What does a finance intern do? How can they help a finance team? Which skills will help you perform well and get noticed by managers?

You might be asking yourself these questions because you’re about to start your first finance internship or a student looking to apply for finance internships who wants to know what they’re getting into.

This article addresses the types of finance internships, the typical finance intern duties, the skills needed to do well on the job, and how to select what aligns best with your career aspirations. To better understand how matters look in the real world, I’ll share two stories from my personal experience.

Table of Contents

Key Highlights

  • Variety: Finance internships across various organizations tailor experiences in investment banking, corporate finance, and more.
  • Engagement: Finance interns are involved in data analysis, financial reporting, and strategic project participation beyond simple clerical tasks.
  • Development: Finance internships emphasize skill enhancement in financial modeling, Excel, analysis, and practical sector insights.
  • Flexibility: Options range from intense summer finance internships to extended learning in fall finance internships, offering different preferences.
  • Impact: A finance intern’s responsibilities include contributing to projects and providing valuable industry experience beyond just support.
  • Alignment: Choosing the right finance internship requires aligning personal career goals with the specific learning opportunities each offers.
  • Accessibility: Searching for finance internships near you or exploring online finance internships can customize your experience to fit your needs and career goals.
  • Exploration: Discover the influence of finance internships on your career path by exploring local and online options and understanding their impact on your development.

Types of Finance Internships

Starting an internship in finance is a crucial move in your financial career. Internships offer experiences across various settings—from bustling investment banks to impactful NGOs. Each place offers a unique glimpse into the industry. Keep in mind that a finance intern’s job description typically involves supporting the finance team through various tasks, such as (among others) financial modeling, data analysis, creating Excel spreadsheets, updating financial reports, preparing PowerPoint presentations, and special projects. Such finance intern responsibilities vary and depend on the company’s size and the nature of the business.

Why do you need all this information instead of directly starting to apply for jobs? Identifying the best internships for finance majors, among other undergrad programs, can significantly influence your practical learning experience and career trajectory.

By Organization

Numerous organizations offer finance internships to graduates, including:

  • Investment banks
  • Large corporations
  • Mid-sized corporations
  • Retail Banks
  • Development banks
  • Asset management firms
  • Big 4
  • Consulting companies
  • Insurance companies
  • NGOs

The experience you can expect in these organizations can vary significantly in terms of working hours, salary, work-life balance, opportunities to get hired for a full-time position, etc.

The following table aims to provide a better idea of the conditions you can expect in different organizations. Ensure you tailor your finance intern resume and cover letter for each job posting.

Finance internships’ insights on various company types

So, where do you begin?

Discover finance internships near you and gain hands-on learning experience and career development. Research your career options, carefully evaluate your findings, and put in the effort.

By Duration

Finance internships vary in duration depending on the time of year. The typical internship cycle is in the summer, which allows students to gain working experience during their summer vacation. (What better way to spend the summer than as a finance intern?) Summer finance internships usually last 8 to 10 weeks, while off-cycle ones can extend to 4 to 6 months.

The longer the internship, the more the graduate is expected to contribute and the closer their finance intern duties are to those of a junior full-time employee. Off-cycle internships give students more time to acquire new skills and internalize working processes.

Your finance internship experience and what you do as a finance intern will again vary greatly depending on the type of organization and the time of the year.

Becoming a Finance Intern: Expectations

For a rewarding finance internship, you should primarily focus on meaningful tasks like analysis and project management—limiting basic tasks like photocopying to a small portion of your time.

A quality finance internship should involve engaging in impactful, valuable work. Interns should approach all tasks, simple or complex, with a positive attitude, demonstrating eagerness to contribute and learn. They are generally expected to fulfill 200 to 400 hours of work, reflecting the industry standard for a thorough internship experience over a few months or a semester.

Finance Intern Pay

Regarding pay, finance internships can offer substantial earning potential. While stipends vary, finance interns could earn an average of $69,000 annually.

Accepting an unpaid job offer—like some online finance internships—can be challenging, particularly for students in expensive cities like New York. If you have family support or can secure loans for living expenses, an unpaid internship might be feasible. Despite the lack of a salary, the experience and networking gained from such a position can be invaluable, offering a stepping stone to future opportunities.

What Makes a Finance Internship Program Stand Out?

