What you need to know to get started

Over the past few weeks, our Employer and Alumni Relations team has connected with over 20 employers in the financial services industry to get the latest on this year’s recruitment landscape. Here’s what we learned.


Big corporations, especially the bulge bracket banks, favor building relationships with candidates in the early stages of their academic careers. Because of this, you’ll see a wide range of networking events, information sessions, and internships open to first-year or sophomore students, planning for internships the summer before junior year.


We’ve created a handy diagram to keep you in the loop:


Front and Back Office Hiring

Client and service-focused roles are the first to open. These might include roles in the following divisions:

Selection occurs on a rolling basis, which means applications will be reviewed as they are submitted. In general, it is best to apply sooner than later.

Roles focused on specialized teams, like Equities, Fixed Income, Public Finance, Corporate Support, and Technology may be posted later, typically in the early fall, and will also be evaluated on a rolling basis.

Summer Associate and Full-Time Hiring

If you’re searching for full-time opportunities for 2021, be ready to apply between the end of the summer (August) and the beginning of the fall. This is when full-time offers are extended to current summer interns. While conversion rates are typically high, some positions return to the market as full-time Associate openings.

Networking is Key

What can you do in the meantime to increase your chances? Network! 

  • Engage with firm websites: Create a candidate profile on the career websites of your companies of interest. Big firms usually have internal newsletters or forums for prospective candidates. These newsletters can help you stay informed on the business. The better informed you are, the better your application and interview will be!
  • Use LinkedIn: Connect and follow campus recruiters on LinkedIn.
  • Consider your Columbia network: Connect with Columbia University Alumni, i.e., through your existing network, LinkedIn, your school’s alumni association, or the Odyssey mentoring program. Often interns who accept full-time offers become campus ambassadors and help engage, recruit, and refer their peers for just-in-time roles.


  1. Review LionSHARE for internship postings and upcoming virtual events regularly.
  2. Look through Insider Info to learn about the bank-specific information CCE team members have gathered through employer calls.
  3. Join student group listservs & follow student group Facebook events to know when firms are on campus.
  4. Review our Finance Industry page and access Vault guides using your Columbia UNI to learn more about what roles look like and how to navigate the recruiting process. 
  5. Review firm websites for up-to-date recruitment timelines and Columbia-specific events.