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Work for Free [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2009, 14:23
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So I've been thinking about this a little bit: Do students ever offer to intern for FREE just to get in the door? I'm interested in going into an industry (asset management) that, outside of a few big players (Fidelity, T.Rowe, Putnam) is largely fragmented. I'm trying to hypothesize a viable backup plan if I can't land a job at one of the big shops (because the economy sucks, because I blow my stock pitch, etc, etc) In my mind, I figure that a smaller company (let’s say they have anywhere from 15-50 employees) would have virtually no risk from taking on a summer intern. I get the experience I need and boost up the resume for recruiting full-time in the following Fall. They get some free research, ideas, and grunt work – all with minimal headaches. Sure, I’d want them to spend a little time with me and have them teach me things and get some insight into what they are doing and why (causing them to spend a little bit less time on their actual work)…but hey, everybody likes to pump up their ego a bit by showing some newbie what an expert they are. I think this would be a great option for those pursuing other high finance areas as well, such as PE and VC.

Am I crazy to think that this type of opportunity is possible?

I'm interested to get the perspective from 1Y and 2Y students as well as those that work for companies that hire MBA interns. My guess is that this is more doable with a smaller company (looser HR guidelines, less decision making bodies needed, etc.).
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Re: Work for Free [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2009, 14:29
there is no shortage of the high demand firms that take free interns. Media, HF, Luxury, PE - a whole host. Hell, I know someone who did an unpaid internship at Citi.
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Re: Work for Free [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2009, 14:52
If you compare internship employment statistics at schools, especially ones that provide weekly salary ranges, you will see there are a lot of industries that pay interns $0 (or say <$500) a week. :)

Here's NYU Stern's Class of 2009 internship employment report, for instance:

http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/ocd/recruiters/placement.cfm?doc_id=100721
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Re: Work for Free [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2009, 15:19
ryguy904 wrote:
So I've been thinking about this a little bit: Do students ever offer to intern for FREE just to get in the door? I'm interested in going into an industry (asset management) that, outside of a few big players (Fidelity, T.Rowe, Putnam) is largely fragmented. I'm trying to hypothesize a viable backup plan if I can't land a job at one of the big shops (because the economy sucks, because I blow my stock pitch, etc, etc) In my mind, I figure that a smaller company (let’s say they have anywhere from 15-50 employees) would have virtually no risk from taking on a summer intern. I get the experience I need and boost up the resume for recruiting full-time in the following Fall. They get some free research, ideas, and grunt work – all with minimal headaches. Sure, I’d want them to spend a little time with me and have them teach me things and get some insight into what they are doing and why (causing them to spend a little bit less time on their actual work)…but hey, everybody likes to pump up their ego a bit by showing some newbie what an expert they are. I think this would be a great option for those pursuing other high finance areas as well, such as PE and VC.

Am I crazy to think that this type of opportunity is possible?

I'm interested to get the perspective from 1Y and 2Y students as well as those that work for companies that hire MBA interns. My guess is that this is more doable with a smaller company (looser HR guidelines, less decision making bodies needed, etc.).


This is very common for people trying to make a career switch to the buyside. It is especially common for PE/VC firms (if not working for free, then working for significantly under market wages). They are generally smaller or start-up type firms that lack the funding to hire paid interns.

This is fairly common at UCLA, UChicago, NYU, Columbia, and other schools located in big Metro areas -- people do the internships part-time for 10-20 hours/week during the school year.
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Re: Work for Free [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2009, 17:08
Its pretty common for people to do it to get their foot in the door in certain industries. Its tough if you have to move cities and pay for two places to live and all that. Some also hope to get end of summer performance bonuses or at least some form of compensation. I know a few people looking to do this and I think its tough to stomach making 0 if you friend is making 8k a month. If you look at it as a long term investment its not that bad but the compensation at some of those smaller companies is not nearly as lucrative as you would imagine at least for the first few years.
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Re: Work for Free [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2009, 20:28
A friend who graduated from Chicago business school back in 2003 during the tech bubble burst said many of his classmates interned for free just to get the experience in the industry they want to transition. They'd rather give up a paid internship in another area which they have no career interest for fear of being "piedgeon holed" by recruiters the following year. These were not part time school year internships, they were unpaid summer internships.
Re: Work for Free   [#permalink] 06 Mar 2009, 20:28
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