A quality finance internship program aligns with your skills and career goals and should include the following features:

  • A dedicated coordinator responsible for overseeing interns
  • A transparent company policy and objectives for the internship, outlined in writing
  • A focus on engaging and substantive tasks over routine tasks
  • Networking and learning opportunities through meetings, seminars, company events, and ongoing training
  • Access to feedback from another finance intern to provide insight into the program and its benefits

Typical Finance Intern Duties

The tasks may differ based on the organization chosen for your finance internship, but you can expect to take on diverse finance intern responsibilities during your internship.

So, what does a finance intern do precisely? Here’s a rough breakdown of what to expect on the job.

Excel Work

Excel is your go-to office productivity instrument as a finance intern. Make sure that you’re at least an intermediate user. You may get asked to perform data entry tasks, work with pivot tables, perform lookups, clean data, etc. A solid preparation before your internship will most certainly help.

Financial Modeling

A typical finance intern job description mentions financial modeling, especially at an investment bank, consulting firm, financial advisory firm, or a large corporation. For example, during your financial analyst internship, you’ll likely be asked to work on a financial model (valuation, profitability analysis, due diligence, budgeting). Prior experience with financial modeling can be beneficial and will save you a lot of stress.

PowerPoint Creation

PowerPoint slides are the universal language spoken across all organizations worldwide. In most cases, PowerPoint presentations are the end product of an elaborate thought process—aiming to convince decision-makers of the pros and cons of a suggested course of action. Most finance intern jobs involve a lot of presentation preparation time, so ensure you have what it takes to build impeccable slides.

Finance interns often assist in converting executives’ hand-drawn slide drafts into polished PowerPoint presentations.

Documentation Management

Organizing documents isn’t inspiring work, but someone has to do it. Your colleagues will ask you and other finance interns to help maintain and organize folders with documents in the cloud or on the company’s servers. They might also ask you to print physical copies of presentations for the entire team and other similar tasks. Be ready to tackle these tasks with the other, more engaging assignments you’ll receive.

Competitive Analysis

As a finance intern, you may be asked to prepare a presentation in which you compare competitors and demonstrate your understanding of the industry. Managers will frequently ask you to perform this task to assess your market knowledge. They might also be interested in your unbiased, fresh perspective.  

Report Updates

Teams often have existing Excel and PowerPoint files that need to be updated with new data when they become available. So, a finance intern is frequently assigned these tasks because they tend to be straightforward and don’t require the same proficiency as building a report from scratch. Each time you work with numbers, check if the values in the report look credible.

For example, a typical accounting intern job description might include verifying financial records, reconciling bank statements, and ensuring that financial documents, like income statements and balance sheets, are accurate and complete.

Essential Skills for Success as a Finance Intern

Finance interns often believe they need to overextend themselves to make an impression. Don’t expect to present your colleagues with unseen insights or impress them with your advanced models right from the start. Instead, demonstrate several vital skills that will boost your chances of getting hired for a full-time job. Most importantly, demonstrate your eagerness to learn and commitment to professional growth.

Willingness to Learn

When you’re just getting started as a finance intern, few things are as important as your willingness to learn and listen. Most managers would jump on the opportunity to hire a young professional who demonstrates extra learning effort, determination, and desire to absorb as many skills as possible.  

Accuracy and Numerical Competence

No one expects you to be a global finance modeling expert, but one of your main finance intern duties involves reliably inputting figures into a spreadsheet without errors. Numerical inaccuracies will never be tolerated during your financial analyst internship, and staying diligent and focused is crucial. Implementing ‘checks’ in your work and consistently monitoring them will help you prevent mistakes.

Excel Proficiency

A solid command of Excel by someone coming straight from university is always impressive. Try to learn at least basic and intermediate Excel skills before the start of your finance internship. This will boost your work speed and improve your accuracy in submitting figures.

PowerPoint Proficiency

Similarly, crafting attractive PowerPoint slides from the outset will leave a lasting impression.

Accounting Knowledge

Nothing in finance gets done without understanding the underlying accounting principles. Solid accounting knowledge is one of the most valuable skills for finance interns—even more so during your accounting and finance internships.

Effective Communication

The ability to explain and convey your point is frequently underestimated. Effective communication is often listed as key in a finance intern’s job description, and mastering it can set you apart as a young graduate. Knowing when and how to speak out during your interview will make an impression, showcasing mastery of this vital skill.

