As you pursue your finance degree, one of the best educational opportunities you can engage in is an internship. Numerous degree programs will offer the option or require you to complete such a placement towards credit. Some employers will even pay their interns.
But even if a finance internship does not count towards academic credit, and even if you have to volunteer your time, there are rich benefits to completing such on-the-job-training.
• Gaining confidence as a future professional in the field.
• Developing key skills, practice and knowledge relevant to future employment.
• Mentorship and feedback from professionals supervising you during the internship.
• Making connections with those already in the field and potentially forming a long term relationship with future employers.
There are various types of workplaces, large and small, where you can complete an internship, such as businesses/companies/corporations, government agencies, schools, foundations, hospitals, non-profit organizations, credit unions, banks, insurance firms, trust companies, brokerage firms, real estate companies, financial services firms, portfolio management companies and more.
Top Ranked Finance Internships
According to Vault and Forbes’ Jacquelyn Smith (who discusses Glassdoor.com’s rankings), there were some employers heralded as the cream of the crop for internships in 2012, based on criteria such as intern satisfaction levels, mentorship, learning opportunities, compensation and more.
Here are some of their top ranked employers relevant to finance internships:
Google, Inc. ranked first place for internships in Glassdoor.com’s ranking system stated Forbes’ Smith. “According to Glassdoor spokesperson Samantha Zupan, Google interns value its famous open culture and the sense of achievement they get while working there,” reported Smith. Google’s Internships page states they offer Business Associate Intern opportunities throughout the year in areas such as Finance, Marketing, Sales/Customer Service and Enterprise. “You will be assigned an intern ‘host’ who will inspire you, oversee your work, help identify project goals, and support your professional development,” states Google’s Internships page. “Additionally, we offer a series of trainings for your continued education. All interns can attend regular talks given by various Googlers, learning about different products and groups across the company.” They add that Interns can attend company meetings, may get to work in other countries across the world, will get paid and assistance if they need to relocate (where applicable) and “perks may range from massage therapy to video games or local office events.”
Vault ranked AT&T’s Financial Leadership Program (FLP) first place among the top finance internships in 2012. Note that the internship component of this program is geared towards those pursuing an MBA. Those that prosper during the paid, 10-12 week internship have a good chance of being considered for the company’s three-year, full-time, paid Financial Leadership Program. (Those who have a finance, economics, accounting or another related degree plus several years experience are eligible to apply for the three-year program, as well.) Regarding the student internship, AT&T’s FLP-Internship page states, “The FLP internship offers high-potential students the opportunity to explore the financial operations of a Fortune 12 company. Through challenging assignments and on-the-job experience, you’ll get a taste of what it means to be a financial leader at AT&T.”
Credit Suisse Group
Among Vault’s top finance internships for 2012, the renowned financial services company, Credit Suisse Group, ranked second place. Its headquarters are in Zurich, Switzerland and they operate in approximately 50 different countries. Internships thus could take place in various American cities, as well as in some major cities overseas. Paid internships are offered in several categories, including Analyst, Associate and Quantitative Programs. (They also offer Diversity programs which consist of scholarships, fellowships and internship-style programs). “…we’ve designed our internships to act as a pipeline into our future full-time classes of new hires,” states Credit Suisse’s Internship Programs page. “This means that if you show real potential and demonstrate exceptional performance during your time with us, you may be offered a full-time position for the following year.”
Other top 2012 employers offering financial internships mentioned by Forbes’ Smith and Vault include Microsoft, Goldman Sachs & Co., State Farm, Houlihan Lokey, Intel, J.P. Morgan’s Investment Bank and GE.
Do not fret if you cannot score an internship with one of these coveted companies, as any real-world, professional experience can prove valuable if you go in with an open mind, take initiative, work hard, ask questions, network and respond to constructive feedback.