Things You Need To Know – Finance

Skills and Knowledge You’ll Need

There are a few hard skills and some content areas that would prepare students to stand out as interns or full-time employees in finance, regardless of their area of study:

  • Excel and PowerPoint: These are the primary tools of business, so mastering them by completing basic and more advanced training modules on LinkedIn Learning before beginning an internship is the best way to become indispensable to your team leader.
  • Business Fundamentals: For students who do not take corporate finance and financial accounting courses at Colby, LinkedIn Learning has training modules to help close those knowledge gaps at no cost. Harvard Business School Online offers a low-cost CORe program, which includes virtual Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting and culminates with a certificate.

Prepare Well for Technical Interviews 

DavisConnects has robust resources for technical interview preparation:

  • Finance Advising Google Drive with behavioral and technical  interview guides for most common roles in finance, along with data sets and resources for financial modeling.
  • Colby’s student-led finance clubs, Colby Student Investment Alliance and Mayflower Hill Capital, teachtrain members financial modeling and valuation skills.
  • DavisConnects Finance Fellows are seniors who have return offers from top banks and private equity firms, hired to advise first- years and sophomores in resumes, cover letters, and finance interview preparation.
  • Colby’s Department of Economics offers Wall Street Prep Advanced Excel and financial modeling courses each semester to its majors.

Use These Resources

In addition to primers on technical interview techniques, there are some additional resources that can help students learn more about finance and prepare for interviews:

  • Ripplematch: This a free platform that matches students with leading firms in search of talent from non-target schools.
  • Finance Podcasts: Every major financial institution has its own podcasts, which are an excellent way to gain insight into markets and the firms themselves. Listen before you go on an interview to show that you have done your homework.
  • Finance News Sources:  Morning BrewWSJBloomberg News, and The Economist are great sources of financial news. Employers expect candidates to be aware of and engaged with news about financial markets.
  • Instagram Finance accountsCliofinancexx is a fantastic resource for gaining an understand or finance sectors.

Attend Finance Education & Networking Events

Every October and April, DavisConnects and the Economics Department host a Wall Street Prep – Financial Modeling Workshop on campus to get you up to speed on financial modeling in Excel. This is a free two-day deep dive into the same training used by major banks to do their initial onboarding for your eventual job or internship.

For the past 10 years, DavisConnects has hosted its largest career education conference, Paving the Road to a Future in Finance, in October. Students can learn about the latest industry topics from leaders in the field, participate in small group discussions with experts, and even get recruited by participating employers.

Recruiting Process

Colby alumni can be found at many of the leading financial services firms and, in many cases, form recruiting teams to help Colby students access opportunities at these firms. For bulge bracket banks where we have alumni recruiting teams, a common practice is for team leaders to work with DavisConnects’ Employer Partnerships (EP) team to organize a resume drop where:

  • The EP team collects resumes from interested students well in advance of the firm’s application deadline.
  • The alumni recruiting team has preliminary conversations with applicants to determine their role preferences and fit, level of readiness for interviewing, and ability to take and apply critical feedback as they prepare.
  • Students apply on the bank’s website for these roles, based on alumni input.
  • The alumni recruiting team prepares and refers top candidates to their HR recruiters for a Super Day (final round interview).

Timelines

It’s important to understand the importance of junior year internships for the financial services industry. In most cases, recruiters for these firms want to hire 90 percent or more of their junior intern class full time upon graduation. This is why they invest heavily in selecting the right candidates and building relationships with them early in their collegiate careers

Banking

Timelines for financial services are a moving target, with application deadlines moving earlier and earlier each year. Right or wrong, students who wish to pursue careers in banking are expected to know which firms and roles they are most interested in by the start of the spring semester of their sophomore years, with the largest banks beginning their junior summer intern recruitment process as early as March or April of students’ sophomore year. This process starts even earlier for students who are underrepresented in banking (women, students of color, LGBTQ+, veterans, and sometimes neurodivergent candidates), as banks offer early identification recruitment programs aimed at improving diversity, equity, and inclusion at their firms.

The most popular roles at top-tier banks have the earliest recruiting timelines (investment banking, sales and trading, corporate banking, and equity research) with other roles such as private wealth management, investment management, public finance, and technology/quantitative roles recruiting somewhat later, often in summer after sophomore year or early fall of junior year. Top private equity firms also recruit early to compete successfully for talented students who might otherwise choose investment banking.

For those who miss the spring rush, there are still a number of boutique investment banks that choose not to participate in the arms race for talent and wait until late summer or early fall.

Investment Management

Generally speaking, “buy side” firms (investment management firms, hedge funds, and smaller PE firms) recruit later than investment banks do, in the late summer or early fall of junior year. Quite a few smaller investment management firms hire throughout the year and often offer internships to sophomores as well as juniors because they are not in the position to make full-time offers to outstanding interns. They want to help students set themselves up for high-stakes  internships in their junior summer or full-time banking positions after graduation.

Other Opportunities

Students seeking opportunities in investor relations, financial planning and analysis, risk, and finance operations can also find them throughout the year, though larger firms often recruit in September and October.