Stats show that 91% of recruiters prefer hiring candidates with work experience – of which, 65% say that they would prefer candidates with relevant work experience, including internships. This means that if you are aspiring to build a career in finance, you will have to score a good finance internship.
However, during MBA, the summer placement recruitments begin right after the first trimester and students need to take whatever opportunity they get, whether relevant or not. Not a lot of students realize how much they lose by an internship, different from the area they’re interested in. This especially happens with those interested in finance, since not a lot of finance internships are offered during on-campus summer placements.
Now, if you are serious about building a career in finance, it is crucial for you to get an internship in the same field. If you don’t get such an opportunity on-campus, here are a few ways you can bag an off-campus finance internship.
While you can apply for an off-campus finance internship through recruitment platforms like Internshaala, Letsintern, etc., LinkedIn is by far the most effective platform to score an off-campus internship.
On LinkedIn, however, the conventional approach of applying for jobs may not be as effective. This is why you must follow the tips given below to push your application forward:
a. Upload a new resume for each role:
While applying for a finance internship through LinkedIn, you will be required to submit a resume. While you can make a generic resume and upload it on LinkedIn and use it while applying, that’s not recommended.
LinkedIn uses a comprehensive Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that reviews all resumes to prioritize candidates. The ATS matches the resumes with the job description and prioritizes those with maximum similarities. Hence, the best practice is to customize your resume with important keywords from the job description for each role.
b. Connect with business heads:
Summer Internships are usually not posted on a company’s website; often, while a company may not have a formal internship process managed by HR, business heads may be interested in a good candidate.
We know of many niche, high-end firms in areas like M&A, Equity research, etc., which take in a good candidate and give great internship projects, while not going to campuses. So, while connecting HR might be your first instinct, it isn’t that effective. These profiles get hundreds of requests like these on a daily basis and it’s easy to get lost in the crowd.
Hence, it is crucial to contemplate who the business head (e.g. Head of Equity Research) would be. Connecting with this person and sending them a customized note (with, of course, your CV)of why you’ll be a great intern is a more effective approach. And who knows, you may bag a PPO, too!
c. Groom your LinkedIn profile well:
Most recruiters also go through your LinkedIn profile to assess your candidature. This is why it’s crucial for you to groom your profile with skills and certifications relevant to the internship you’re hoping to score.
For instance, to score an equity research internship, you need to be skilled in fundamental analysis and financial modelling. Hence, a certification in Equity Research and Financial Modelling will add the right value for your candidature.
These are a few ways in which you can leverage LinkedIn to aid your search for a good finance internship.
B-school competitions are invaluable as they provide you with immense exposure and opportunities to innovate. They also add tremendous value to your CV.
Apart from this, a lot of corporate competitions also offer all winners internship opportunities either with them or other partner organizations. Some reputed competitions even lead to direct internships without even a single round of interview, for instance, the FLIP National Challenge. This is why, after LinkedIn, corporate competitions are the most effective way to score an off-campus finance internship.
You can follow sites like dare2compete.com or insideIIM.com to get updates on upcoming competitions. For B-schoolers, some of the most highly-rated competitions are listed out in this article too: 6 Best B-school competitions for every MBA student.
However, for finance aspirants, only the following two categories of competitions would actually be beneficial:
a. Case study challenges:
Generally, in these challenges, you are given a problem scenario and you have to come up and pitch an effective solution for it. Challenges like these would actually require learning about the business and the components involved. This, in turn, would help enhance your knowledge and foundation in finance.
At the end of the challenge, even if you don’t get an internship opportunity, you at least have a good project to showcase on your profile and CV.
b. Certification contests:
These types of contests typically require you to complete a certification program and clear a proctored exam within a limited period of time. The program generally consists of comprehensive training on a particular topic. Top scorers in the exam are awarded as winners and usually get an internship opportunity.
The benefits of these contests don’t just end with an internship. Even if you aren’t a top scorer, you get a good certification to showcase on your CV. You also gain practical knowledge from the training programs that help you ace interviews and be job-ready. However, it is crucial to ensure that you go for a contest that’s conducted at a larger scale, preferably on a national level and provides you with industry-recognized certifications.
While other categories of competitions like quiz or writing competitions may be good, they won’t have as many benefits as the ones above. It’s also highly unlikely that these types of contests would lead to an internship.
These were a few ways you can score finance internships off-campus. Now that you know exactly what to do, it’s time to get started immediately.