To enhance your prospects of securing a finance internship and excelling in it, consider the 365 Financial Analyst program. It covers fundamental to advanced Excel and PowerPoint skills and essential knowledge in accounting, financial modeling, valuation, and more.

Pro Tip: Show Enthusiasm

Demonstrating enthusiasm during your finance internship and the opportunities presented to you is simple and transformative. Your colleagues will highly appreciate this, making them feel comfortable and welcoming towards you. This is true for significant and routine tasks. As learning the ropes demands considerable effort from your team, you can reciprocate by eagerly tackling even the less glamorous tasks with a smile.

Sample Finance Intern Job Description

What exactly does a finance intern do? Review the provided finance intern job description to understand the role and responsibilities better.

Title: Finance Intern

Location: [City, State]

Duration: [Full-Time/Part-Time], [X Months] Internship

Description: We are seeking a driven and analytical finance intern to join our team. This internship allows you to immerse yourself in our company’s financial operations and work alongside industry professionals. You’ll gain hands-on experience in various financial processes, including reporting, analysis, and forecasting, where effective communication is required.

Finance Intern Responsibilities

  • Assist: Prepare and report financial statements.
  • Analyze: Study financial data and trends for strategic planning.
  • Support: Aid the finance team in monthly close processes.
  • Contribute: Help develop annual budgets and project performance.
  • Perform: Manage data entry and financial database integrity.
  • Collaborate: Improve financial models and presentations with the team.
  • Participate: Engage in audits and suggest procedural enhancements.
  • Prepare: Create financial documents and slides for meetings.
  • Engage: Work on projects to advance the company’s financial goals.


  • Enrollment: Currently pursuing a degree in Finance, Economics, Accounting, or a related field at an accredited university
  • Academic Performance: Strong record, with a passion for finance and analytics
  • Microsoft Office Skills: Proficient in Excel and PowerPoint
  • Financial Knowledge: Basic understanding of financial and accounting principles
  • Analytical Skills: Excellent numerical analysis ability
  • Attention to Detail: Keen eye for detail, with effective task prioritization skills
  • Communication: Strong communication and presentation capabilities
  • Learning Attitude: Open to feedback for ongoing improvement
  • Teamwork: Capable of working both independently and collaboratively

What You’ll Learn

  • In-depth knowledge of financial systems and software
  • Real-world experience in financial analysis and modeling
  • Understanding the company’s financial processes and how they contribute to overall business strategy
  • Enhanced teamwork and collaboration abilities in a professional setting

Application Instructions

Submit your finance intern resume, cover letter, and recent transcripts to [Application Email/Portal]. In your finance intern cover letter, describe your interest in the internship and the goals you aim to achieve through this opportunity.

Real-World Insights from Two Finance Internships

Thanks for engaging with the article. I’m grateful for your interest and excited to share two personal stories as a token of my appreciation.

Before we begin, let me introduce myself. I’m Ned, co-founder and CEO of 365.

Our company has helped more than 2.5 million people worldwide acquire career-enhancing skills. We teach all the practical skills needed to excel in your first finance internship.

Before founding 365, my career spanned financial advisory, M&A, and corporate financial analysis.

First Finance Internship

So, what does a finance intern really do? Let me share my personal experience to give you a better idea of the job scope.

Years ago, I secured my first finance internship in the Dealing division of a small retail bank in my home country. Although working as a currency dealer or in retail banking wasn’t my preference, I enthusiastically seized the opportunity for my initial work experience after the bank’s HR department replied to my cold email with an interview invitation.

The interview lasted no longer than 10 minutes, and I was ecstatic when they offered to assign me to the bank’s Dealing division for a two-month, non-paid summer internship.

On my first day, I arrived at the bank’s office in a sharp suit, eager to make an impression. But I quickly realized the Dealing division was unaccustomed (and somewhat resistant) to working with finance interns. Without a desk or computer, I was relegated to observing a currency dealer’s work.

While shadowing can be brief and engaging, it becomes tedious and frustrating when extended throughout the day. Lacking practical assignments, I felt neither instrumental nor did I glean significant knowledge. Each morning, I showed up only to spend hours in idle observation.

But I didn’t quit.

The primary reason I chose not to quit was my urgent need to enhance my finance intern resume with this experience. Upon reflection, I resolved to fully engage and acquire valuable skills to showcase in interviews for future finance internships.

