Here are a few tips, must dos, recommendations, and a timeline too from Pam Ahearn, senior associate director for the Center for Career Development. Pam is the industry advisor for Financial Services, working within the Accounting, Finance, Consulting, Insurance and Real Estate Career Community. Pam works closely with alumni in the industry on the internship recruiting initiatives.
Q: What should students interested in Wall Street know?
A: Financial Services is a very competitive industry. If you want to work on Wall Street immediately following graduation, you must secure a summer analyst position your junior summer. These summer analyst roles are incredibly competitive and Holy Cross is not a target school for the banks.
Q: How does a student secure one of these internships?
A: Students interested in the industry can do many things to make themselves stronger candidates.
First and foremost, do well academically: GPA is the most likely the first thing the banks will look at on your resume. Ideally your cumulative GPA will be a 3.5 or above. Students from Holy Cross have landed successfully with a lower GPA, but you will do yourself a favor by maintaining a solid GPA.
Gain knowledge of the industry: Develop knowledge of the industry and the specific area within the industry where you see yourself as a good fit, read the Wall Street Journal daily, have an understanding of the markets, know what is going on in current events, follow a stock, sit on a desk by shadowing an alumni (deadline for the summer program is April 18) or personal connection, and check out the Vault Guides in Crusader Connections. Be able to articulate this knowledge.
Show a demonstrated interest in finance: Join the Finance Club, attend Finance Boot Camp through the Pre-Business Program (fall and/or spring break), act as treasurer of your club, shadow alumni, take quantitative courses at Holy Cross and do an internship where you hone your professional skill set (ideally within finance). Be sure to tailor your resume to the industry.
Network: Start with your peers who interned on Wall Street last summer. Ask them questions and learn more about what they did as a summer analyst. Contact young alumni at the banks to discuss your interests and goals. Reach out to more senior alumni who have been on the job between 4-10 years. Finally, have conversations with seasoned alumni in the industry once you have a solid understanding of your interests and skills, and you can articulate these effectively. Please do not waste anyone’s time and always say thank you!
Attend events: Avail yourselves of opportunities both on campus and off campus. Attend the Holy Cross Finance Networking Reception in New York in December and the Holy Cross Finance Networking Reception in Boston on April 12, 2017. Apply for *diversity initiatives (if applicable), apply for receptions and events hosted by the banks in Boston and New York, attend panels hosted by Career Development and Pre-Business. Many times these events are targeted towards first year and sophomore students. Log on to Crusader Connections daily to view opportunities.
Leadership skills and service: Get involved on campus. Work with a non-profit. Volunteer. Take on leadership roles as you progress at Holy Cross.
*Diversity on Wall Street = Women, students of color (Black, Latino/a, Native American), First Generation and students identifying within the LGBTQ community.
Q: Wow. There is a lot that goes into being successful in this industry. Do you have any other recommendations?
A: Not every student is going to be successful in their hunt for Wall Street. Definitely set that as your goal but know that there are lots of other opportunities within “finance” that might be an even better fit for you. Crusader Connections is our one stop shop for internships and full time jobs. Alumni are eager to hire Holy Cross students. Pay special attention to positions with #CHC (Crusaders Hiring Crusaders).
The trend this past fall was that the banks accelerated their recruiting efforts. Below is the timeline for the 2016-2017 academic year. I suspect that things will be accelerated again for the 2017-2018 academic year. BE READY.
RECRUITING TIMELINE (2016-2017)
Deadlines in Crusader Connections and banks’ websites
FALL/ EARLY WINTER
Superdays (day-long interview at bank)
Networking events and diversity initiatives
Pam works with banks and other financial institutions to get positions posted in Crusader Connections