The “Know Your Audience” series on the HBS Recruiting Blog highlights trends in recruiting for various industries. Learn more about student interest, effective recruiting strategies, and best practices from HBS staff dedicated to your industry.

Meet the Team

Jonathan Shepherd – Corporate Relations Director and Career Coach

Katja Frey – Recruiting Relations Manager

Together, Jonathan and Katja make up the Career & Professional Development (CPD) team that manages relationships with Investment Management firms and works closely with students interested in the industry. In addition to over a decade of prior finance experience, they bring a combined 14 years of Career & Professional Development expertise, helping firms develop their HBS recruiting strategy and connect with students.

The Interest Rate at HBS

HBS student interest in Investment Management is high across the industry, from hedge funds and mutual funds to alternative investments and passive investing. While only 4% of the class enters investment management after graduation, we have found this relatively small percentage to be the result of limited job supply rather than low student demand. Investment Management firms that post roles in our recruiting platform receive large numbers of applications from talented candidates, but often only have the headcount for one or two interns or full-time hires.

Given the supply/demand imbalance across investment management, the majority of students that work in the industry after graduation have come to HBS with prior experience. That said, firms that have historically been open to career-switchers have often been incredibly happy with their decision and found career-switchers to be incredible “long-term investments.” The summer internship, in particular, is an excellent opportunity to see how a student with raw talent can develop over 10 weeks.

Investing in a “Wintern”

The investing learning curve is steep, particularly for first year career-switchers who have a short time horizon before internship interviews begin in January. In order to augment what students learn in the classroom, with clubs, and across HBS, Professor Sara Fleiss and CPD have developed a Winternship (winter internship) program designed specifically to prepare first-year career-switchers for investing roles as quickly as possible.

Throughout the fall, the Winternship provides students with an intensive multi-session program that includes instruction on financial modeling, research, and on-campus stock pitch presentations to investment firms. Through a lottery system, a number of the Winternship students also participate in a week-long unpaid research experience with a Boston-based investment firm in January. While student Winternship participants gain advanced investment acumen by working alongside experienced professionals, participating firms also benefit as they get to know and work with HBS students. Katja encourages any interested Investment Management firm to reach out to her directly to learn more about the program and how to get involved.

Managing Your Recruiting Resources

For firms outside of the Boston area, there are several opportunities to engage with students for recruiting and education.

First, Katja recommends that companies consider Industry Education events as an alternative to a traditional recruiting presentation. “Our most well attended Investment Management events are around tactical skills, like how to pitch a stock,” she noted. Presenting on these types of topics builds your brand recognition on campus and creates opportunities to build relationships with interested students.

In addition, Company Conversations are particularly effective for firms looking to hire one or two students as they provide a very targeted approach and ample time for developing 1:1 connections with candidates. Company Conversations can be held in person or virtually. The Women in Investing Summit and the Investment Club Conference are also effective ways to get in front of students and participate in the student conversation around investing.

With regard to timing for Investment Management recruiting, Jonathan stresses that “it’s never too late to find great students.” Some HBS students might find themselves attracted to Investment Management later in the semester after having immersed themselves in investment education opportunities. Given the strong interest from students in the industry, if you are even considering reaching out to students late in the spring semester, we encourage you to do so.

The ROI of a Summer Intern, or a Summer Project

Bringing on a summer intern is a great opportunity for Investment Management firms to extend the interview process and get to know candidates that could be the right match for the firm long-term. To share an internship or full-time role with students, you can post the role in our recruiting platform and share the posting with student clubs including Women in Investing and the Investment Club.

However, a formal internship program is not the only way to work with HBS students over the summer. “We understand that it can be challenging for some firms to take on a summer intern due to space, time, and resource constraints,” said Jonathan. “If a firm feels that they could benefit from additional research capabilities, but don’t have the bandwidth to take on a formal intern, the HBS Summer Fellows program offers a great opportunity that benefits firms and students.”

Through the Summer Fellows program, HBS provides financial resources that allow students to take internships at firms that might not otherwise be able to bring them on. Research-based internships can be remote and largely self-directed whereby a student is given a number of short-term research projects and has weekly check-in calls with the firm to report on findings and recommendations.

Partner with HBS

Jonathan and Katja are here to partner with Investment Management firms to help you foster connections with HBS students and meet your hiring needs. To discuss your recruiting strategy, contact Jonathan and Katja today.