Fundamentally, I decided that mastering the Bloomberg terminal on our floor could be a valuable skill for my future roles. I observed a colleague using it and politely requested to practice during their downtime. I became fascinated by the amount of information this tool gave me access to. So, until my first finance internship concluded, I honed my skills with Bloomberg, which was my focus.

But this isn’t how your internship goes down in most cases.

Now for the silver lining. 😊

Although my experience at the retail bank didn’t meet my expectations, it significantly enhanced my finance intern resume. Once listed, I received multiple finance internship interview invitations.

After performing well in these interviews, I had the privilege of choosing between two offers. I selected the one in Mergers and Acquisitions, which aligned with my post-graduation career goals.

Second Finance Internship

Right from the start, I was effectively onboarded with a detailed presentation on the company’s operations and the M&A team’s function. Additionally, I received a comprehensive introduction to the semiconductor industry, with my mentor recommending a thorough read to help me better grasp the business.

Soon after, another finance intern familiarized me with routine tasks, including downloading Bloomberg data and crafting reports for the team and weekly market updates through presentations.

My proficiency with Bloomberg proved invaluable, turning potential setbacks into advantages. But I quickly realized my Excel skills were lacking, which surprised my mentor. This experience taught me the importance of being well-prepared. It inspired me to start 365 Company and equip people with Excel skills from home, easing their initial workplace stress.

Typically, a finance internship requires proficiency in Excel and PowerPoint. You’ll update reports and may develop financial models, necessitating strong Excel skills. Interns frequently create PowerPoint slides, assist mentors with research, and draft presentations. Expect to engage in these activities regularly.

The highlight of my finance internship was when our team started working on a potential M&A transaction. I was asked to prepare the target’s preliminary valuation and worked with financial documents prepared by the target’s advisors. The knowledge I gained during that period is immeasurable.

Looking back, it’s evident that internships shape themselves around your efforts. Whether you encounter obstacles or opportunities, the essential strategy is resilience, pursuing educational moments, and constant enhancement. As you set out on this path, bear in mind that a positive outlook and eagerness to learn transform every scenario into a meaningful experience.

Where Can I Intern for Finance?

Exploring where you can intern in finance is an exciting journey because the vast industry has many sectors offering valuable experiences. Whether you’re drawn to the high-stakes world of investment banking, the detail-oriented realm of accounting, or the innovative space of fintech, there’s a place for you.

These examples represent a fraction of the opportunities available in the finance industry. Each provides distinct experiences and learning opportunities to help shape your career path in finance.

Investment Banks

Interning at prestigious firms—such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, or J.P. Morgan—offers exposure to the best investment banking internships. These internships allow you to engage in high-level finance activities like deals, trading, and financial analysis.

Commercial Banks

Consider internships at banks like Bank of America, Citigroup, or Wells Fargo to learn about retail banking, lending, and credit analysis.

Asset Management Firms

Firms like BlackRock, Vanguard, or Fidelity Investments offer insights into investment strategies, portfolio management, and financial advisory services.

Consulting Firms

Firms such as McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group, and Deloitte offer extensive experience in financial consulting and business strategy across diverse industries.

Corporate Finance

Large corporations like Apple, Microsoft, or General Electric have departments where finance interns can learn about budgeting, financial planning, and internal financial management.

Fintech Companies

Innovators, such as Square, Robinhood, or Stripe, are at the forefront of combining technology and finance. They offer unique internships in areas like payments, investing, and financial software and have unique finance internship programs you may want to consider.

Governmental or NGOs

For a public sector or non-profit finance experience, look into internships with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Federal Reserve, or non-profits like the World Bank.

Lastly, if you’re inclined towards accounting, many companies offer programs tailored to your interests. So, check out what their finance intern job description includes to find a match that suits your career goals.

Remote Finance Internships

In the evolving work landscape, remote finance internships are a game-changing opportunity for many aspiring finance professionals. They offer the flexibility to build a solid foundation in financial skills and understanding from anywhere in the world. Navigating the myriad of platforms offering such remote finance internships can be daunting.

Here’s a brief look at some key players in this space.

Simply Hired

This job search engine aggregates job listings from across the web. Users searching for remote finance internships can use Simply Hired to find a range of listings that match their criteria. The platform often provides a user-friendly experience with filters to help narrow search results based on specific needs such as location, company, and job type.

The Intern Group

The Intern Group provides global internship programs, including remote finance internships. They offer structured and professional remote internships that allow participants to work with companies worldwide. The platform typically offers comprehensive support services like professional development training and networking opportunities.


