Morgan Stanley starts Singapore, HK internships…based in Australia

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Morgan Stanley starts Singapore, HK internships…based in Australia

Morgan Stanley has kicked of its winter analyst programme as a pipeline for graduate jobs based in Hong Kong or Singapore, but the students involved are all working in Australia. The programme, dubbed ‘winter’ because the two Asian cities are in the northern hemisphere, is for university students studying in Australia who are interested in working in Hong Kong or Singapore, says a spokesperson for Morgan Stanley.

In previous years, the Singapore and Hong Kong interns were based in those markets, but they remain in Australia this year due to Covid travel restrictions. They are aligned to teams in Hong Kong and Singapore, supporting them by working remotely. Like their summer counterparts, winter interns are typically considered for full-time roles in Hong Kong or Singapore, says the spokesperson.

The winter internship runs for 11 weeks from December to February during the Australian summer when universities close for that country’s main holiday period. It runs parallel to the Australian summer analyst programme in Sydney and Melbourne. “The [winter] 2020 class joins us from a range of universities across Australia, with a diverse range of degree backgrounds including commerce and law, computer science, finance and economics, and aeronautical engineering,” says the spokesperson.

Australia is one of the most popular foreign destinations for Hong Kong and Singapore students, and Morgan Stanley in Asia is presumably keen to tap this talent pool during their local holidays, although the winter programme is not restricted to Hong Kong and Singapore citizens. This year, there were 7,280 Singaporean student enrolments to Australian universities, although that number is down 12% year-on-year, according to Australian government figures.

It’s not straightforward for Australia-based Asian students to return home for internships in the June-to-August northern summer because that period clashes with their classes. Covid-19 has also made it much more difficult for students to travel. The Australian government announced last month that foreign students who’ve left the country will not be allowed to return to Australia in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Not many banks run winter internships physically based in Hong Kong or Singapore, and nor do many other banks. Societe Generale in Hong Kong is one of the exceptions. Winter interns at the French firm start in December or January, depending on their availability, and they usually work for one to three months. “The duration is usually shorter than summer internships, and winter interns work more on specific projects,” says a spokesperson.

HSBC in Singapore accepts polytechnic students between September and February for a 20-week work experience under its student work placement programme. This year 48 students are involved and the programme has been moved online, with students given access to a virtual work desktop, says a spokesperson.

A Singapore-based spokesperson for Citi says the bank is “looking into” starting a winter internship in 2021.

One recruiter at a bank in Singapore pointed out the irony of referring to “winter” programmes, a term not commonly used in a tropical country where December temperatures are similar to those in July.

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