Three years ago,  juniors at Yale interested in working at financial services firms would attend career information sessions in the fall semester and begin the internship application process in the spring. If students received job offers, they would begin work just a few months later.

Today — in an effort to recruit the best student talent for their internship programs before other companies and industries have the chance — investment banks have pushed their recruitment timelines up a year, according to students, Yale’s Office of Career Services and investment bank employees involved in on-campus recruitment. Current sophomores interested in 2019 summer internships at banks like Goldman Sachs are expected to attend information sessions this semester and, come late spring and early summer, submit internship applications.

This year, JP Morgan is already accepting rolling applications for internships in the summer of 2019 to sophomores — internships that will take place over a year from now. Director of the Yale Office of Career Services Jeanine Dames said she has concerns about the trend and how it hampers students’ ability to explore different career options early on at Yale.

“It really started in 2015, we saw the timeline for financial services moving towards the fall of junior year, and then last summer we saw it move to the summer before junior year, and now suddenly we’re seeing it in the spring,” Dames said. “The silver lining of this situation is that this is a very good hiring market for students coming out of Yale. What we’re really seeing is a race for talent.”

Eight sophomores currently in the process of applying for internships at major investment banks declined to comment on the record for this story, with many of them anonymously acknowledging that they are dissatisfied with how early in their Yale career they are expected to apply for junior summer jobs that frequently are the best bet for receiving lucrative offers to work in financial services after graduation.

Campus recruitment officers for JP MorganChase, Goldman Sachs, Barclays, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America contacted for comment over the last two weeks about why they have pushed their recruitment deadlines earlier in the undergraduate calendar either did not respond, declined to comment or said they would have to consult with company management before saying anything.

“The accelerated recruiting timeline is a mixed-emotions topic,” said Sarah Huguelet, a campus recruiter at Bank of America. “At this time, we have to decline to comment.”

Although Dames said that she is concerned about the recruitment timelines, she noted that the system could benefit students who come to Yale and want to work in finance in order to get a headstart on their careers.

On the flipside, she said, the current early recruitment strategy employed by banks may not “work out the way the employers are hoping it’s going to work out” if students recruited early in their college careers realize they dislike the industry and abandon it later, she added.

She said this might explain why, according to Yale’s Office of Career Services, 20.7 percent of the Class of 2017 worked in financial services for the summer of 2016, but only 16.1 percent of that class went into financial services after graduation — a roughly 20 percent drop in interest.

Ryan Taggarse ‘19, who interned at an investment bank in his sophomore summer and who is continuing with another finance internship this year, said he can understand why some students might enjoy the new early recruitment system and why others might not.

“People who know they want to intern in finance might benefit from the super early rounds at big banks because they get everything sorted out so early, and if stuff doesn’t work there is plenty of time to find offers at smaller or boutique firms, or in other sectors,” Taggarse said. “It is more stressful for people who aren’t quite sure that they want to intern at the big banks, since many other opportunities in other sectors aren’t even available to look through yet.”

Many students lamented the shifting recruiting timeline, but noted that publicly questioning the effectiveness of an aggressively early recruiting schedule from investment banks would likely hamper their chances at getting a job in banking.

One sophomore, who said he is working for a major investment bank this summer and will likely continue to work in finance, noted that he and many other students already involved in banking have to decline to speak on the record about anything related to their jobs because banks require that students sign non-disclosure agreements after accepting internship offers.

Another sophomore who plans to apply to junior summer internships programs at banks said that although he does not approve of their early recruitment strategies, he and other sophomores in his position will probably never publicly protest because “willingness to fall in line and eat a lot of s— without complaining is probably a plus for [a job in investment banking].”

A Yale alumnus who is now a first-year analyst at a major investment bank and helps his firm with recruitment at Yale predicted that banks will probably begin recruiting first years for their junior summer internship programs in the next few years to try and beat each other in the race to recruit talented students.

It might even be the case that major investment banks are getting nervous that students no longer want to pursue internships in finance. According to the Yale Office of Career Services, whereas 19.1 percent of of Yale students in the class of 2015 worked in finance after graduation, the number has since dipped to 16.1 percent.

“We’re actually at the lowest percentage of students going into financial services in four years,” Dame said. “What does that mean? It could mean, A, that this is what is driving the firms to come earlier as [employment in the Tech industry] has continued to go up. But it also could be that students are trying it earlier and they realize they don’t want that. There is value, and real power, on the side of the students.”

Britton O’Daly |