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As tech industry grows, finance accelerates recruitment to secure talent

Some students apply to finance internships a year in advance in effort to secure full-time offers

By
Senior Reporter
Monday, October 2, 2017

Many traditional big-name finance and consulting firms made an appearance at last week’s General, Technical and Professional School Career Fair, but an overwhelming number of students stood in line waiting to speak with representatives from prominent tech firms like Google and Microsoft.

As more students demonstrate interest in tech companies, other industries like finance and consulting are moving up their recruitment timelines to compete in the search for talent, said University career counselor Ron Foreman.

When Foreman started at the University in 2000, companies did not recruit for jobs and internships before winter break. But over the past five years, the recruitment process has shifted, moving from the spring to the fall, he said.

“We are all looking for the top talents,” said John Zhao, an engineer manager for Adobe who attended the fair. “When spring comes, it’s too late.”

Not only do some applications now open in the summer — as early as July 1 at Goldman Sachs, for example — but often rising juniors apply for summer internships that they hope will result in full-time offers for after graduation. “Finance is almost exclusively moving to that model,” said Matt Donato, Brown CareerLAB director.

“For tech, most people start applying around September or October,” said Edan Eingal ’18, a computer science concentrator. After completing a software development internship at Optiver this past summer, Engal will return to the firm after graduation as a full-time employee.

“The landscape is just becoming more competitive for all of these industries, so they’re trying to find the candidates they want, interview them and lock them in as quickly as they can,” Donato said. “Tech is a more recent addition in the past five or six years,” he added.

Competition amongst firms has moved the timeline even earlier, as both tech and finance firms seek students with strong quantitative abilities.

“We look for candidates that are great problem solvers with strong analytic skills,” said Derek Shay ’16, a corporate strategy senior associate at Bank of America who represented the firm at last week’s career fair. But, because tech targets similar students, more traditional finance firms have moved up their deadlines to compete with the appeal of Silicon Valley.

Edwin Farley ’19, concentrating in applied mathematics and computer science, said he is interested in both finance and tech fields for a summer internship. Given the earlier deadlines of the former, he applied to a handful of banks over the summer, completing many of his first round interviews in finance in August, before school even started. He plans to apply to tech firms in the coming weeks.

While tech recruiting is just now ramping up, some finance applications have already closed.

“A lot of applications are starting to hit their deadlines,” said Matt Sicat ’19, a computer science concentrator who attended the fair and has already applied to various tech internships. He lamented that he missed the Bank of America application two weeks ago.

“The main thing that I’m interested in is really quantitative stuff,” Farley said. “The finance timeline is much earlier, with applications opening up in mid-July already for the next summer. … While I don’t necessarily want to be a banker, it would be hard to turn down an offer. It’s nice to get it early, and then you don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the year,” he said.

Many students appreciate knowing whether or not they’ve been hired early on. “It works out better for the company and the student,” Sicat said.

But looking for what could ultimately lead to full time employment after having completed just two years of college is “kind of scary,” he added.

“Compared to when I first started, students are more stressed now,” Foreman said. “That’s obvious.”