After the financial crisis threw off Wall Street’s groove, the allure of summer internships had fewer juniors donning suits and heading to interviews. Now that the job market shows signs of improvement, that student interest is also making a rebound.
The process is just heating up this week: Though a lucky few have already pocketed early offers, most are going through interviews or waiting to hear back from companies in coming weeks. Elis fared comparatively better in the job market than their peers at other institutions last year, and juniors this year remain hopeful about their chances in industries such as investment banking, consulting, and sales and trading. Recruiters and students said these sectors are starting to recover, and student interest is climbing too.
“There are fewer openings this year overall, compared to some earlier years this decade, meaning students will have to compete harder,” Director of Undergraduate Career Services Phil Jones wrote in an e-mail. “Regardless of the state of the economy, good people who work hard at the processes are usually rewarded, but it takes time and effort.”
Representatives from two firms said they have more spots to fill now than at this time last year, though still fewer than before the recession.
“I don’t think we’re at 2007 levels, but we’re definitely creeping up,” said Jackie Murray, a recruiter for Deutsche Bank. “We’re in an environment where there’s a lot of competition on campus and there are far more jobs available now than there were last year.”
Firms are using this impression that jobs are on the rise to re-generate interest that slipped in financial industries and consulting firms last year, said Mel Wolfgang, a partner at the Boston Consulting Group and the head of U.S. recruiting. He said that BCG is aiming to make this summer’s group its largest ever to regain interest lost last year.
“[Last summer,] people assumed the job market was sour and didn’t pursue jobs as aggressively as we would have liked,” he said. “We are seeing more interest in the fall hiring push for the class of 2010 and [summer internships].”
But it may be too early to get hopes up. Economics professor Benjamin Chabot, who teaches the course “American Economic History,” said though major banks are in a better state now than this time last year, the sectors in which banks traditionally expand, such as trading operations and investment banking, are not growing, so banks do not have a need for more hires. In addition, Chabot said if banks are hiring, they may likely prefer experienced workers to fresh-faced undergraduates.
“I don’t think we’ll see total employment in financial services get back to the level of 2007 for a while,” he said. “I’d say it could be decades.”
Still, students seem to be bolstered by the recruiters’ optimism. Two of seven students interviewed who are applying for summer internships said they have chosen not to diversify their job options because they trust the market for finance jobs will improve this year compared to last.
“[Finance firms] seem to think that things are picking up in the economy and in investment areas,” said a junior in Berkeley who asked not to be named because he is in the process of applying for investment banking jobs. “If they weren’t saying they were willing to hire, I might be more discouraged.”
Another junior in Trumbull who used UCS resources and brothers in his fraternity to find information on job opportunities said that because the banks had undergone layoffs, they were now on the market for “top-talent.”
Wednesday brought dozens of nervous juniors to UCS to undergo another round of interviews with firms including J.P. Morgan and Bain & Company.