Possible Internships for High School Students

I'm currently a freshman in high school, and I really want to get a finance related internship to see if finance is what I really want to do. I think I'm pretty sure that it is, but just in case it isn't, I want to know early on. I know that many of you guys would say, "Wait till college and the internships will come", but I really want to get an undergrad in business from either Wharton, Stern, or Ross, and I think that these internships can be really good for me in getting me into these schools, because they show interest and possibly my level of potency, if I'm successful in the internship. This doesn't need to be specific, like XYZ high school internship program, but it could simply be like ideas such as a commercial bank intern or anything, just related to banking and finance. Thanks in advance

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Comments (18)

Apr 6, 2021 - 8:19pm

I am a current freshman at one of the schools you mentioned. Firstly, the three schools don't actually care about business ECs (they say they do but kids with super strong business ECs get rejected over kids with steller grades and rigor all the time). Although, I would recommend starting a business or nonprofit. Also check out TGCC 2021 (google it and sign up with a team). Its a case comp centered around finance and 1st place out of 800 teams wins a mentorship from julian robertson of tiger. I won 3rd place last year (1st through 3rd wins various mentorships with top finance professionals). Feel free to PM if you want more info on other comps to join, that one just helped me the most with my essays. Grades and taking APs are 90% of the battle tbh with you.

Apr 6, 2021 - 8:46pm

I'm really not worried about grades, but just to make sure that we're on the same page, what would you consider "stellar" grades. For me, it would be like taking 7 AP classes, and getting a 5 in all of them, or for International Baccalaureate, taking 4 Higher Level classes and getting 7s on all of them. For the SAT or ACT, like 99.9th percentile scores right?  Because if so, I really don't think that stellar grades alone won't get me into the top tier target schools, especially Ivy league. I heard that they care a lot about our "story" and like our unique "mission" or "purpose", instead of grades, because there are plenty of kids out there with good grades. 

Secondly, I just wanted to ask more about these competitions, because besides the fact that they're competitions, I don't understand anything about them. Are they like competitions open for HS kids, so that they can actually participate in what the people in the finance sector do, and if so, how can I prepare 

Thanks for the answer, really appreciate it!

Apr 6, 2021 - 9:03pm

Np I was in your shoes a few years ago. Regarding APs just take at least 75% of them that your school offers (doesnt matter if u take 3 and ur school offers 3 thats all they care about is if you take what you can take). Standardized tests arent very important (especially in the years to come) so in terms of academics as long as u can get above a 1520-1540 everything above that is a tiny difference. Regarding the competitions just find finance focused comps like the one I mentioned or the wharton investment one and plenty of others that I don't know. Just start a unique business trust me.

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Apr 7, 2021 - 12:06am

I know kids who took 7+ APs throughout high school, did well on all the exams, and did not get into a single Ivy. I also know kids who took maybe (emphasizing that word here, maybe) 3 APs and are now studying at Cornell, Dartmouth & Brown. Not sure if you're gunning for Harvard/UPenn/Princeton and if you are then sure maybe those 7 APs will make the difference but honestly, probably not. It's all about who you are as a person. Have the grades, of course, but do not waste all of your time focusing solely on this or murdering yourself to get a 5 on every AP exam. Go start a charity organization, get involved in a cause you care about, make some life change that you think will pay off in the future, do whatever you want. But focus on making yourself a more appealing human. If I were you I would literally imagine a conversation and just wrack my brain about the things that might be cool to hear someone say they are involved in. Then go pursue that. Odds are, if you think it sounds cool, it'll be a cool thing for you to do. Just get well-rounded. That term is 100% butchered these days but seriously, take some time to figure out what makes you tick and then use that to your advantage. Grades, truly, only go so far (take it from me, a 7+ AP kid in high school who, no, did not end up at an Ivy).

