Ah, summer intern season. The subways fill with lost young people, sweaty from their ill fitting suits and heavy backpacks. If you find yourself downtown, push them towards the nearest investment bank, they are lost and need help getting there.
Summer internships at these financial institutions are brutal: long hours, difficult work young people are generally unprepared for and competitive intern classmates. Not that long ago, an intern actually died when pulling consecutive all-nighters. Yet, these are still some of the most coveted internships in the world, leading to some of the most respected (and lucrative) jobs in the financial industry.
This year, Morgan Stanley received about 90,000 applications for summer analyst and associate positions. There were about 1,000 spots available. That's a two percent acceptance rate, tougher than even the most elite universities. Undergraduates aim for the analyst positions and business school students hope for associate roles, and all of them apply in hopes they will receive full-time job offers at the end of the summer.
The Wire spoke to one former summer analyst who said that the application process itself is quite brutal. "For Barclays, you can only apply online. For UBS, it helps to go through an employee. Most finance internships are through referrals. The online thing is a big black abyss." Our anonymous analyst received their internship role through an elite internal referral, landing on the top of the application pile.