Help! I've got no internship

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Failed to land a summer internship at an investment bank? Believe it or not, it's not the end of the world.

Myths and realities

It's true that if you land a summer internship at an investment bank during your penultimate year at university, you'll have a far higher chance of getting a full-time position upon graduation - most banks look to hire 50% or more of their full-time hires from the summer intern pool.

However, it's also true that if you haven't got an internship at an investment bank already, you won't get one now - deadlines passed in June/July last year.

While an appropriate internship will definitely help your cause, not getting one need not be the end of the world: any kind of summer work is better than nothing.

Claire Strik, graduate recruitment manager at KPMG, the accountancy firm which also has a corporate finance arm, says summer work in McDonalds can be beneficial in terms of communications skills: "I think having McDonald's on a CV is GREAT."

And if you don't want to spend the summer taking orders for Big Macs and fries? There are other alternatives, which may still be available even at this late stage.

Option number one: boutiques

Boutique investment firms and specialist corporate finance advisory outfits are probably your best bet. We're talking small firms, often with fewer than 20 employees, who might be able to benefit from a little ad hoc help over the summer months.

For a list of likely contenders, click here.

Timothy Li, a student who's just finished his final year of study at the University of New South Wales and has been offered a place on JPMorgan's graduate scheme for next year, spent last summer as an unpaid intern at Emerging Growth Capital, a boutique investment bank focused on the biotech sector, which fitted with his biochemistry studies.

How did he do it? "I cold called, and was asked for my CV and then to an interview," he says. "Financial institutions don't expect cold callers. They are impressed with the initiative."

Option number two: big (and small) accountancy firms

Big accountancy firms like PWC, Deloittes, E&Y and KPMG often have short-term vacancies for accounts payable, data entry and other clerical positions. Try temping agencies, or check their websites for information.

Option number three: data providers and ratings agencies

Think Reuters, Bloomberg, Morningstar, Thomson Financial, Moody's, or Fitch: many offer full and part-time jobs to students, although casual summer work can be harder to come by - unless you want to continue with the position during the next academic year.

Option number four: exchanges

ASX offers casual work during corporate governance review time, and in September and October actively targets students for these roles.

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