Across Wall Street, HR personnel are preparing to face off against a second summer of virtual internships.
Summer internships, which serve a crucial role for recruiting on Wall Street, were thrown into turmoil in 2020 with firms closing their offices in global financial centers like New York and London.
At the time, some firms shortened their summer internship programs but kept interns' compensation commensurate with what they would have normally expected. Others extended full-time job offers to rising seniors before their internships began to assuage interns' anxieties about what the future might hold.
This year, the coronavirus pandemic has refused to wane. And even with the promise of widespread vaccination campaigns, some financial firms aren't certain if conditions will allow for in-person internships by June or July.
We've compiled the latest thinking at multiple banks and hedge funds, and will continue to update this list with our latest reporting on Wall Street's 2021 summer internship plans.
Here's how firms across Wall Street are planning to run summer internship programs.
Bank of America
Status: Virtual, with the potential for in-office work later if safety conditions permit
Bank of America has told its 2021 summer interns that they'll be working virtually.
Insider reported that America's second-largest bank by assets told its summer 2021 internship class, which is composed of more than 1,800 interns globally, that they will conduct internships online this summer. The bank also mentioned the possibility for some in-person experiences at a later time, depending on safety conditions.
Bank of America made the announcement in an email viewed by Insider that was sent on March 18 by its campus recruiting team. Its 10-week internship program will run this year from June 7, when interns will begin setting up their technology arrangements, to a conclusion on August 13.
Citigroup told incoming interns across its business lines globally to prepare for their 10-week summer internships to be virtual this year, according to a memo sent on March 22 that was viewed by Insider.
A spokesperson for Citigroup confirmed the memo to Insider and said that the firm's summer internships based in North America will begin on June 7. Interns in other regions will begin their programs on June 21.
Status: Starting virtually with the potential for in-office work no earlier than July 19
Credit Suisse told incoming US interns across all divisions that it would begin its 2021 summer internship program fully virtually, according to an internal memo viewed by Insider sent on March 15 by Laura Colby, the firm's head of campus recruitment in the Americas.
In the note, the Swiss bank said it was hopeful that a portion of the program could be done in the workplace, pending safety precautions at the time. It also noted that any in-office work would be a voluntary decision on the part of the interns themselves.
If they do decide to come in, in-person work would begin no earlier than July 19, the memo also stated.
Status: Starting virtual with the potential for in-office experiences, if conditions permit
Evercore told incoming summer interns their program will start virtually, according to a memo dated March 25 and viewed by Insider. The program will run from June 1 to August 6, with an extended training portion of it taking place from June 1 to June 10, according to the memo.
The choice to start interns virtually comes despite Evercore co-CEO Ralph Schlosstein's previous comments about wanting employees back in the office.
"It is very much our goal to be back in the office together — hopefully to even have some of our trainees this summer at least be partly in the office," Schlosstein told Bloomberg on March 16.
Evercore did leave the door open for some optional in-person experience, if safety conditions permitted it.
Incoming interns are not required to more or be based near the bank's office locations. But should summer analysts choose to come into the workplace, if that option is permitted, Evercore said that it will cover the costs of the interns' travel and accommodations.
Status: Planning to host in-office internships
Goldman Sachs is officially holding its summer internship program in the office, per a memo sent to all of its incoming interns by the campus recruiting team which was viewed by Insider.
The program is expected to kick off with a one-week virtual training program for all interns.
"Ours is a collaborative, innovative and apprenticeship-based culture — there are many ways to experience that but we found that the most enriching way to do that is in-person together," the memo said, which was also posted to Goldman's website on March 29.
Jefferies Financial Group
Status: Virtual with a chance for some "in-person programming"
Jefferies told incoming summer interns in the US that their program will be virtual, according to a memo sent March 23 that was viewed by Insider. The 10-week internship begins June 1 and will end August 6.
The boutique bank did leave the door open to some in-person activities. The note, sent by the firm's campus recruiting team, mentioned the possibility of some "in-person programming," if safety conditions permitted. Anything done in person, however, would be optional and depend on factors related to the coronavirus, the note added.
Jefferies leadership, including CEO Rich Handler and President Brian Friedman, have remained consistent in encouraging employees to prioritize safety and not to return to the office prematurely.
Status: Planning to host in-office internships in New York and London
America's largest bank by assets may also be its most bullish about bringing interns physically into the office this summer.
JPMorgan is planning to enable interns in sales and trading and investment-banking roles to come into the firm's offices in New York City and London this summer, a source familiar with the bank's plans told Insider. The cohort amounts to several hundred people who will start their internship programs in June.
The source said that the bank would likely extend flexibility to interns who may feel uncomfortable about working out of the office. While the firm is not presently requiring proof of having been vaccinated, it has taken steps in its offices to enable social-distancing protocols and other safety measures, this person said.
A representative for the consumer-banking business declined to comment to Insider about that division's plans.
Previously, JPMorgan boss Jamie Dimon had indicated his preference for in-person work over remote in a virtual Goldman Sachs forum in December. Financial News first reported JPMorgan's plan on March 16.
Status: Starting virtually with the potential for in-office work later
Morgan Stanley is also planning to start internships across the firm virtually this year, but is leaving the door open to some in-office experiences, if safety conditions allow.
Insider reported that Mandell Crawley, the firm's chief human resources officer, told incoming interns in a February 22 note that the bank's 2021 internship program will begin virtually. Internships will include a mix of virtual training, remote work and projects, and ways for the interns to engage with one another, presumably online.
Crawley did note that, depending on how circumstances unfold, he is hopeful that there might be an opportunity for some interns to engage in-person, with opportunities that may fluctuate based on business line and location.
Status: Virtual for corporate and investment-banking interns
Wells Fargo told its corporate and investment-banking summer interns in a memo sent on March 1 that it would pivot those internships to be virtual, Insider reported.
The program will run from June until August. Interns in those divisions will not be required to relocate to the cities where their internships would have been based, the bank said.
It did however note that it would consider reevaluating its decision to go virtual at a later time, presumably referencing safety conditions related to the coronavirus pandemic by late summer.
"Our top priority remains the health and safety of our employees, students, customers, and the community," a spokesperson for Wells Fargo told Insider in an emailed statement in early March, explaining the rationale underpinning the firm's decision.
Citadel, DE Shaw, Millennium, and Two Sigma
Hedge funds and investment managers across Wall Street are also taking steps to plan for online internships.
Two Sigma has told interns to prepare for a completely virtual internship experience this summer, a source told Insider. However, the firm is said to be considering some in-person options if conditions improve in time.
Man Group, the world's largest publicly-traded hedge fund manager, is also "hopeful that we will be hosting this year's cohort in the office," a spokesperson for that firm told Insider.
Other firms like DE Shaw and Millennium are expecting the largest intern classes in their histories. And Citadel, the $35 billion manager run by Ken Griffin, has special plans of its own.
Last year, Griffin's fund created its own pandemic bubble by setting up shop for interns at luxe resorts. This year, a source familiar with the firm's thinking is once again planning for another in-person experience, though the details are not presently known.
Are you a student planning to intern at a financial services firm this summer? Contact this reporter with your story. Reed Alexander can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via the encrypted app Signal at (561) 247-5758.
Bradley Saacks contributed to this reporting.