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Types of Finance Internship

Looking for a finance internship, but don’t know where to focus your interests? There’s a huge variety of roles in a range of organisations to choose from.

Finance internships with banks…

From high-street chains to the higher end of finance, retail banking is what most people have in mind when the imagine work in the financial sector.

It’s perhaps the best place to start if you have a general interest in finance, but aren’t sure where to specialise. Most high street banks have several arms of the organisation – from wealth management for high-net-worth clients, to corporate finance and risk – meaning that you may have the chance to explore different parts of the business during your placement.

As well as the main financial divisions of retail banks, many also offer diverse range of specialised career paths available within the banking world, which could lead to a focus in financial technology or human resources for example.

A primarily client-facing industry, valued attributes for interns hoping to pursue a career in banking include great people skills, both with customers and colleagues, a solid commercial knowledge of the products that banks offer, and often a good grasp on sales and management.

Work within a particular sector could include tasks and challenges designed to test your abilities and strengths, such as pitching ideas to clients or completing projects to show off your presentation skills.

Investment & securities…

Among the most lucrative and prestigious of financial sectors, an internship in an investment bank or organisation is one of the most sought-after CV-gems around. With competitive placements in huge organisations on offer and rigorous application processes to match, creativity and hard work are essential. Employers expect interns to demonstrate achievements that go beyond academic successes, although an expected 2:1 degree and above is usually a prerequisite.

Tasks normally include assisting analysts in the daily workings of the fast-paced environment of an investment firm, so numerical aptitude and adaptability are both must-have qualities. Great communication skills are also essential for expressing your ideas and findings clearly and confidently.

Having the opportunity to get involved with assignments that carry real responsibilities will rely on you to be confident in your ideas and work on your own initiative, although you’ll most likely be given a mentor to shadow for the duration of the placement.

It’s not just mergers and acquisitions either. There’s a big emphasis on research into industries and companies in order to come to conclusions from the information you review – an essential part of investments sector – so having a keen sense of analysis and the workings of the stock market are both crucial.

Actuarial & insurance…

In short, the actuarial and insurance sector is based around assessing companies in terms of risk: determining who should be given credit; whether they’re able to pay it back; and protecting assets based on this information.

An internship in credit or actuary is a great choice for those who want hands-on experience in an analytical role, and well suited to people who like to work methodically or have an eye-for-detail.

As well as fact-finding through studying data and assessing potential liabilities, there’s also a large aspect of predicting future events through forecast models.

Just like an investments internship, research and quantitative skills are highly valued. Having a good maths A-level is usually necessary, and many credit internships also require you to be working towards a numerate or analytical degree at university.

Aside from knowledge of markets and the economy, good communication is essential.  As an intern, it’s likely you’ll be tasked with undertaking thorough investigation and getting hold of credit information directly from banks and other sources such as credit agencies, making intelligent decisions based on the material gathered, and presenting them accordingly.

Accounting…

As one of most essential roles in the financial industry, it’s likely that you’ll find accounting internships in a much wider range of corporations than banks – media consultancies, football clubs and retail companies for instance all need accountancy in the everyday running of their organisations.

Accounting internships generally accept undergrad students from an array of numerical disciplines – from economics and business management to maths and statistics. The tasks you’ll be expected to undertake typically include assisting with accounts, and producing invoices, so a head for numbers and an awareness of the way businesses work are basic requirements for any potential intern.

Candidates should normally have an obsessive eye for detail and be extremely organised. Knowing your net from your gross is also essential for keeping track of business profits and loss, so if your idea of a great turnover is flaky golden pastry, it’s time to brush up on your bookkeeping skills.

Having good computer skills and knowing your way around an Excel spreadsheet will be a huge benefit to any potential intern looking for a career in accountancy. As well as the obvious corporate experience, an internship in accounting or bookkeeping is a great way to gain experience using specialised accounting software and systems, and get a glance at how organisations employ them behind the scenes.

By Nile Davies, AllAboutFinanceCareers.com