Students have already begun landing internships for summer 2024
Some companies have begun recruiting before this year's interns even begin.
Henry Centore, a rising junior at Penn State University, accepted an internship offer from Goldman Sachs in April. His position as an investment banking analyst is not for this summer, but summer of 2024.
Centore isn’t alone, especially in finance and tech industries, employers are recruiting increasingly early, often before this year’s internships even begin.
The internships that hire early tend to be some of the highest-paying, according to Goldman Sachs, a summer analyst’s base salary ranges from $65,000 to $85,000. Google, which had a June 12 deadline for a software engineering internship position, pays around $6,454 a month, according to Glassdoor.
In contrast, the average annual starting salary for Class of 2021 college graduates was $58,862, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
Since his freshman year of college, Centore has been involved with the Penn State Investment Association, which is open to all Penn State students. Later his freshman year, he applied for the Nittany Lion Fund, a hedge fund within PSIA that manages around $13 million, which provided Centore with the technical skills he felt helped him when he started applying for 2024 internships last January.
Within PSIA, Centore described a feeling of competitiveness because students will likely be applying for the same summer internships. Centore noted at least five other Penn State students accepted internships with Goldman Sachs.
“It just drove us to want to work harder and make the best of ourselves and of our time at Penn State,” Centore said.
The same week he received Goldman Sachs’ offer, Centore received one from another bank. After speaking with employees at both banks to get an idea of company culture, he ultimately chose Goldman Sachs.
Joy Qu, a rising sophomore at Yale University with interests in economics and data science, studied abroad this summer at the London School of Economics. Qu's summer included an array of classes, including Financial Statement Analysis for Investment Banking and Asset Management, which came highly recommended by her varsity squash teammates to prepare for opportunities in the job market.
According to the LSE Summer School’s website, the 2023 student rate for two sessions is £4,650, totaling a little more than $5,900.
"Of course, there's some kind of pressure [to land an internship offer quickly]," Qu said. "But personally, I am preparing myself with technical skills."
This past academic year, Qu was accepted into Yale’s Urban Philanthropic Fund, a student-run investment fund that has an application process. Similarly to applying for an internship, students submit an application and can be selected for subsequent interviews with investment strategy questions.
“I think that's all just good experience to prepare me in the future for an internship,” Qu said.
Qu has already completed two rounds of interviews for one 2024 finance internship, which consisted of a behavioral interview, technical questions and a case study.
David Ross is the Director of Undergraduate Career Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, where many students are interested in finance careers. Throughout his career, Ross has seen yearly fluctuations in the recruiting cycle.
But generally, he says, finance internships start recruiting the earliest. When Ross first arrived at UPenn in 2007, he remembers that summer internships were often offered in the spring of that same year, albeit still slightly earlier than other industries. Now, many finance students accept internships for the summer after junior year during the spring of sophomore year, as Centore did.
“Financial services, I would say, has been the one sector that has changed the most from year to year,” Ross said. “The process seems to creep earlier and earlier each year. I think that firms look at their competitors. They're very much cognizant of what their competition within the industry is doing.”
This trend seems to extend to post-graduate jobs as well: in the Undergraduate Industry Reports UPenn releases every year, 42% of respondents in 2018 in the financial services industry said they accepted an offer in August the year before or earlier. By 2022, a new category for July 2021 or earlier had been added, to which 10% of respondents said yes, and an additional 54% accepted offers in August.
To best advise his students, Ross has regular conversations with employers and peers at other universities to get information about what the application process will look like.
Throughout his recruiting cycle, Centore reached out to school alumni for support, both for application tips and networking coffee chats.
“I owe everything to the alumni who are there right now and the alumni who advocated to HR and things like that to hire from Penn State,” Centore said. “Without them, no one from Penn State in my year would be going to Goldman Sachs or numerous other really prestigious financial firms.”