Company paying interns $30k a month

Company paying interns $30k a month

A leading financial services company is offering 20-year-old university students up to $30,000 a month to work as interns, in a bid to win top-tier talent.

Earlier this year, executives at billionaire Ken Griffin’s hedge fund and market-maker, Citadel and Citadel Securities, hand-picked a select few high-achievers out of a pool of 69,000 applicants.

The highly skilled interns, who are typically in their second-last year of university or college, flew business class from as far away as California to stay at the five-star Fullerton Ocean Park Hotel in Hong Kong.

During a week of intensive training, they stayed at the ritzy hotel, dined at exclusive restaurants and received a first-class induction into the lucrative world of trading and market-making.

It’s all part of a broader 11-week program and, since Citadel wants the best talent, it’s happy to pay up. According to Bloomberg, the interns are each earning about A$190 an hour, or $30,000 a month.

“There’s only a finite pool of truly exceptional students,” said Kristina Martinez, Citadel’s managing director in charge of human resources in Asia-Pacific.

“Because of the complexity of what we do and the fact that companies that intersect with us will be looking at the same people, we need to get in early.

“Usually very early on in the internship you can identify the stars, the truly exceptional ones and this is when we tell the managers to go learn everything about who they are as individuals.”

Surprisingly, the firm says it doesn’t usually look for finance grads — it wants maths geeks. Almost without exception, the interns come from the most prestigious universities in their regions, but they also need real-world experience to back up their studies.

“The person who’s just kind of awesome at academics, but has not done something above and beyond and not really demonstrated excitement around something, that’s probably not the candidate who’s going to thrive,” Ms Martinez explained.

While the pay packet is impressive, Citadel’s training is also rigorous. The interns play the roles of hedge fund traders, negotiating with counterparts, writing code and devising strategies. They’re each assigned a larger project that allows them to work with Citadel’s full-time staff.

Even the interns’ relationships with one another are watched and scrutinised to help the firms understand their social skills. At meal times, their interactions with company executives are watched to gauge their networking abilities.

A select few of the interns will receive an offer for a full-time job. Others may rejoin Citadel part-time while they finish their degrees.

“It was so different, none of my previous internships offered an off-site like this,” said Taylor, one Citadel intern who spoke with Bloomberg.

“The projects that they asked us to work on were put to use in real applications, super challenging and exciting.”

Five-star hotels, business-class flights and staggering pay packets have become standard for top-tier finance interns, according to Tony Ernest, managing partner in Singapore for hedge fund talent consultancy Monroe Partners Asia.

“Gone are the days when interns did dog work,” he said.

“Never did hedge funds go to campus 10 years ago. Now they are soaking up the top one per cent of graduates.”

According to Efinancialcareers, Citadel’s internships aren’t even the most lucrative in finance. The firms are beat out by Hudson River Trading and Jane Street, which pay their interns $22,817 and $20,835 per month respectively.

They are, however, the highest-paying finance internships in terms of the total package. As well as their paychecks, Citadel and Citadel Securities interns also get $30,000 signing bonuses and access to premium corporate housing close to their offices.

Get in touch — chloe.whelan@news.com.au