  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
Apr 6, 2021 - 8:50pm

u got 4 years to get a near perfect score on SAT/ACT. Focus on that. difference between having a 1480 and 1580 will be more impactful in getting you into a target versus some bogus internship where you scoop gorilla shit and fling it at elderly women

Apr 6, 2021 - 8:53pm

That's not an issue for me right now, I can easily attain a 1550 plus score, and have done it before. But, this is really an opportunity for me, so that I can show unis that I'm interested in this topic, and also for my own sake, to make sure that I don't become one of the people who discover too late that they don't enjoy banking and finance. So any new advice on top of the update?

Thanks for answering

  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
Apr 6, 2021 - 10:05pm

Okay, so get a 1550+ score and then get a 36 on your ACT. Then come back after a year or two to discuss internships. Both of those things will be far more meaningful since it's rare to see a candidate get near perfect scores on both. So long as your GPA is strong that pretty much guarantees your admission into a T20 school. 

Apr 6, 2021 - 9:20pm

First of all I admire your drive and dedication; I was just like you four years ago. But please drop this tunnel vision for finance. Trust me, I was in your shoes a couple years ago as a clueless high school freshman, also infatuated with banking because of the prestige/salaries. But that obsession actually hindered my freshman year and prevented me from developing my true interests, let alone pursuing them. Only after I relinquished that misguided quest did I find what I enjoy--and present myself honestly in my applications, which experienced admissions officers can easily see. You will find zero intellectual stimulation in studying the nitty-gritty details of IB/finance/models. And you certainly won't get into a top school with that outlook. Finance-related internships will only show colleges is that you're gunning for Wall Street banking positions, which isn't ideal; anything Wall-Street-related will probably have a negative ring to a panel of admissions officers whose primary goal is to find dedicated, passionate scholars who prioritize learning for the sake of learning--not people who simply want to use college as a means to an end. Get into a top school first, then you can pivot 180 degrees and worry about finance.

Apr 7, 2021 - 9:41am

Don't worry, it's really just a testing trial for me right now. I'm not 100 percent sure obviously, and have other doors open like computer science. The thing I had to question was getting into a T20 school, because I know many people who have gone to T20s and they say that the people being rejected aren't just people who have bad scores and grades, but instead people who have incredible scores, but just aren't "interesting" people, and don't have a "spike." So I definitely understand how grades are important, but I know that I need more than just stellar grades, so I thought that this could be a great opportunity for me. Additionally, I heard how boring it can get, but everyone says that it gets better as I move up to VP higher positions, and I'm willing to wait.

Apr 7, 2021 - 4:00pm

You're 100% right that a "spike"--OR good essays overall, or legacy/ED--is necessary for most T20s, but what I was trying to get at is that engaging with anything finance-related as a high schooler won't get you the spike that you're looking for. Focus on something more intellectual or academic--work on research projects applying some cool CS/AI concepts to finance, pick one of the classic clubs like newspaper/Mock Trial/student gov/Model UN/speech and debate and become excellent at it, do academic competitions like the USAMO/USACO. Also don't stress out if you don't really rise to "excellence" in one particular activity. As long as you have good stats and a genuine interest in learning, you can still write your way into multiple T20s purely with your essays. UChicago, UPenn, MIT, Cal, are just a few schools that I know of friends getting in with decent stats and excellent essays but no particular "hook" or "spike"

The final decision process at the admissions round table is a lot more random and whimsical than you think. At that point people could care less about what achievements you have on paper. Sometimes, a funny or memorable essay from a student with lesser stats might just send that student over the edge compared to a perfect-stats USAMO winner with bland and forgettable essays. It sounds unfair, but that's how the system works

  • Intern in IB - CB
Apr 6, 2021 - 9:59pm

Not to be a dick, but you're a kid mate. Enjoy high school a bit. Most people in banking don't even find out what banking is until like sophomore year of college. It's great to get an interest early but you run the risk of A) not finding what ur truly passionate about if you don't open yourself to all the subjects and options... or B) spending your high school years focused on landing a job a decade from now as opposed to meeting friends, meeting girls, and having fun, all before you actually have real shit to worry about in college and in work

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