Investment banking internships offer the most reliable pathway into full-time careers at investment banks.
Depending on the bank, the number of interns that make their way to full-time employment is somewhere between 60% and 90%.
With the percentages that much in your favor, an internship should be on the agenda of anybody interested in a career in the investment banking field. This is the DealRoom guide to the best of the pile.
Issues to consider when looking at investment banking internships
When applying for an investment banking internship, it’s tempting to go straight to the blue chip investment banks, filling in their extensive application forms, and then joining the queue with (literally) hundreds of other candidates for each role. This is a well-trodden path for those interested in careers in investment banking and there’s nothing wrong with it.
But also consider the variety of opportunities that come with platforms like AvaTrade Academy, Coursera's financial courses, or even LinkedIn Learning's business modules, all offering unique learning experiences and insights.
In the end, it's about weighing your options and choosing between the investment banks you apply to, always considering the long-term benefits for your career. When specifically discussing banks, consider the following factors when choosing between the investment banks to which you apply:
- Training and mentorship: Focus on internship programs that offer structured training, learning resources, and even access to the professionals that can guide you through your internship. Building relationships within the firm can yield benefits down the line.
- Deal flow and transactions: Exposure to transactions is key to a meaningful internship. The experience gained from being involved on a deal or deals enhances your learning and your resume.
- Industry specialization: The book, ‘The Accidental Investment Banker’, outlines how the author’s first day at an investment bank was writing a pitch for chicken production. If technology is more your bag, ensure that it’s where the bank’s specialization lies.
- Culture and work-life balance: There are investment banks that will work internships to the bone, and others that emphasize making it a more holistic experience. Know the difference, and decide which one works best for you.
A note on the best banking internships in 2023
In putting together this list, DealRoom has omitted the blue chip investment banks. This isn’t to say they don’t deserve to be on there.
Of course, they do. But the intention of this list is to inform, and inspire some thinking on your investment banking internship choices and adding JP Morgan or Morgan Stanley to the list, as deserving as they are to be on it, wouldn’t accomplish this.
This disclaimer out of the way, here are 6 of the best investment banking internships in 2023.
Best investment banking internship programs
Link: Lazard internship
Perhaps no bank straddles the worlds of blue chip and boutique investment bank quite like Lazard. The Lazard internship program has been designed to incorporate as many of the day-to-day tasks of an anlyst as possible. This translates to gaining experience in transaction structuring, networking with investment bankers at all tiers of the business. Over the course of a 10-12 week cycle, interns are given structured assignments, and assigned associate and analyst-level mentors to ensure continuous learning.
Link: Evercore internship
Evercore Partners regularly tops the list of best investment bank internships. Usually referred to as the ‘fastest growing investment bank in the world’ (it has grown revenues at a CAGR in excess of 10% over the past decade), it has a reputation for treating interns like it’s going to need them to sustain that growth as soon as they finish school. Vault ranks their 10-week internship as the 2nd best of any investment bank, with the typical intern receiving more in-depth exposure to banking than elsewhere. In addition to providing a generalist internship program, Evercore Partners also offers investment banking internships in health, industrials, energy, and technology.
Link: FT partners internship
Financial Technology Partners’ is not one of the better-known investment banks, even in the boutique investment bank segment, but its summer internship is one of the most highly regarded. Vault ranks it the highest in its best investment bank internships. A typical 10-week internship gives interns a broad range of responsibilities, from financial modelling and company valuations to due diligence and memorandum writing. There is also a specialized internship program team and scheduled feedback sessions with each intern’s assigned mentor.
Although Harris Williams recently merged with Sixpoint Partners, the transaction isn’t expected to negatively impact its internship program, which has justifiably gained a reputation as one of the best around. The internship has been designed to mimic the role of the analyst and advisory roles, depending on the intern’s previous professional experience, and is unusual to the extent that the interns do spend some time interacting with the client, sometimes being invited to sit in on meetings and conferences. Harris Williams also runs an intensive ‘boot camp’ from its Richmond, VA headquarters for more experienced hires.
Most of the firms on this list could claim not to receive enough recognition but perhaps none more so than Houlihan Lokey. According to data provided by Refinitive, it is the no. 1 investment bank for global M&A transactions under $1 billion. For new hires, this translates to access to plenty of hands-on work. Their internship program runs for 10 weeks and the first week is spent in a specialized training program, which tutors interns on their chosen area of work. The fact that the teams are smaller and Houlihan Lokey works on a greater quantity of deals makes this internship one of the most sought after of all investment banks.
Those interested in an internship at Guggenheim Partners’ can choose from 3 different programs for their 10-week stay at the firm: Focus on the middle markets in Chicago, energy in Houston, or do the generalist course (which includes restructuring) at the New York office. In addition to the usual training, mentoring, and performance evaluations, the Guggenheim Partners’ internship sets up social events for the interns, where they can network with others in the company and the industry, and a ‘speaker series’, where they attend conferences headed up by senior investment bankers.
The term ‘internship’ is used as a blanket term to describe a student’s 3-month period at an investment bank. But even in this list of 6, there are distinct differences and benefits that each course can offer.
When looking for an investment banking internship, there’s far more out there than the regular blue-chip investment banks and their endless application forms. Investing time in the process maximizes your chances of finding the bank that fits best with your career goals.