Across Wall Street, HR personnel are preparing to face off against a second summer of virtual internships.
Summer internships, which serve a crucial role for recruiting on Wall Street, were thrown into turmoil in 2020 with firms closing their offices in global financial centers like New York and London.
At the time, some firms shortened their summer internship programs but kept interns’ compensation commensurate with what they would have normally expected. Others extended full-time job offers to rising seniors before their internships began to assuage interns’ anxieties about what the future might hold.
This year, the coronavirus pandemic has refused to wane. And even with the promise of widespread vaccination campaigns, some financial firms aren’t certain if conditions will allow for in-person internships by June or July.
We’ve compiled the latest thinking at multiple banks and hedge funds, and will continue to update this list with our latest reporting on Wall Street’s 2021 summer internship plans.
Here’s how firms across Wall Street are planning to run summer internship programs.
Status: Starting virtually with the potential for in-office work no earlier than July 19
Credit Suisse told incoming US interns across all divisions that it would begin its 2021 summer internship program fully virtually, according to an internal memo viewed by Insider sent on March 15 by Laura Colby, the firm’s head of campus recruitment in the Americas.
In the note, the Swiss bank said it was hopeful that a portion of the program could be done in the workplace, pending safety precautions at the time. It also noted that any in-office work would be a voluntary decision on the part of the interns themselves.
If they do decide to come in, in-person work would begin no earlier than July 19, the memo also stated.
Status: Possible hybrid model
Goldman Sachs told interns in a February 25 memo sent by human resources personnel and viewed by Insider that it was preparing to roll out an internship program this summer offering interns some in-person experiences, pending conditions at the time.
The bank has not fully committed to a hybrid model combining both virtual and in-office experiences, but that’s the suggestion of the memo. It’s also a hope previously expressed by Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, who has called work-from-home, particularly for more junior workers, an “aberration” that the firm wants to rectify sooner than later.
Status: Planning to host in-office internships in New York and London
America’s largest bank by assets may also be its most bullish about bringing interns physically into the office this summer.
JPMorgan is planning to enable interns in sales and trading and investment-banking roles to come into the firm’s offices in New York City and London this summer, a source familiar with the bank’s plans told Insider. The cohort amounts to several hundred people who will start their internship programs in June.
The source said that the bank would likely extend flexibility to interns who may feel uncomfortable about working out of the office. While the firm is not presently requiring proof of having been vaccinated, it has taken steps in its offices to enable social-distancing protocols and other safety measures, this person said.
A representative for the consumer-banking business declined to comment to Insider about that division’s plans.
Previously, JPMorgan boss Jamie Dimon had indicated his preference for in-person work over remote in a virtual Goldman Sachs forum in December. Financial News first reported JPMorgan’s plan on March 16.
Status: Starting virtually with the potential for in-office work later
Morgan Stanley is also planning to start internships across the firm virtually this year, but is leaving the door open to some in-office experiences, if safety conditions allow.
Insider reported that Mandell Crawley, the firm’s chief human resources officer, told incoming interns in a February 22 note that the bank’s 2021 internship program will begin virtually. Internships will include a mix of virtual training, remote work and projects, and ways for the interns to engage with one another, presumably online.
Crawley did note that, depending on how circumstances unfold, he is hopeful that there might be an opportunity for some interns to engage in-person, with opportunities that may fluctuate based on business line and location.
Status: Virtual for corporate and investment-banking interns
Wells Fargo told its corporate and investment-banking summer interns in a memo sent on March 1 that it would pivot those internships to be virtual, Insider reported.
The program will run from June until August. Interns in those divisions will not be required to relocate to the cities where their internships would have been based, the bank said.
It did however note that it would consider reevaluating its decision to go virtual at a later time, presumably referencing safety conditions related to the coronavirus pandemic by late summer.
“Our top priority remains the health and safety of our employees, students, customers, and the community,” a spokesperson for Wells Fargo told Insider in an emailed statement in early March, explaining the rationale underpinning the firm’s decision.
Citadel, DE Shaw, Millennium, and Two Sigma
Hedge funds and investment managers across Wall Street are also taking steps to plan for online internships.
Two Sigma has told interns to prepare for a completely virtual internship experience this summer, a source told Insider. However, the firm is said to be considering some in-person options if conditions improve in time.
Man Group, the world’s largest publicly-traded hedge fund manager, is also “hopeful that we will be hosting this year’s cohort in the office,” a spokesperson for that firm told Insider.
Other firms like DE Shaw and Millennium are expecting the largest intern classes in their histories. And Citadel, the $35 billion manager run by Ken Griffin, has special plans of its own.
Last year, Griffin’s fund created its own pandemic bubble by setting up shop for interns at luxe resorts. This year, a source familiar with the firm’s thinking is once again planning for another in-person experience, though the details are not presently known.
Are you a student planning to intern at a financial services firm this summer? Contact this reporter with your story. Reed Alexander can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via the encrypted app Signal at (561) 247-5758.
Bradley Saacks contributed to this reporting.