This is a summary of my experience finding a co-op during my junior year at Northeastern and a follow up to my internship search last year.
Here are some stats once again.
First interview: 8/15 12:30 pm PST
Last offer signed: 11/2 12:09 pm PST
Companies applied to: 50+
Companies interviewed with: 27
Homework challenges: 10
Total phone interviews: 34
Total offers: 14
Offers accepted: 2
This year, I was on the search for my third and final co-op at Northeastern. I had 6 months free which meant I could do two internships; one winter and one summer.
Having worked at a few medium and large sized tech companies, I wanted to try something different this year. My primary goal was to gain experience in the financial sector as it has always been an interest of mine.
Beginning in mid-August, I sent out a flurry of applications to hedge funds, prop shops, and unicorns. Slowly and surely, the Hackerrank challenges began to roll in. Much of the interview preparation I did last year managed to carry over. And so, this year, I only did two weeks or so of practice to get back into shape. My interviews themselves soon turned into practice for my other interviews.
Phone rounds ramped up in September and onsites in October. By mid-October, I was dedicating almost all my time to recruiting, spending upwards of 40+ hours a week traveling and interviewing.
Having a few internships on my resume meant top companies overlooked the fact that I did not attend a "target" school. Even though I already had Apple on my resume last year, my response rate for online applications this year was almost tenfold (~40% vs ~4%). In addition to applying online, I also reached out to friends for referrals and recruiters that I had talked with in the past.
3/4 of my classes were on Tuesday/Friday which meant I was traveling Monday/Wednesday/Thursday. Over the course of 4 weeks, I had 2 interviews in NYC, 2 in SF, 2 in Chicago, and 1 in CT. Unluckily for me, interviews in the same city usually were not back to back. This meant many sleepless flights to catch up on school work. I was very fortunate that my professors were understanding and let me make up any missed tests and midterms.
I had to schedule final round interviews tightly since Northeastern doesn't have a recruiting policy for deadlines. This meant most offers came with the standard 2 week deadline. Though the process was quite stressful, companies were in general responsive and flexible.
By the end of October, I had finished my interviews and was hearing back from companies. I was lucky in that, unlike last year, most companies got back to me around the same time. I was considering offers from Citadel, Robinhood, Quora, and Facebook for winter and DRW, Tower Research, Bridgewater, Two Sigma, Affirm, and Airbnb for summer.
Some highlights include: exploring Chicago during my Citadel onsite, DRW bringing all the candidates to a nice dinner, ordering a lot of take-out sushi, almost missing a flight to SF, having a hotel scheduled for the wrong night in SF, and Robinhood responding in 48 minutes after my interview (by far the quickest)!
Making decisions was extremely difficult as I couldn't just intern everywhere like I did last year. I ended up picking Robinhood for winter and Two Sigma for summer. For Robinhood, I was able to stop by the office during a trip to SF. I enjoyed meeting the engineers and getting a peek at the work and culture there. I chose Robinhood due to its small company size, the team I would be on (order execution), the responsibility I would be able to have, and the fact that I am a big fan of the product.
I chose Two Sigma since being at a highly regarded hedge fund aligned perfectly with my goal to try finance. Even more, I consistently hear great praise about their engineering talent and really enjoyed the conversations with my interviewers during my onsite. Although I will not know what team I am on until later, the team matching process seemed to be very flexible in fitting with my interests.
The recruiting mountain was lifted off my shoulder in early November as I signed my offer letters. I enjoyed the rest of the semester with some much-needed free time. This experience, though stressful and hectic in the moment, was extraordinarily educational and beneficial (a post for internship recruiting tips is coming). I pushed myself and explored as many opportunities as possible. I experienced new companies and new industries. I also got much better at organizing and taking pictures of receipts.