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What makes Citadel's $20k a month interns special

Getting an internship at Citadel or Citadel Securities is not easy. Plenty of people want one - applications are up 65% this year compared to last year, at roughly 69,000 people. Just 0.5% of them get a place on the intern scheme. 

The people who get Citadel's intern offers are not the average 22-year-old high achieving university students. 

"The calibre of talent we are recruiting is exceptional," says Matt Mitro, head of campus recruiting at Citadel and Citadel Securities. It includes accomplished musicians, writers and chess players. 

Are you good enough? There's one way that you'll know: plenty of other places will also want to hire you. People who get internships at Citadel have choices. 75% of them have at least one, if not more, competing offers. 

In almost every case, students drop those competing offers for an internship at Citadel or Citadel Securities. The two firms pay their interns over $20k a month for the 11-week summer internship, which includes an initial week in a luxury hotel. 

Most of Citadel's interns are penultimate year students at university or college. How many of them convert their internships into an offer to return to the firms full-time? Mitro won't say. "There's no set target," he says of intern conversions. "Generally, though, anyone who performs exceptionally well and demonstrates the skills and values we are looking for will be eligible to receive an offer."

Citadel interns are put to work on real world tasks. "Almost all our intern projects are put into production after they're completed and often people will save meaningful work solely for the interns," says Mitro. "It's a show of belief in their capabilities."

Interns receive coaching and mentoring throughout the 11-week program and participate in a final presentation towards the end. Mitro says full-time offers are extended based on both this presentation and their performance throughout the program. "We prepare them as well as we possibly can, first through the offsite and then through interactions with intern managers and mentors who offer a different perspective on how to succeed and also help connect the interns to teammates. We try to give our interns every opportunity to be successful."

Much of Citadel's coaching is around communication styles. The two firms want people who express their own opinions. "We want our interns to feel comfortable sharing their own points of view and to feel that they can bring a new approach to the table or advocate for something counterintuitive," says Mitro. In many cases, this means encouraging interns to substantiate their opinions with data: "We very much value interns who test and validate their ideas," he says. 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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