How a 19 year-old hustled his way to an internship at Goldman then turned it down for an even better offer

Landing a summer internship at any Wall Street firm is tough.

But Business Insider recently spoke with a summer intern who had to work extra hard to land his first finance gig — and not for any of the usual reasons.

Recruiters kept turning this University of Pennsylvania Wharton undergraduate down because, at 19, he was only in his freshman year of college.

When Wall Street started recruiting at Penn last year, the intern, who wished to remain anonymous, did everything right. He was confident in his experience — his dual degree in finance and biology, his background in quantitative maths, and the Professional Risk Managers certification he earned before even starting college.

But he kept getting the same response: try again in a couple of years.

The only interview he managed to score was for a sophomore training program at Goldman Sachs, and that’s only because the recruiters didn’t realise he was a freshman.

He took things into his own hands.

When the intern didn’t hear back from them, he took things into his own hands and started reaching out to the alumni from his school.

He emailed about 200 Penn grads, which he found by making a long list of firms he was interested in and cross-checking it with the school’s alumni database.

That’s how he met a senior person at a hedge fund with $US9 billion under management. They hit it off.

But then, in the midst of interviewing with that firm, Goldman suddenly called and invited him — with one day’s notice — to their “superday” of interviews in New York City.

He attended, and eventually got an offer from the investment bank for a summer analyst position, but managed to hold off on responding until he’d heard from the hedge fund too.

Goldman gave him several extra weeks to decide, but in the end, he chose the hedge fund because of the type of work he would be doing.

Hedge fund perks.

That summer, the intern got to rotate across 4 teams over his 12-week internship, including real estate equities, health care equities, mortgage and fixed income, and quantitative strategies and risk management.

At Goldman, he said, he would have been “stuck” on one trading desk — a non-derivative, non-cash equity trading desk — for the summer.

The hours are better at the hedge fund, too, and he gets a lot more responsibility. That’s partly because the intern, who is back there for another stint this summer, is one of a kind at the hedge fund — the only undergraduate they have ever hired, and by far the youngest person in the office.

What else contributed to his decision in the end?

It probably didn’t hurt that he makes 30-40% more at the hedge fund than what most investment banks pay their interns.

NOW WATCH: This robot competition inspired students and will get you excited about the future

NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at