Carroll School of Management (CSOM) Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduates Richard Keeley sent a letter to four major banks participating in an accelerated recruiting process Tuesday afternoon asking that they wait until final exams are over before scheduling interviews and super days—the term for a day of multiple interviews for positions at financial institutions—according to an email sent to all sophomores in CSOM. A number of bulge bracket banks targeting sophomores are in the midst of conducting interviews and super days for internships next summer, including Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs.
“The recruiting timelines have become unreasonable and they have been driven by copycat behavior in an effort to get ahead,” Keeley wrote. “This isn’t fair to you and it is a poor ‘process.’”
Throughout the month of April, CSOM sophomores flocked to information sessions, coffee chats, internship bootcamps, and career treks in an effort to establish a relationship with banks and build the groundwork of securing an internship for the following summer. Banks with a notable presence on campus include Barclays, Goldman Sachs, UBS, CITI, Bank of America, and J.P. Morgan.
By securing an internship for the summer after junior year, students often hope to secure a full-time offer for after graduation. As such, students could potentially line up their jobs after college before they get half-way through college.
But it seems that banks are becoming more unreasonable as they continually accelerate the recruiting process, particularly for the area of Investment Banking, according to Amy Donegan, assistant dean for undergraduate career advising in CSOM. When sophomores apply to internships in banking, they only have three semesters worth of college to base their application on, leaving them banks with few criteria to evaluate them on.
“They’ve only had three semesters at BC, they haven’t even taken a finance course, they haven’t even taken any of their more difficult upper-level electives,” Donegan said. “It’s ridiculous.”
She said the push to hire underrepresented individuals in banking, particularly women, has triggered the accelerated timeline.
“The competition in the accelerated timelines is because of the search for diversity candidates, and that includes women,” Donegan said. “In investment banking and in sales and trading, they’re underrepresented.”
According to a 2017 Investment Banking Report compiled by Wall Street Oasis (WSO), RBC sits at the highest percentile for female representation among banks at 28 percent. Banks at a lower percentile, such as Scotiabank and BMO Capital Markets, only have about 12.5 percent women. While these statistics are based solely on user submissions to the WSO Company Database for interviews and employment, they are indicative of the general fact that fewer women are pursuing careers in business and finance than men. That also hits home for BC, as 34 percent of students in CSOM are women, according to statistics in the 2017-2018 Fact Book.
Attending engagement events as a sophomore, such as a coffee chat, is one way in which employers screen nand identify strong candidates. To be a top candidate, Donegan said, one must possess a high GPA and established leadership or organizational involvement, or at least be extremely articulate. A lot of times, banks will also specify minimum GPAs that students must have to apply to their internship programs (the Barclays 2019 Investment Banking summer analyst position requires applicants to possess a 3.2 minimum GPA, for example). But when firms come around to the period of selecting candidates, students—particularly those applying to investment banking internships—more realistically need at least a 3.6, according to Donegan.
Regardless of the firm’s efforts to gather talented students earlier on, they’re most likely not getting the best candidates.
“I haven’t spoken to a single person at any of the firms who thinks this is a good idea, yet no one will stop it,” Donegan said. “They’re all trying to get a jump on the other firms by accelerating their recruiting.
“All it takes is one firm to have a super day and extend offers to start the whole cycle, and we’re in the midst of it right now.”
As of now, firms still plan on coming to campus to recruit in the fall. But with many bulge banks having limited internship opportunities, the accelerated timeline may mean that most of the spots are gone before junior year begins. Donegan did note, however, that this is primarily a phenomenon in investment banking, and not other areas of finance, like asset management or corporate finance.
In other business sectors like accounting, firms have a much more organized process, offering early identification programs through sophomore leadership programs and recruiting in the fall of junior year.
Donegan believes investment banking has become an appealing profession because the salaries are high, it has lucrative exit opportunities, and students consider it very prestigious. But she emphasized that finance, along with other areas of business, are high paying across the board.
“It’s unreasonable to expect students during an exam period of their sophomore year to be doing super days in New York,” Donegan said. “It’s gotten out of hand.”
Featured Image by Anna Tierney / Heights Editor