Unpaid Boutique IB Internship in Spring, Post Graduation....Worth it?

I'm a senior graduating in December and have been looking into an unpaid internship with a boutique IB in my hometown (Charlotte, NC). I went to a regional state school that isn't anything special but decent. After graduation I expect to have a GPA around 3.1/4

Before you to rush to leave this thread or call me an idiot hear me out and just skim this. I'm asking for practical advice with realistic expectations. Promise.

The issue I have follows. I have great connections in commercial banking, currently I've been contacted by two banks for credit analyst jobs, which aren't a terrible option, given my background. But, I haven't put much effort into the search and am not all that interested in commercial banking, the connections make it convenient. There is a risk if I put those banks on hold until May they might not be interested, regardless of how long they've known my dad. I know I could look elsewhere but those are my top firms should I go that route.
Assuming I get the internship...
(I'm fairly confident I might pull it off, they aren't paying after-all/ it's Spring)

Things I'd like to know…
What is my outlook for employment, post internship?
Could I viably lean on solid job performance over academics?
(NOT a lecture on how unqualified I am currently, I know that already)

I'm looking to break into capital markets in general, and basically want to know if I'm potentially screwing myself here. I don't expect to walk into Goldman in May (or ever) and play with the big boys but, I need to be gainfully employed in the end. I don't want to end up worse off. I know I'm being dealt a fair hand already. I need help understanding the potential risk if I turn down a CB job in favor of the IB internship.

A little more about me, I'm smarter than the school I went to (1900 SAT) and learn quickly. I planned to transfer to a better school but got wrapped up in joining a sorority, bf, blah blah. I held an unrelated internship at a nonprofit last summer and hold a few leadership positions on campus in addition to a stable part-time job. So extra curricula's aren't lacking. Just academics. Will I be able to lean on solid internship performance and tangible skills diluting crappy academics during the job search? Last, it's made my life easier before so I figured I could mention I'm female, blonde, athletic…I've found sometimes people are willing to deal with an ounce more bs from me. If looks affect my outlook it's worth noting as far as I'm concerned.

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Comments (12)

Best Response
Oct 17, 2015 - 10:16am

Sounds a lot like Tobin or 7MA. Know a guy who did the Tobin internship and is now working in commercial banking. He really didnt get any looks from BBs, MMs, EBs or even regional boutiques BC he had one micro boutique internship.

Anyway, I would definitely take the CB job. IB recruiting is over in the spring. You would have to wait until the fall to recruit again. If you want to go into IB, I would seriously consider doing the spring internship and do an MSF next year. If you want to stay in the SE, look at Vandy's MSF, Duke's MMS, or UVA's MS in commerce.

Despite what people say on here, CB isn't a bad gig, especially if you start off with a BB (Wells, BofA, JP) in their training program. Also, one last thing, what sort of bank is the CB job with? Are we talking BB (see above), regional SE (BB&T, SunTrust, Regions) or like a small regional ie- First Citizens?

Oct 22, 2015 - 12:49am

Spot on advice, thanks. Sorry for the delayed reply but in case you're still wondering...

I definitely want to go into IB but it's complicated. My end goal is to work in DCM.

I'm looking at a regional SE bank position most likely. I'm meeting with a recruiter next week but I've interviewed before (long story) and it went really well. Like I said, this would just be a job. I really like the organization though, I think they have an excellent organizational structure and culture. I would love to build a career there...doing something else.

I got an interview for the IB internship, following through with it for now. Grad school isn't practical at the time being. Given, should I still opt CB? Is this a total bust? Ending up CB is fine, like I said though I don't want to end up unemployed. I am fairly certain I will get a regional SE CB offer. Could the internship get me noticed by national banks?

If I went CB for two years then went to Grad School could that route be reasonable? I may decide CB isn't so bad but my goal is to work in DCM. I've been told after working as a CB analyst for two years I'll have the ability to move elsewhere in the bank. Would a direct transition into DCM be impossible? I could go back to school at that point as well, if I still feel like I have to break in...getting some relevant IB internship experience hopefully as well along the way.

Any other alternate route ideas?

Thanks again for the advice again, it's not what I wanted to hear but good know.

Oct 22, 2015 - 8:49am

The internship won't get you noticed. It's a decent thing to do if you are a sophomore or junior, but not a graduating senior. Definitely take the CB job. In terms of breaking into IB, you should probably try to start positioning yourself for a top 20 MBA. In NC, Duke or UNC will get you there. You could also try to transfer within the company. Can be done, but is not easy. May also want to transition into corporate banking after a year or two of comm banking. It would really help out your bschool app and also your "why IB" story.

Oct 22, 2015 - 8:50am

What do I want to "gain" from an unpaid summer ibd internship? (Originally Posted: 03/24/2011)

Right now I'm a sophomore at a semi-target, I unfortunately have no prospects for the summer through any formal recruiting anymore. I have networked with boutiques and am ready to start asking to work unpaid this summer. My goal is to be positioned for BB IBD in junior summer.

My questions are:
- What am I (specifically) looking to "gain" from such an experience (I want to know what type of work would they have to give me for it to be worth while, b/c I had a boutique offer 40 hours a week doing unpaid cold calling and I think I can get better)
- What kind of resume lines should this result in, what specific experience should I be sure to gain from it?

I just don't want to get a "banking" internship that is the equivalent of the pwm one I had last year, which was a waste of time other than getting a brand on my resume.


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Oct 22, 2015 - 8:52am

It will be the same 'waste of time' experience, but this time you'll get to add 'IBD' to your resume as well......

Get busy living
Oct 22, 2015 - 8:53am

You want to gain contacts so you can start a multi-billion dollar hedge fund when you finish your undergrad.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw
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Oct 22, 2015 - 8:55am
yea but can i realistically call myself an "investment banking analyst", do a bunch of cold calling and handing out coffees for 40 hours a week while not making any money? theres nothing analytical involved..

If you work in an investment banking analyst role, then your actual assignments don't change the nature of your title. Some interns get a chance to do cool stuff, others just sit and collect dust for a few weeks. Either way, it beats doint nothing......
Get busy living
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Oct 22, 2015 - 8:58am

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