While many University of Michigan students are scrambling to secure an internship for the quickly approaching summer, some Business students have already been recruited for the summer of 2020. In an effort to land prestigious internships at top finance and banking firms, many Business sophomores have undergone an accelerated recruiting process for positions, which started winter semester.
Official recruitment, consisting of interviews for jobs at banking and finance firms and facilitated by the Business School’s Career Development Office, typically takes place in the fall of junior year. However, many banks have taken the initiative to start recruiting in the winter of students’ sophomore year. And companies have moved formal recruitment interviews off campus, bypassing the Business career center, in order to expedite their recruitment process.
Maria Hayes, industry manager and associate director in the Business Career Development Office, said the Business School does not permit banks to hold on-campus interviews with sophomores.
“(Accelerated recruitment) is against our guidelines and our timing,” Hayes said. “Banks come to us and ask if they can host interviews during that time and we tell them no. My guess is that student worked directly with that company to coordinate that interview — they didn’t coordinate it through our office … There are interviews taking place outside of Ross for these students, but that’s something we wouldn’t encourage and we wouldn’t host here.”
The Daily reached out to multiple banks and firms for comment on why they participate in early recruitment, but did not receive any responses in time for publication.
Business sophomore Bryan Sauer is concentrating in finance and has already secured his internship for the summer of 2020 through off-campus recruitment this semester. Sauer said he spent months reviewing technical accounting questions, problem sets and interview questions, skills he has not been exposed to yet through his academic classes in the Business School.
“I started preparing for my interviews right after Christmas because the interview process does have a very large technical portion to it,” Sauer said. “So you have to learn a whole bunch of accounting and finance concepts that they’ll ask you about very in depth in the interview that you haven’t learned yet in class.”
Sauer wass excited to receive his job offer, but he said the process to get it wasn’t without its difficulties.
“It was definitely really overwhelming at first,” Sauer said. “I was kind of mad that (the banks) moved it up on us because that’s six fewer months to prepare for the interviews and get those technical questions down than you would normally have. In the end I kind of liked it because I already have my offer so I know where I’m working in 15 months. So there are pros and cons but it was definitely very overwhelming and not fun at first.”
Business sophomore Anthony Coffie II is also in the midst of recruitment while balancing two jobs, 15 credits, participation in the Michigan Interactive Investments club and exploring other extracurricular hobbies.
“Tomorrow I’ll be in New York City for an interview,” Coffie said. “And I have assignments due tomorrow … I recognize that it is valuable to learn how to overcome these struggles … I’m trying to keep that in mind.”
Coffie said his investment club, Michigan Interactive Investments, significantly prepared him for his recruitment.
“It would be a much more difficult process for me had I not been accepted into a club called Michigan Interactive Investments, MII,” Coffie said. “That club has been very finance-focused, very markets-focused. These are things that, if a student hasn’t been exposed to it prior to college or prior to being in a basic finance course, it would be hard for them to really understand what’s going on and how to apply that to real life situations.”
Business senior Scarlett Ong, president of Impact Investing Group, discussed how student organizations can alleviate stress by offering members a comfortable space to explore their budding career interests.
Ong said the culture fostered within a club can be influential in reducing stress brought about from the accelerated recruitment process.
“With regards to this whole accelerated (recruitment) process, clubs definitely help students navigate that area,” Ong said. “I think it really depends on the culture that the club is creating and how they are approaching the situation to support students rather than adding more anxiety to the whole accelerated process.”
Sauer came to accept the stress of recruitment as part of his daily life — he said the time commitment and demands of networking eventually became routine.
“I was taking 18 credits first semester so it (recruitment) was a full workload,” Sauer said. “People say doing that technical prep is a full-time job on top of it because every single moment of free time you have it’s lingering in the back of your mind, ‘I should be doing prep for recruiting right now, I shouldn’t be hanging out with my friends.’”
Coffie also mentioned how recruiting often feels as if it stops students from having a more traditional college experience. .
“I don’t get to spend that much time hanging out, like I feel a young college kid is supposed to be doing, because I am looking forward to my career,” Coffie said. “But the sacrifice is an investment that we have to make … Students are spending so much time recruiting and doing this recruiting prep that they are not studying as much, not enjoying life and the college experience as much”
Julie Kaplan, embedded Counseling and Psychological Services counselor in the Business School, said students who are unsure of their career path typically experience more stress throughout this process.
“The students that I talk to who are recruiting for investment banking and finance, or who aren’t sure what they want to do, I think those students might be even more stressed out,” Kaplan said. “The students who aren’t sure and were hoping to have this summer to figure it out, but now feel like they have to make a decision, or maybe they should recruit just in case they decide they want to do it — I think that’s been really hard.”
In a December press release, JPMorgan Chase announced they terminated the early recruitment process after considering it may detract from a business student’s ability to maintain a holistic college experience.
“… JPMorgan Chase has been recruiting, interviewing and extending early offers to sophomores for roles they would not fill until the following summer,” the press release read. “This high-pressure environment distracts students from learning and does not allow them enough time to focus on what’s most important: simply put, being a college student … going forward, we will no longer be extending early offers for summer interns.”
Coffie does not believe the burden of added stress from early recruitment is the most dangerous aspect of the process. To him, accelerated recruitment potentially harms young, impressionable undergraduates eager to figure out their career by pushing them into business fields prematurely.
“A lot of people are pursuing things and they don’t quite know why they are doing it, but they want to have that label, that reputation and that respect,” Coffie said. “Being so young, people don’t realize that the name isn’t everything … I think people unfortunately are prematurely thrown into this without having spent the time to reflect on themselves and really establish themselves in college yet.”