you know how it goes. This isn't completely hopeless, I have some good intern experience from a small HF last summer that I am hoping to leverage. I want to try and be unique here though and get a boutique internship freshman summer. Regardless, it would probably last for only a part of the summer so the rest I have to kill time like you're supposed to during summer. Thanks for your input, Stryfe.

 
12/10/16

I'm not saying don't try to network and leverage your experience, I just think writing a big email and shooting it to all sorts of firms is the wrong way to go about it. I'm also from a non target and got a solid internship after my Freshman year, so it is definitely doable. I'd focus on boutique or other small shops around your local area - an idea situation would be finding something relevant enough to where you can put it on your resume, but still not time consuming enough to hold you down all summer.

 
12/10/16

I should've mentioned that I'm from NYC so all these firms are my local area. This is another reason I don't think cold emailing is such a bad idea. I may have talked it up in my first post but I won't really be sending a "big" email- it would just seem like a regular cold email directly targeted at the recipient firm asking for an internship. But anyway I prattle on. How do you recommend going about finding an internship? And how did you manage to find one after freshman year?

 
12/10/16

How do you find an internship after freshman year? The same ways most internships are found: career center and networking/connections.

 
 
12/10/16

Yes it is your just at a disadvantage since the Junior Candidates will take priority over any Sophomore Candidate. Just work your ass off and standout from everyone else or be really well connected.

 
12/10/16

It's near the realm of impossibility unless you have extremely strong, probably familial connections. I think it might actually be easier at an EB if you are incredibly talented academically/well versed in corporate finance. I know one non-diversity sophomore who had an EB spot but none with a BB spot.

Note when I say "talented academically" I mean you have a 4.0 flat at a top target and when I say "well versed in corporate finance", you can run through complicated questions (paper LBOs/mergers come to mind) without blinking. It's really, really difficult.

 
 
12/10/16

i did at Morgan Stanley

 
12/10/16

My freshman I did Goldman although it was operations but it was still great b/c I got to put Goldman on my resume and in addition to that I worked really hard and so was able to work the internal mobility route a bit. Any way if you get a chance do it, even if it means a lesser role at a great place or a good role at a lesser place better than blowing your summer at the pool or beach or at least its better on your resume.

 
12/10/16

ppl do, mostly through connections/

 
12/10/16

Take your freshman summer off. And actually have a good time. Don't sell your soul that early.

I know a few kids who worked at UBS in Private Client.