A finance internship is a great way to get some experience under your belt in the financial services industry. Financial firms and companies are in such demand for staff and advisors that there are a lot of opportunities out there.
Our team recently talked with Clay Skurdal from Advisors Ahead, a talent development organization that specializes in sourcing, screening, onboarding and developing the next generation of financial advisors. As someone who helps connect college students with financial services opportunities, he offers the follow tips for how to land a finance internship and get the most out of it.
Rather than looking for internship postings, consider proactively contacting the financial firms located near you, let them know you are interested in joining the industry, and ask them if they would be willing to take you on as an intern. Not only does this show initiative, but you can tell them what experience you are looking to gain and see if they have any work for you that would be a good fit. This will help put you in the driver’s seat of your own career and resume development.
Develop and Know Your Personal Story
In order to get a finance internship, you need to be able to tell your personal story. If you don’t know your personal story, step back and think about why a firm should hire you for the next 3 or 6 months. What skills and experience do you have that can help them? What is your approach to working with people? What successes can you share with them? What adversity have you faced and how have you risen to challenges? No matter what questions you are asked in your finance internship interview, be sure your personal story is what shines through.
Look for an Internship during the School Year if Possible
While summer internships are appealing because you have more time to dedicate to them, financial firms are more likely to take on interns during the school year because there is more potential to hire you on after. There is high demand for financial advisors and staff right now. If you think about it from the firm’s perspective, they would prefer to hire you from intern to full-time rather than invest the time in training you and then send you back to school again.
Get a Variety of Experiences
Every financial firm operates differently and has diverse needs. If you try to get an internship with a small, independent firm, for example, you may find yourself working directly for the owner of the firm. Whereas, if you intern for a large, enterprise firm, you will likely be working with a branch manager on projects they need. The environments in these two examples vary considerably and it is a good idea to get experience working in both if you can so you know what you would prefer for a full-time job.
All internships will provide different experiences too. Often internships will evolve into what the needs of the company or program are. Some finance internships could focus heavily on marketing while others could focus on portfolio management. The more experience you have coming out of school, the more prepared you will be for the job market.
Now that you’ve got a handle on how to get a finance internship, learn more about how to prepare for finance interview questions and what questions you should ask during your finance internship.