Different Types of Finance Internships

Fri, May 25, 2012

Internship Information

Students working towards a job in finance likely have a lot on their plate, what with the demanding schedule of classes and schoolwork required to earn a degree in their chosen field. And while they have plenty of time after graduation to work on engineering a successful career, many will try to get internships during college as a way to get a taste of what’s to come (as well as earn a little experience to add to their résumés). But what can you expect when you start looking for an internship? What types of positions are out there to help you get your foot in the door at a financial institution? Here are just a few options available to students seeking a financial internship.

There are all kinds of places that you might find internships, from accounting firms to banking institutions to investment houses. The financial field you’re interested in may help you to determine which type of internship to go after. However, you might want to start by finding out whether or not the college you attend has made arrangements with any specific companies in your area. This affiliation could help you to narrow down your search and have a better shot at competing. If, however, your school has no such offers, you want to expand your opportunities by looking beyond the selection at your university, or you simply aren’t interested in any of the options they’ve provided, then you should definitely seek alternatives.

Many other industries need financial services, some of them in-house. So there may be cases where you can find accounting or other types of financial internships in fields you least expect, such as entertainment, hospitality, retail, and so on. Although the industry is not financial, they may offer internships that are in your wheelhouse. That said, you could be called upon to perform any number of duties in the course of an internship, so you might want to look at the many types offered. Some unpaid internships are non-specific, calling on you to help wherever needed, whether that means answering phones, fetching coffee, or filing paperwork. But others could come with more specific tasks, from assisting executives to doing research (and possibly even analysis) to tackling actual accounting practices along the lines of providing support for paid accountants at a firm.

You must also decide at some point whether you are interested in part-time or full-time internships (if you’re doing a summer stint you might be able to swing a full-time gig). And you should think about whether you’re going to stick with unpaid opportunities (which will no doubt deliver a grade for independent study of some sort) or if you want to apply for paid internships, as well. You may not be required to do anything crucial at first (like monitoring an online data room for M&Amp;A, performing waste assessments, or compiling tax documents); you’ll likely be relegated to menial tasks that are more or less non-essential (to avoid legal issues). But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn a lot from all types of internship opportunities in the financial world. At the very least you’ll get a feel for the environment that you will one day work in. And you can also make some professional contacts to add to your list, regardless of the type of internship you choose to take on.

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