Glassdoor is widely recognized for its company reviews and salary information. But it also operates as a job and internship search platform. Those looking for remote finance internships can find listings on Glassdoor and benefit from additional insights like company ratings, employee reviews, and estimated salaries to make more informed decisions.

Virtual Internships

This platform connects students with remote finance internships across diverse fields, offering services like mentorship, career development, and flexible scheduling to benefit both interns and employers.


Indeed ranks among the top job search platforms, offering extensive listings across all industries, including remote finance internships. It consolidates jobs from multiple sources, providing a robust resource for job seekers. Users can upload resumes, directly apply to positions, and activate alerts for new job updates.

The bottom line?

Consider online finance internships when seeking to balance education and practical experience or when you’re ready to dive into the financial sector without geographical constraints.

Comparing Different Finance Internships

Finance Internship vs Investment Banking Internship

An investment banking finance intern assists in various financial services and earns more than other types of finance internships. Both roles need strong analytical skills, but investment banking interns also focus on market research and financial report creation, offering a more specialized experience than general finance internships.

Finance Internship vs Summer Analyst

Summer analysts in banking institutions focus on in-depth financial analysis and model creation, which differs from general finance internships that might include a broader range of tasks. On average, summer analysts earn about $28,379 more annually than a finance intern. While both roles require analytical and data management skills, summer analysts dig deeper into financial statements and market trends.

Finance Internship vs Finance Admin

Finance administrators oversee financial operations and report on financial performance, earning more than finance interns. They need financial management and administration skills, differing from the broader analytical focus of finance internships.

Finance Internship vs Finance Consultant

Finance consultants provide detailed financial advice and strategies. While sharing some skills like risk management, finance consultants have a more client-focused role, requiring expertise in financial markets and planning.

Choosing the Ideal Finance Internship

Determining the best finance internship isn’t black and white; it hinges on aligning with your career aspirations. For instance, faced with two offers, I chose an M&A-focused internship, targeting my preferred niche in finance.

Viewing each career move as a step towards your goal can significantly enhance the likelihood of achieving it. Start with a clear end goal in mind, and you’re likely to find a finance intern job description that fits.

Whether it’s summer 2024 internships in finance or fall finance internships, ensure you align them with your career aspirations. 

Navigating Your Finance Internship Path

So, what does a finance intern need to do to build a successful career?

Embark on your journey through finance internships, seeing each challenge as a growth opportunity. Unexpected benefits can shape your career, whether it’s a broader accounting and finance internship or a targeted finance intern role—every experience molds your professional path.

I hope these stories and the lessons learned inspire you to begin your finance internship with optimism and determination.

Boost your chances of securing your dream job now by improving your skills.

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What does a finance intern usually do?

A finance intern is involved in various activities that help them understand a company’s financial workings. They might analyze financial data, assist in creating financial reports, partake in project management, and support the finance team in daily tasks. Their role is integral in providing hands-on experience in the financial sector.

What skills do you gain in a finance internship?

During a finance internship, individuals acquire many skills, including analytical thinking, financial modeling, proficiency in Excel, and an understanding of financial software. They also develop soft skills—such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving—crucial in any professional setting.

What qualifications do you need to be a finance intern?

Finance interns are typically required to pursue or have completed a degree in finance, economics, or a related field. Fundamental knowledge of financial principles, strong analytical abilities, and proficiency in mathematics are essential. Some roles may require specific software skills or coursework in finance and accounting.

What does a finance markets intern do?

A finance markets intern focuses on the financial markets sector, conducting market research, analyzing financial instruments, monitoring market trends, and supporting trading or investment decision-making. They are crucial in providing insights that inform the company’s market strategies.

What is the purpose of undertaking an internship in finance?

The primary purpose is to gain practical experience and apply theoretical knowledge in the real world. An internship in finance allows individuals to understand how financial departments operate, develop professional skills, and build a network in the industry, setting a foundation for their future careers.

What do finance interns actually do?

Finance interns are involved in various tasks—from assisting with financial analysis and modeling to participating in budgeting processes and preparing financial documents. They get a firsthand look at the financial operations within a company, providing them with a comprehensive learning experience.

What does a financial analyst intern do?

A financial analyst intern typically assists in analyzing financial data, creating financial models, conducting market research, and helping formulate investment or business strategies. They support the financial analysis team and contribute to the company’s financial decision-making process.