Improving Working Conditions for Internship Programs: Personal Reflection

Since the day I decided to enroll and pursue finance and banking, I have lived to align my studies to a future path in finance management. Besides learning that finance management serves a supportive function to all sectors of the economy, my participation in corporate conferences and visits has inspired me to focus in acquiring in-depth knowledge and practical skills. Specifically, the interactive platform ensuing from such events has created a necessity for me to develop theoretical insights from my lectures and progress to acquire skills through internship programs. Bearing in mind that college education never guarantees enough exposure to the field activities, I perceive an internship platform yields a better platform to develop financial literacy and engage in high-profile interactions. Although the internship programs offer a mind-opening sessions that yield impressive field experience, they have become subject of painful long working days, unforgiving superiors and menial labor.

Primarily, though financial service-organizations broadly treat their interns fairly, most investment institutions expect interns and new recruits to work for long hours. For instance, following the unfortunate death of Moritz Erhardt – an exchange student placed under an internship at Bank of America Merrill Lynch – it highlights how some banks overlook morality and legality of young workers (Margolin, 2013). While we witness an increased attention accorded by regulators and labor lobby groups for such banking institutions to rethink their working conditions, it generates an immediate urge that paints and condemns the entire industry exceptionally cruel. Citing the widespread unpaid internships in the financial industry, it presents the sector as the hardest job market. This has mandated putting the legality of unpaid internships into scrutiny, translating to increasing demand for pay from interns for their services. As a result, advocacy initiatives such as the Fair Pay Campaigns, target to push investment-banking organizations in addressing issues plaguing their interns (Margolin, 2013).

It has come to my attention that, though working in the departments of a financial institution yields more prestige and possibly attracts higher salaries, the general expectations of the profession wrongly direct interns into a grueling working culture. Every now and then, the controversy surrounding interns and fresh bankers demanding a change in working hours has triggered increased pressure to impose global guidelines to protect interns and junior bankers against possible exploitation. While polls conducted following the aforementioned event suggest banks are improving their workplace environment, I remain skeptical of whether the slow pace assumed by banks will accomplish the anticipated improvements. I share a similar concern with Solomon the global co-head at Goldman Sachs that striking the right balance at the workplace should seek to improve working hours to attain productive work without violating the rights of their interns (Schäfer & Jacobs, 2014).

I firmly consider that reforming the workplace conditions in financial industry requires changing the mentality, that working for long hours is a rite of passage for interns. Although some institutions would disagree by emphasizing that rewarding large bonuses comes with personal dedication in one’s responsibilities, it leaves young bankers working hard to impress. I strongly believe working for long hours is a borrowed culture upon which interns and young bankers never realize that monetary and nonmonetary rewards never makes up for the control they lack and exhaustion in their lives.


  • Margolin, E. (2013, August 27). Intern’s Death Fuels Controversy Over Working Conditions . Retrieved February 17, 2014, from
  • Schäfer, D., & Jacobs, E. (2014, January 17). Deutsche and Citi Join Push to Ease Burden on Interns. Retrieved February 17, 2014, from
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