On a recent Saturday night in Cancun, Mexico, Kyle Carnes partied with his friends on spring break, listened to a live band and watched fire twirlers spin flaming sticks.
He couldn’t quite relax, though. Every few minutes he checked his iPhone. Mr. Carnes was waiting to find out whether he had gotten a final interview for a summer internship program at a major European bank.
Winning the three-month internship would have put him a step closer to his dream: working on Wall Street.
The financial industry may be in retreat, with tighter regulation, smaller bonuses, layoffs and persistent questions over its ethics and culture. But for hundreds of students like Mr. Carnes, a 20-year-old junior at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., Wall Street is still seen as the ultimate launch pad to a successful career.
“Don’t get me wrong, we know it’s not the Gordon Gekko age anymore,” Mr. Carnes says. “It’s a tougher business and there’s a lot more scrutiny, but we also know that once you get accepted into the ranks of the banking elite, you can do any job you want afterward.”