In a Difficult Employment Year, All Continuing Financial Engineering Students Have Summer Internships
Financial services has not been the most promising sector to seek employment in 2008. Sector layoffs, which totaled 153,000 last year, are expected to be even higher this year. Nonetheless, all of the continuing ORIE Master of Engineering students in the financial engineering concentration have internships and are gaining valuable experience at financial firms this summer.
|CFEM Director Victoria Averbukh at the New York Stock Exchange, one block from the CFEM offices.|
According to Professor Victoria Averbukh, head of Cornell Financial Engineering Manhattan (CFEM), the placement success "clearly attests to the academic strength and recognition Cornell's Financial Engineering enjoys among Wall Street firms." She applauds "our students' ability to adjust to fast changing markets and demonstrate skills needed to successfully interview for a wide range of financial roles, from the positions at highly quantitative hedge funds, to the more qualitative ones in sales and trading," as well as operations. CFEM staff worked through the spring semester to help students in their internship searches. They created several new opportunities, kept students informed of specific skills needed for various positions, and worked very closely with a large number of recruiters.
Seven students are working at Citigroup and five at JP Morgan, including one in Asia. Other firms where students are working this summer include American Express, Bank of America, Barclays Capital, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Dresdner Kleinwort, JP Morgan, Lehman Brothers, MSCI Barra, Susquehanna International Group, and UBS, as well as several less well-known firms. Most of the interns are employed in the New York metropolitan area, but some are in Europe and Asia. Two of the interns are in the Cornell Office of University Investments, in Ithaca, which functions as a 'fund of funds' and is in the process of building a world-class investment organization.
While some financial engineering students in the past have elected to do the program in three semesters and were therefore in a position to seek summer internships, only recently was the program formally expanded to three semesters. Beginning this fall, the third semester will be held at CFEM's facility at 55 Broad Street, in the Wall Street district. Course work and the capstone project activity will be carried out in proximity to the locus of much of the financial engineering activity in the industry today.
Although the three semester program provides room for a summer internship and CFEM provides assistance in obtaining one, Averbukh emphasized that the program cannot guarantee placement and that much relies on the communication skills, flexibility, and diligence of the students. Moreover, "students need to seek help and advice while searching," both from CFEM in Manhattan and from Engineering Career Services in Ithaca. "With many more job seekers than positions, firms are inclined to ignore resumes that are not perfect and to pass up students who do not have excellent interview skills," according to Averbukh.