Banking internships are designed to give prospective employees an opportunity to experience the professional environment of working at a bank while enabling banks to assess their capabilities. Banks around the world offer a variety of different internship programs designed primarily for high school and college students. Some internships expose students to a variety of different positions at the bank while other internships are specific to certain departments of the bank, such as business banking, lending, or investment sales.
Many banking internships take place over the summer months and are designed for students to participate in during their break between the Spring and Fall semesters. Interns work alongside the employees of a particular division of the bank and are given hands-on training that relates to the day-to-day operations. In some instances, interns take on some basic responsibilities, but customer interactions are unusual because interns primarily work behind the scenes. A bank may pay an intern a small stipend, but banking internships are usually are unpaid with the exception of travel expenses.
Interns who work as financial analysts are usually undergraduates who are studying for degrees in finance, business, or related fields. The interns analyze data related to the stock market or the performance of the bank's assets, and help the full-time analysts prepare reports and company meeting documents. Students who perform well during their internships are often given conditional job offers, which mean that they are guaranteed jobs at that bank as long as they successfully complete their degree programs.
Many bank positions are primarily focused on sales. Interns who are interested in working as lenders or brokers after they finish college can take part in programs that allow them to shadow existing lenders and brokers. Due to licensing restrictions, interns cannot participate in sales presentations or speak with customers about sales related issues, but they can observe sales sessions and learn about the banker's day-to-day activities.
High school students sometimes take part in short-term banking internships that last for a few weeks. These internships are unpaid and are designed to give high school students an insight into the general banking world rather than to prepare them for a specific job. Some schools work banking internships into school classes, so part of the student's grade may be based upon participation in an internship program. Students typically have to contact banks and arrange their own internships, although some large schools have close ties to financial institutions and send groups of students to work at the banks on an annual basis.