By Sebastian TilsonBi-Co Finance Columnist
Spring recruiting for summer internships is in full bloom, and the Bi-College Finance Club would like to offer some helpful advice about effectively securing internships in the column this week and through our mentorship program. We would also like to stimulate community discussion about the now-infamous op-ed piece in the New York Times by Greg Smith, a former executive at Goldman Sachs who resigned very publicly over complaints about business ethics at the firm. How do these perceptions about the financial industry and particular firms influence your decisions about where to apply? What qualities should an undergraduate who is pursuing an internship look for in an employer? These are all questions to think about this spring as we work toward our summer goals.
In an effort to better answer these questions, the Bi-College Finance Club is currently offering underclassmen the opportunity to connect with a peer mentor who has been successful securing an internship. These mentors are juniors and seniors who are interested in helping underclassmen navigate the complex process of identifying firms and associated internship opportunities, cultivating relationships with firms, and succeeding during interviews. Mentors in the program are interested in the success of their fellow classmates and want to serve as resource people to others. If you are interested in serving as a mentor or would like to be paired with a mentor, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. Not only will mentors offer guidance and their own personal experiences about securing internships, but they will also share useful information about what it takes to succeed at an internship. This is a point that is often overlooked. So much of the undergraduate internship process is focused on how to get a foot the door. But what does it take to really succeed once you arrive? How do you compete with other talented interns to earn a return offer? Our mentors can share their surprises about what they encountered as interns and how to overcome obstacles.
As the internship recruiting season progresses, we discover firms and make contacts to better position ourselves to be successful during the interviews. Sometimes the many choices that exist can be mind-boggling. How do we differentiate one firm or business sector from another? What qualities set them apart? The recent op-ed piece in the New York Times about a culture at Goldman Sachs of putting profits ahead of clients’ interests has spurred a great deal of discussion about business ethics. As Bi-Co students who are going through the internship process, how do we identify firms that we believe best match our sense of ethics and our career goals? The Bi-College Finance Club believes it is important to network with individuals associated with a firm (via alumni, family, friends, etc.) and make an effort to understand the culture and expectations. Only by having candid discussions with employees can we understand how our personality and work styles will coexist in different work environments. Putting in the hard work to understand a business and its people will only better prepare us as students to interview and ultimately be successful on the job.
Again, we invite students across the Bi-Co to get in contact with us about our mentorship program and join our mailing list to be in the loop about our semester activities. And we sincerely wish the community the best of luck as we all work toward our summer goals.