Finding an Internship in the Finance Sector in the Current Climate

As the whole world changes daily due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, it’s important for finance students to understand the impact of the current climate on the opportunities in finance industry.

How can you look for ways to find internships in the finance industry in the current climate? Let’s look at tangible steps you can take in this period to help with your search.

  1. Identify what you are looking for as a job opportunity is still the starting point. As everything slows down and with more time for reflection, this is a great time to reflect on your career aspirations and the opportunities that could take you towards your career aspirations.
  2. Your mindset is key in terms of helping us go through this period in a strong and focused way. Keep a positive mindset and focus on finding the opportunities that this global pandemic is bringing.
  3. Let’s look at the strategies that will help us:

Break the finance industry into its components and understand the impact on different players

The finance industry is composed of many different players that can bring career opportunities. They will not be affected in the same way. So, it is important to list and outline these while evaluating the impact of current environment on them. Banks, hedge funds, fintech companies, corporates with finance opportunities will not all be affected n the same way. For example, banks might go through this in a stronger way while fintech companies might be affected adversely.¹ For corporates with opportunities in their finance departments we need to look deeper into how each industry is affected.

How is the UK job market currently affected?

LinkedIn mentions that speaking with recruiters (although there is slow down in recruitment process) is continuing as it is. Interviews are mostly conducted virtually or through teleconferencing software.² Internships might have slowed down or closed in some companies, but could open up in others. So it is important to keep your motivation up and focus on which organisations or areas are positively affected from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Follow market news and information with a focus on identifying opportunities

Despite many industries that are adversely affected, there are segments that are favourably affected, so it is important to follow the market news to identify upcoming opportunities and trends.

It is important to understand how your target companies are responding to the developments and what they would need. So, follow the news in relation to these organisations. If they focus on certain industries due to their portfolios or lines of business, it is important to follow what underlying industries are doing.

Also follow the news in relation to spotting which opportunities are emerging. For example, supermarkets faced a massive increase in demand and some of them are employing quite significantly right now, would there be opportunities in finance divisions?³ The healthcare industry is expected to go through a massive change and advancement after this outbreak is over, so could this bring any opportunities in relation to healthcare finance?ª BBC reports significant increase in sales from bicycles and exercise gear and John Lewis mentions they received a “significant uplift” from sales of such equipment.º Digital platforms like Zoom and Slack have new opened positions in line with recent changes† and many more favourable changes to come as we progress through different stages of the coronavirus impact.

It is important to understand how such developments would affect the potential opportunities in relation to finance both within the companies and also the impact on the financial institutions.

While looking at your target companies, could there be any ones that would benefit from your skill set while managing the changes and expansion happening?

Also if your target companies are being affected adversely, could you think of ways to help go through this period in a more favourable way?

Digitisation is emerging as a major trend

As all companies are digitising more to be able to keep up, this is a great time to bring your digital skills to companies. Your target companies (especially medium sized ones) might have particular challenges of digitisation. So think about how you can help companies use digitisation more effectively and elaborate on this in your application.

Ask for help

The Henley Careers & Professional Development team is here to help you. If you feel anxious about your job search, don’t know where to start or have questions about any stage of your search, please book a session with your Careers Consultant throughout this time on My Jobs Online. Make this part of your job search strategy as it would help you to be more focused throughout this period.

Make an action plan

Making an action plan for your search for internships will convert the thought process into action. Some recommended actions to take are as follows:

  1. Identify target companies and check how they want to be approached in terms of career opportunities.
  2. Think about how market developments are affecting each of your target companies. Follow them on LinkedIn and through the news to see how they are responding.
  3. Think about your strengths, skills and expertise that are relevant to the trends that are emerging and reflect on how you can bring them to help your target companies in this period.
  4. Make speculative applications outlining the value you can bring to these companies in this environment.
  5. Make it a daily activity to follow market news and trends. It is important to make sure to follow credible sources so that you get right information.
  6. Become part of groups virtually to be part of discussions on potential opportunities. LinkedIn has many groups that can help you follow industry developments.
  7. Focus on developing your digital skills even further as it is going to be more and more demanded by companies.
  8. Get more competent in online/phone interviewing skills. As I mentioned, we can expect online interviewing to be used by increasing companies now including middle sized companies. So it is a good time to make more online or skype interview practices and the careers team is here to help you practice more interviews so that you get stronger at it.

Good luck, and remember we are here for you if you need us.

Written by Ebru Altinors, Sessional Careers Consultant, Henley Business School

March 2020


(*) Please refer to numbers within the text to see where relevant references used.