Magazine article American Banker

Comment: Interns Can Bring You More Than Just Your Coffee

Magazine article American Banker

Comment: Interns Can Bring You More Than Just Your Coffee

Article excerpt

The extremely difficult time that business school graduates are having finding useful employment may be a blessing in disguise for community banks that are willing to develop internship programs.

After months of fruitless searching for jobs in investment banking, financial research, and consulting, many new MBAs are desperate to put their skills to work. Expectations of six-figure salaries have been replaced by the hope of receiving an entry-level offer. In many cases these graduates will work for even less and do so on a temporary basis without benefits if they feel it will improve their resume and make it easier for them to get a better job when the economy improves.

So here is an opportunity for community banks to bring on board on a temporary basis trained talent that in the past would have been way out of their reach.

But what should these interns be expected to do?

I have seen banks put well-educated interns to work on grunt tasks like microfilming checks. If a bank is to gain from the education these people have, it should develop a program that can be useful both to the bank and to the interns.

One approach is to bring in one or several interns and tell them to look around and make whatever suggestions they care to. If the full-time staff knows that these are temporary people who are not a threat to their own jobs, they should be willing to discuss what they do.

The hope is that, using their educational background and their conversations with the bank's staff, the interns will be able to provide useful suggestions for improvements in its operations. Who knows what procedures and approaches they may develop?

Another approach would be to take some issues that the bank has always wanted to explore but has not because it did not have the talent to do internally and was not willing to pay a fee to consultants. …

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