Spring is almost upon us, and though there are plenty of important tax issues for us to be thinking about, I would much rather talk about another major part of the season for us at my firm — recruiting! There are more and more financial planning degree programs turning out bright, capable students with a passion for financial planning; it’s our goal to attract the best talent not just for full-time hires, but also for our long-standing internship program. I have been on both sides of this process, so I hope to offer a few insights that will help students and graduates find the right opportunities.
Start thinking about how to differentiate yourself from your peers now. It’s not enough to go to school and get decent grades. We look for well-rounded individuals with a breadth of life and work experiences. Find opportunities to develop leadership and interpersonal skills. Get involved as a leader in campus organizations, attend networking events, go to industry conferences and highlight meaningful work experiences. When you consider internship opportunities, evaluate what your primary job responsibilities will be.
Are you being given the opportunity in your internship to experience life as an associate advisor? We call our interns “summer associates” because the primary objective of the internship program is to afford individuals the opportunity to step into the shoes of our associate advisors: preparing for client meetings, sitting in those meetings, helping implement recommendations and completing follow-up activities.
Our summer associates also have some financial planning or investment-related projects to complete during the summer, but we make it clear from the start that those projects are secondary and should be worked on during down time. We also include our summer associates in committee meetings and hope to give them a window into the business of financial planning, too.