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Bank CEO suggests 2024 is a great year to be a summer intern

It's summer internship season in investment banks and it could be that this summer will be better than summers in the recent past. Jefferies' CEO Richard Handler is his usual ebullient self, and interns themselves are also hopeful.

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Writing on both his own Instagram account and Jefferies' website, Handler says "every summer is different." In 2022, the summer intern/analyst period was defined by, "nonstop action throughout the capital markets, which created a “fire hose” of experience and learning opportunities," says Handler. Last year, he says it was more about "volatility" and that this meant there was no "decent capital formation" (by which he presumably means that trading volumes were low and deals weren't done). This year, Handler says there may be a Goldilocks-style medium way: "The early indications are that the markets will be open, but not too frothy, which should make for a constructive environment for deal activity."  While he hastens to add that interns can learn in every market, the implication is that this year might provide opportunities for learning that are not too overwhelming.

For interns themselves, though, the real question is whether 2024 will also provide an opportunity for converting banking internships into full-time jobs. Last year, there were reports of woeful return rates. This year, junior bankers seem optimistic that interns might return in greater numbers. 

Interns themselves are optimistic about this too. "From what I see, chances to convert will be improved," suggests one. It helps that this year's intern classes may be better sized for the market: Goldman reportedly has 2,700 interns in 2024, down from 3,000 in 2023, even as markets improve. "In IBD [the investment banking division] they might be more understaffed than last year," muses another. 

It's still early days, though. At Goldman Sachs, interns only arrive next week. At other banks, interns are arriving today and allegedly revealing themselves incapable of replying to emails. 

Irrespective of how this summer goes, Handler suggests interns might want to prepare for its end. Book a holiday now, he says: "You will have worked really hard this summer and will have more than a little cash leftover (maybe for the first time in your life). It doesn’t have to be extravagant." And don't overwork during the internship itself: no one needs to be a “martyr", no one needs to put in "unnecessary facetime." But if you spend some time making sure you really understand what you're being asked to do, Handler says you won't need to work as hard: "It could also mean the difference between seeing your friends at dinner after a job well done or pulling an unnecessary “all-nighter” to deliver the wrong analysis in the morning."

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Cu
    3 June 2024

    "It's a great time to work for free," says millionaire with stock options, equity.

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