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Unpaid Internship Course

Math GR 5530 MAFN Unpaid Internship

Note: The plan is to offer this course in fall and in the spring, but not in the summer.

Course Description

This course provides an opportunity for MAFN students to engage in unpaid internships for academic credit on a pass/fail basis.

  • Open only to MAFN students
  • The student is responsible for securing an appropriate internship
  • Approval by the instructor is required
  • Prerequisites: At least 3 MAFN core courses and 3 credits of approved electives (for example, one approved elective that earns 3 credits). As a consequence, this course is not open to students in their first semester
  • Grading: Pass/Fail
  • Points (credits): 1
  • The course may be repeated (but not in the same semester).
  • You cannot take this course – or any other course for that matter – if you have already completed your degree requirements
  • You must have successfully completed any internship course taken in the past to be eligible to take or re-take this course.

Rules and Procedures

Summary of Procedures

  • The student finds an appropriate internship and gets it approved by the instructor / MAFN director.
  • The student may need to register online, which will result in being put on a waiting list.
  • The MAFN office registers the student in the course, either manually or from the waiting list.
  • To drop the course, the student must follow the relevant drop rules and deadlines. The student cannot drop the course after the internship start date
  • The student does the internship and writes a report
  • A pass or fail grade is assigned based on the report

See details in the following sections

Timing of the Internship

Fall semester: The start date of the internship must be no earlier than the first day of classes. The end date must be no later than the end of fall final exams.

Spring semester: The start date of the internship must be after the end of fall final exams. The end date must be no later than the end of spring final exams.

Appropriate Internships

Only unpaid internships are eligible.

The total time commitment is expected to be at least 70 hours. For full-time students, the time commitment per week (except in the summer) may not exceed 20 hours.

The internships should provide training and experience that complement the students’ education and help them relate the material taught in the MAFN classes to professional practice.

Typical internship employers / sponsors of relevance for MAFN students would be banks, investment banks, asset managements firms, hedge funds, insurance companies, financial consulting firms, financial software firms, and the like. The internship may involve formal training sessions, on-the-job training, and project work. Most activities related to quantitative finance would be appropriate. Examples include research, statistical analysis, financial and economic analysis, financial model development, coding of financial models and systems, testing and troubleshooting of financial models, portfolio construction, and construction and testing of trading strategies.

Application for Approval

To apply for approval and enrollment, the student must submit an application and an official offer letter from the sponsor to the MAFN Office as early as possible (see Application Deadline below).

The offer letter from the employer/internship sponsor should make clear that the internship is unpaid and state the following:

  • Beginning and ending dates of internship
  • How many hours of work/activites per week
  • A description of duties in sufficient detail to show them as appropriate to meeting the requirements for earning academic credit

The application should state

  • Student’s name
  • Student’s UNI
  • Expected start and end dates of internship
  • How many hours of work/activites per week
  • Internship sponsoring organization, department, and location
  • Supervisor or Human Resources (HR) contact name, title, phone number, and email

Please put the application in a separate document (such as word or pdf). This makes our record-keeing easier.

The MAFN Office may contact the sponsor/supervisor to verify information about the internship and to verify the intern’s completion of the internship.

Application Deadline

Submit the application as early as possible before you wish to begin the internship. The review by the instructor / MAFN director takes some time.

Successful Completion

To complete the course, the student must submit, by the relevant deadline (see below),

  • An acceptable internship report
  • A statement from the sponsor to the effect that the internship has been completed or is about to be completed

The internship report should describe the internship experience and its relevance to the MAFN program. Aspects that you may want to cover include the following:

  • The nature and business of the sponsoring organization and the division / department where the internship was undertaken
  • The intern’s activities, responsibilities, and projects, and their purpose and relevance for the sponsoring organization (it is not necessary to include technical details of projects)
  • Training and experience acquired, and how they complement the student’s education

The report should include the following information:

  • Student name
  • Student UNI
  • Internship start and end dates
  • Total number of hours
  • Internship sponsoring organization, department, and location
  • Supervisor or Human Resources (HR) contact name, title, phone number, and email

You are of course not supposed to reveal proprietary information. Some internship sponsors require that your report to go through an internal review and approval process to make sure you do not reveal such information.

Report and Statement Deadline

The deadline for the report and the statement from the sponsor is the last day of final exams.

Compliance with Laws and Regulations

If you do an unpaid internship, then you and your internship sponsor / emloyer are responsible for complying with applicable labor laws and labor regulations. These laws and regulations exist in part to prevent unpaid interns from unfairly competing with people who need to work and get paid for a living.

The Center for Career Education has some information about this here: Unpaid Internships

International students need to comply with their visa regulations.

The MAFN Office does not give advice about such matters.

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