There’s no shortage of aspiring Goldman bankers as record 236,000 students apply for internships

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David Solomon, CEO, Goldman Sachs, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 23, 2020.
Adam Galacia | CNBC

Last year, a slide deck made by Goldman Sachs junior bankers detailing harsh working conditions made waves across the industry, fueling speculation that the industry had lost its appeal for younger workers.

But that hasn’t exactly transpired, if data from Goldman is any indication. The bank said that 236,000 individuals applied for internships globally at the bank, including 79,000 in the Americas, according to data provided to CNBC.

Instead of dissuading applicants, last year’s Wall Street boom — which led to overworked bankers, as well as widespread raises and bigger bonuses — seems to have drawn more interest to the top-ranked investment bank. The number of college applicants jumped about 16% from 2021, reaching a record level, according to a person with knowledge of Goldman’s figures.

The internships are a rite of passage on Wall Street and an essential pipeline of talent for investment banks and the broader financial universe. Students who can endure the rigorous internships and get picked up for two-year analyst programs after graduation will often have their choice of jobs, or “exit opportunities,” from private equity or venture capital firms to hedge funds and fintech start-ups.

But Goldman can only hire so many interns, who are typically high-performing students in between their third and fourth years of college. The internship acceptance rate is just 1.5%, according to the person. Interns who are offered jobs after graduation become first-year analysts. About 202,000 applicants applied for analyst jobs, up 27% from the prior year.

In the U.S., internships start June 6 and will be fully in-person, similar to last year. The firm places students across its various operations, from investment banking to trading, asset management, research, strategy and consumer and wealth management. Goldman CEO David Solomon has been among the biggest advocates for a return to office life, and executives often cite the need for junior workers to learn from those around them as a reason.

“Bringing our people together is core to our apprenticeship culture and client-centric business, especially as an employer of choice for young people in the beginning stage of their career,” Vicki Tung, Goldman’s global head of talent acquisition, said in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming our newest cohort for an in-person experience this summer.”

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