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Apply for internships now or later?

Hello all, I am going to be a junior undergrad in the fall. I am wondering, is it alright to apply to quant internships next summer (summer before senior year) instead of now?

So far, I have been taking pure math classes (I can code in c++ and python, though), so I am not totally up to par with the needed stats info. My next two semesters are going to have a lot of AI/stats/applied math stuff so I thought I would be better prepared for quant interviews next summer. Am I making a big mistake doing this? I think I could study some of the stats info/prep for interviews in a month or two, but I have some other priorities this summer that make this hard to achieve in time for interviews. Is it better to just take a chance and apply for internships now?
Give it a shot, what is there to lose. I doubt you will receive any callbacks, but it is great to get acquainted with the process and perfect your cover letter and resume. I would more focus on networking. Find people who are in the jobs that you want and ask to have messaging/zoom conversations. Pick up some of the important skills and knowledge you need.

Instead of going for a quant role, I would try more in analysis or something more reachable. If you apply for quant roles, you are competing with many students, most who are getting their MS/PhDs (unless they are strictly undergad programs, which i think are pretty rare). I obviously do not know your background, but they will have a significant edge over you. Are you considering grad school? You can work in internships that will develop your quantitative skills and prove to a future employers that you have the background to further progress.

If you mean applying for interviews this current summer, you already missed most deadlines. The interview process takes place in the earlier part of the year.
Nothing to lose by applying early, at best you get an internship now and a chance for another next year, at worst you get a better idea of what you're missing and what they're expecting (better yet you might get interview/coding test experience - you can study and practice all you want, but nothing beats the actual experience). If you end up not getting any internship you can try approaching your professors for some projects to do over the summer.
I'd second what people say about networking. Ultimately getting a job as a graduate is about understanding what's out there. This lark about 99% of applicants not getting a job, bear in mind that 95-98% of applicants have zero chance - if you ever see the recruiting process you'd be shocked how many applicants have nothing on their CV related to the job.

Applying for jobs that are best suited to you - this is the goal when networking. Also, you never know what internships you may get at. Possibly join any coding/quant related groups for doing open source projects if you can find any because this could be a source for these meetings - just bear in mind most won't necessarily be quants but you may just need 1 or 2 to be. I have been in a group for open source projects in Dublin, but as work commitments get more intense I have no time for it, for instance, so anybody that could do with a few tips on their data science career won't get to meet me.

Honestly though applying for jobs that are suited to you, and doing it with the benefit of up to date market advice, makes you one of 1-2% of apllicants, even as a graduate, seriously. It's also under-rated - when I was a graduate I did a networking meeting with a college friend to discuss an upcoming role, in other words preparing me for the interview. I was gobsmacked by the level of downright abuse I got from non-finance people I mentioned this to based on the presumption that what I was doing was celebrating/assuming I'd get the job. Nothing could get it through to them that I was preparing myself for the interview by actually having a clue about roles in industry, not to mention that one of the titbits thus guy mentioned got me the role I ended up with (I was given this feedback when I got the role) a fact conveniently ignored by the hordes of morons that missed the point. Lesson learnt - just get on with it and feel your way around the industry, get and edge and please ignore obnoxious dopes rabbiting on about the 3 trillion people allegedly applying for the same job.

Also don't tie yourself to finance at this stage unless you're super interested, there's a lot of businesses looking for analytics and data science people - I do that now and not being restricted to working for a bank or hedge funds has opened things up plus I get paid decently. Thing is while after a few years nobody cares what degree you did, if things go wrong (bear in mind that can happen even if you perform well ie without you doing anything wrong) the flip side is that it gets harder to switch/migrate out of finance the more you go on. Now is the only time you have real choice, contrary to popular myth.
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