February 20, 2013

Search for Finance Internships on for Cornell Students

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As students across Cornell pursue summer internships, aspiring financiers have been missing classes and studying answers to tough finance questions to secure a position with a bank — something they hope will lead to a job offer heading into their senior year.

Not all students support the influx of Cornell’s “target school” relationship with banks. At a Goldman Sachs event held on campus, one student shouted, “There’s so much greed in this room; let’s get out of here.” At a “Work on Wall Street” conference held in November 2011 at The Statler, protesters held a banner that read, “Stop the Cornell-Wall Street pipeline. Choose the right occupation.”

Yet for other students interviewed by The Sun, the stress of preparing for interviews, networking with leaders in the finance industry and travelling to interviews is worth it.

“At the end of the day, people are looking to get jobs from their undergraduate education, especially in this day in age with a tough economy,” said Darshan Patel ’14, president of business fraternity Phi Gamma Nu.

Patel’s quest for a job in finance meant his winter vacation was “not much of a break,” because it was spent networking and preparing for interviews.

Once he returned to campus for this spring, he said he spent the first several weeks of the semester engaging in multiple interviews per week, not including “superdays”— day trips to New York City to undergo a series of interviews with bank officials.

Pooja Patel ’14, a member of Phi Gamma Nu, reported having a similarly gruelling experience trying to secure her summer internship.

Patel said she spent her winter break traveling from her home in the suburbs of Maryland to New York City to attend events held exclusively for Cornell students to network with potential finance employers.

Even after students secure their internship, though, they said they know they have long hours of work ahead of them. Many banking internships, including Darshan Patel’s, involve working 80 to 100 hours per week — something Patel said the finance industry is known for.

“It just comes with the territory,” he said.

But students said that they think the long hours are worth it.

Despite estimating that she will be working more than 70 hours per week this summer regardless of which banking internship she chooses, Pooja Patel said that she is willing to put in the hours if it possibly leads to receiving a job offer with the bank.

Ken Babcock ’13, president of Alpha Kappa Psi professional business fraternity, said that although some finance internships require a sizable amount of commitment, the hands-on experience gained through such internships is very valuable.

“All the time I’ve spent at internships for past three summers has not only helped me define what I want to do later in life, but helped me understand what I wouldn’t want to do,” he said.

Students said they used a variety of resources — including pricey books — to prepare for interviews, which they said typically include both technical finance questions and standard interview questions.

Darshan Patel said that he found that his business fraternity — which hosts events such as mock interview sessions — gave him guidance on how to approach the internship process.

“A lot of people wouldn’t know why they want to go into finance without talking to people in the industry, and the business frats give access to those people,” Darshan Patel said.

Babcock also said that his business fraternity provided him with access to upperclassmen who have gone through similar experiences and could offer advice on internship and full-time recruitment processes.

Like Babcock, Pooja Patel said the greatest source of help she had upon entering the internship process was access to alumni, seniors and her “big,” who were all also pursuing careers in finance.

However, no matter how much assistance a student has from an organization on campus, Pooja Patel said that there is no formula to secure an internship in finance.

“Very honestly, luck is a huge factor,” she said.

Original Author: Dara Levy