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Friday 29 June 2012

How To Convert Your Internship Into a Job Offer

We are in summer internship period, so in collaboration with Kate Jillings from BusinessBecause, we have written this post to give you some tips on how to convert an internship into a job offer.
We interviewed a senior recruiter at a leading investment bank and a top MBA grad who interned and then landed a consulting job in order to find the top 5 points you need to focus on this summer:
The overall message is that you should get to know the business really well. In a big firm you need to quickly figure out which teams have permanent headcount and target them. It’s also important to have a strong story about you and what’s led you to this point in your career.

Recruiter View Capital Markets Division

With hundreds of interns passing through the Capital Markets division every year, with a particular spike in the summer, only a handful are be able to secure permanent roles.
The internship “funnel” has become the only route to get a job in many investment banks nowadays - desks are much more likely to hire previous interns than risk an untested person.
The main tips for converting an internship into a job are:
  1. Impress as many senior people as possible. Cast your net wide: your immediate boss might not be in a position to hire you, but someone else could be.
  2. Network with HR to find out which parts of the company are likely to have hiring budget/ headcount when you finish your internship.
  3. Attach yourself to 'key' ongoing projects so the firm won't want to let you go at the end of your internship. This is preferable to working on a stand-alone or 'one-off' project that no one will care about at the end of the summer.
  4. Make yourself indispensable. Genuinely pick up workload from other people, roll your sleeves up and get yourself into a position of co-ordinating and managing projects. As in point 3., the company will prefer to keep you than find a replacement if you’re already trained-up.
  5. Make yourself desirable. Line up other opportunities (preferably with competitors) to give yourself a stronger negotiating position at the end of your internship.

The consulting intern view

DI impressed the MD and other Directors at the first interview with my story. Storytelling is a very powerful tool and that worked for me as my story is quite interesting.
After that mainly used my strengths to impress them during the internship, in particular things like: professionalism, reliability, a proactive approach, willingness to be involved in everything and to suggest ideas – which weren’t necessarily all good! My quantitative and analytical skills also helped me.
Nevertheless, in addition to the above, I was very open about my weaknesses and shortcomings. These were mainly lack of knowledge about the specialist area in which the business operates, impatience, perfectionism (which takes time), and a home situation which requires me to be flexible with my time - my mother requires quite a bit of care due to an illness.
The last part actually worked to my advantage as the Directors really valued the fact that I take care of my family. For them it showed that I am very loyal.
As you can see these are quite personal experiences. If I would need to point to anything general it would be quite simple: be honest, respectful, reliable, professional, proactive, interested in the business you are in and show that you strongly consider others before yourself.
To sum up, you are already in a good position since you found a good internship. But now it’s money time – stay focused, make sure everyone know what you want to achieve and follow the step to meet it. After all, once you secure a full time offer – then it’s only party-time till you graduate!

Kate Jillings is the Managing Director of, a professional network for the business school world. On BusinessBecause you’ll find useful information about MBA jobs, MBA Rankings and fresh daily editorial including the Why MBA series Inside View interviews with employers who are hiring MBAs right now!