On-campus recruiting isn't for upperclassmen alone.
In recent years, companies have begun targeting freshmen and sophomores, particularly those who identify as minorities.
While recruitment has been traditionally considered as related to University juniors and seniors, some investment banks have even begun to recruit high school students who are interested in the industry.
JP Morgan Chase & Co., for example, has programs named as “Financial Services Apprenticeship” and “School Insight Day Program” for high school students. On the program description, the company writes, “Shape your career in Financial Services with a J.P. Morgan apprenticeship. Across an 18 month period you’ll learn through a combination of hands-on work experience and training for CISI and NVQ qualifications.”
Besides recruiting high school interns, many firms designed programs specifically for sophomores. Morgan Stanley has launched six programs across divisions for sophomores to work in the U.S. region. Sophomores will have a chance to work with industry professionals in divisions such as global capital markets, fixed income and investment banking.
“It used to be very special programs would be recruiting very early, either for students of color or women or diverse populations. But they have sort of expanded on this,” said Senior Associate Director of Career Services Barbara Hewitt.
“This is done outside of Career Services. We’ll have on-campus recruiting for summer internships starting in February,” Patricia Rose, director of Penn Career Services, said. “We have many banks coming to do presentations now that will return to recruit in February.”
Rose added that there has been a trend for recruiters to start earlier. “It is true that firms have decided to accelerate their internship recruiting so they are announcing to students that students can apply on their own if they are interested. And some students are doing that,” Rose said.
“I think we will never see a huge shift," Hewitt said, mentioning that many of the banks designed their internship programs to recruit future full-time employees. "It’s harder to do that with younger students. But they certainly are trying to get their message our earlier and have really high-achieving students or students who are particularly interested earlier."
Age isn't the only factor — competitive internships often demand skills and experience beyond that of underclassmen.
“You’re not going to see tons of high school students,” Rose said. “High school students are just not ready for the kinds of internships that we are talking about. Even our sophomores don’t have the same kind of internships that the juniors do.”
For Wharton and College sophomore Lucy Zhang, the early recruitment process won't affect her personal pursuits. “ As a sophomore, I’m still at the stage of exploring different industries. And I didn’t personally experience the huge pressure associated with recruitment for now," she said.
Next year, on-campus recruiting for non-technical internships, such as those in finance and consulting, will begin in the fall semester for the first time. Some students planning to participate in recruitment have had to reconsider their academic and study-abroad plans.
Zhang believes the shift of on campus recruiting to the fall semester will impact her more. “Next fall, all the recruitment related events has been compacted for a single semester,” Zhang said, “which gives me time to make additional plans such as [whether to] study abroad.”
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