As write-downs and layoffs piled up on Wall Street this summer, your first thought probably wasn’t, “…but what of the interns?”  And that’s OK – for the most part, they made out just fine.

If, like Posie Harwood ’09, you weren’t in one or two poor-performing sectors, you could feel quite insulated from all the turmoil. Harwood was in the global power and utilities group of UBS’ investment bank, an area she says performed well and kept her busy all summer.

And as for job security? CNBC reported in July that experience taught investment banks not to cut their internship programs when things go south. Many found themselves badly understaffed after cutting interns during the 2001 financial crisis.

So keeping your internship in this down market was not even half the battle. The real challenge, seemingly, would be receiving an offer for full-time, post-graduation employment at the internship’s end. But offer rates (usually 75 to 80 percent, according to the CNBC report) weren’t down significantly from years past, a number of interns said.

That’s because banks were eschewing the typical fall recruiting schedule, consolidating this year’s hiring into offers to their interns. 

Bonnie Zilenziger, a recruiter for UBS, said its summer class of investment-banking interns was intentionally larger this year for this reason. All three Princeton students in that class received offers, including Harwood.

Banks have been hiring more and more exclusively from their pools of interns for some years now, but this may have marked the trend’s apotheosis. 

A number of Princeton interns said they were told that major firms would not be looking outside their intern programs for new hires at all.  Beverly Hamilton-Chandler, director of the University’s Career Services, could confirm only that while most major banks had scheduled recruiting dates for this fall, they can cancel only a few days in advance.

Seniors will have to look for other options as this quintessentially Princeton career route closes temporarily. Meanwhile, those who made it in realize how lucky they are.

Peter Capkovic ’09, who accepted an offer at JP Morgan, said that, if anything, he had an advantage over past hires. “The hiring class is smaller, but in two to three years, financials should rebound,” he said. “And then it will be a smaller pool of people to promote from.”

Harwood agreed. “There are good opportunities to be had that come out of this period,” she said. “You’re a pretty valuable asset later on.”