For undergraduates around the world, internships during the penultimate year are becoming increasingly popular and critical in securing employment prior to graduation. They are an excellent way to gain valuable work experience and often lead to a potential full-time offer, especially if the student has performed well during the internship. It is important to understand what distinguishes these penultimate year internships from those at other points during a student’s undergraduate years.
They are highly competitive. Many students look to their penultimate year summer as the last opportunity to get meaningful work experience in their desired field. As many of these penultimate year internship programmes are run by well-known multinational organisations, competition is stiff as students generally recognize them as a popular choice of employer. It is recommended that you prepare early and diligently for the long and arduous application process in order to increase your chances of success.
Companies use them to find fresh talent. A growing number of organisations, especially in the finance, consulting and IT sectors, use penultimate year internships as hiring platforms to secure good quality junior talent for their workforce. In other words, interns who perform well tend to receive offers to return to the organisation as full-time employees upon graduation or to join the organisation’s graduate training programme (which could potentially lead to a full-time role). In many cases, a penultimate year internship may be the only way to begin your career at the organisation as a fresh graduate. If you are keen to work in a specific organisation, do your homework on their internship programme, hiring process and approach. Your hard work will definitely pay off, especially if you can spend your final year at College secure in the knowledge that you have a job waiting for you after graduation.
The application process starts and ends earlier. For finance and consulting penultimate year internships, the application process could begin as early as August of the previous year. Timelines will vary from one organisation to another. It is imperative to stay on top of relevant timelines and deadlines so that you can better plan and prepare for your applications and interviews.
The application process is intense and streamlined. The penultimate year internship selection is likely to be much less personalized than what you are used to. You will often have to submit your application documents via the organisation’s online application platform (which happens to also collect hundreds and thousands of other applications too). If you are shortlisted, you will be invited for an interview (individual/group) or an assessment centre with many other potential candidates on the same day. Prepare your application documents carefully to ensure that they clearly demonstrate your fit and desire for the position and think of ways that you can make your candidacy stand out.
The stakes are higher. If you have clinched a penultimate year internship – congratulations! Do keep in mind, however, that the most challenging part of your journey is still up ahead! While many organisations do provide training for new interns, you are also expected to be familiar with certain concepts, able to apply certain skills, and perform at a level of consistency (since you have three years of rigorous undergraduate study on your back). The relatively brief length of these penultimate year internships (8-12 weeks) also means that you should be prepared to learn and adapt quickly. Start by talking to senior students who have completed their penultimate year internships – this is an excellent way to prepare ahead by finding out what will be expected of you and how you can make a good impression with your work.
Penultimate Year Internship Info Session
What should third-year students expect as they enter the competitive world of securing a penultimate year internship? How can CIPE help reach your career goals?
Materials from this info session is now available for download here: Internship Info Session Slides.
Structured internships are available for penultimate year students at the following organisations, together with application deadlines indicated in brackets. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list:
Aberdeen Asset Management (Semester 1)
Aviva (Semester 1)
Bain & Company
Bank of America Merrill Lynch (Semester 1)
Barclays (Semester 1)
BNP Paribas (Semester 1)
BP (Semester 1)
Changi Airport Group (Semester 2)
Citi (Semester 1)
Credit Suisse (Semester 1)
DBS (Semester 2)
Deutsche Bank (Semester 1)
Economic Development Board (Semester 1)
Goldman Sachs (Semester 1)
GIC (Semester 1)
HSBC (Semester 1)
J.P. Morgan (Semester 1)
Jurong Town Corporation (Semester 1)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Semester 1)
Morgan Stanley (Semester 1)
Nomura (Semester 1)
Point72 (Semester 1)
Procter & Gamble (Semester 1)
PriceWaterhouseCoopers (Semester 1)
S&P Global (Semester 1)
Shell (Semester 1)
UBS (Semester 1)
UOB (Semester 1)
Unilever (Semester 1)
Wellington Asset Management (Semester 1)