Random Observation/Comment #519: Internships are just 10-week 2-way interviews. If you’re smart, we’ll want to hire you and then we’ll try to impress the crap out of you so you accept.
This is the 5th year managing the summer intern projects, and I’ve always had a good time being a mentor (and overall having coffee with everyone). Since I’m all about lists of 30 now, I wrote this list to get interns thinking about how they can take advantage of their internship opportunities with their short time here. Best of luck and finish strong!
- Get to know your intern group better – your peers are probably pretty smart and will be valuable as a part of your network (as well as feedback for different common preferences)
- Have the numbers of the people in your group/teams – bare minimum know how to reach these people in case things happen for meetings or even if you want to meet up later on
- Keep a list of people you meet and something about them – It’s so much easier for following up when you remember who you spoke with and what about.
- Provide your personal contact information – I usually send this out in an email on the last day with all the people I’ve met BCC’d. We’ll probably add you on LinkedIn and shoot you a happy birthday message
- Meet with people from your school – we have alumni from all over the place (especially from our target schools). If you haven’t already, reach out to core alumni that can introduce you to others
- Meet with people through networking events – branch out and talk to more people at these events instead of circling around the same comfortable group. Ask about what people are working on and follow-up with them the next day.
- Follow-up with people – it’s always a good idea to send a follow-up and then keep them in the loop if they’re a useful contact. Grow this genuinely.
- Ask for introductions – if you give a focus to your question, people will know others that may answer it. If you want to know about being a consultant, I’m sure there are 2-3 we know that could be called up
- Know your group (especially hiring manager and mentors) – think about work dynamics and don’t always just sit down and work. There’s a lot of bonding and culture that happens around the water fountains.
- Build trust with your team – this means incorporating people’s feedback and producing some artifact you can all be proud of. Make sure you’re on time with your deliverables.
- Write an email to your managers about your achievements – this should be a general catch-up conversation, but it could also be a link to the work you’ve created. Instead of just saying “the projects are going great”, you can show them the status updates and make the extra effort. It’s also a good reminder to managers to catch up with you. Managers also want to be helpful and reaching out for helping/asking questions is the biggest compliment
- Learn about the business – if you’re working in Fixed Income, it’s probably a good idea to know what a bond or loan is. It’s sometimes the basics that will get you hooked into a new profession.
- Learn about the bigger picture – finance is a monster that effects almost everything around the world. Global economics depends not just on the stock market, but the overall liquidity provided to large institutional investors and clients.
- Learn about the organization structure – the entire bank as a company is broken up into different products and horizontal initiative groups. If you think about any large company, you’ll realize that the basic hierarchy tree only goes so far. In reality, working for a team in a big company is actually like working at a smaller company in a cubicle floor with other small companies. You’re all working on maybe related projects, but there’s probably little overlap in clients.
- Learn about architecture – this is actually the first thing I try to figure out when looking at a big company. What are the major components? How do the systems connect (messaging, core data sources)? Are there major projects around optimizing these systems? How are the groups divided amongst components? How many applications are run by my group?
- Learn about accounting – this is more advanced, but it’s always good to know what your team is working towards. Each team gets a certain amount of budget for core Run the Bank and Change the Bank projects. Get to know those Change the Bank initiatives.
- Learn how to manage your managers – managers are doing a lot of juggling for projects and their team happiness. If you make it easier by reaching out to them (and also making them look good with your achievements) it’s just an easy win.
- Learn about new technology – what is your group innovating with? Are they looking at big data, machine learning, or blockchain? Is it relevant to their group?
- Learn about etiquette – this is less obvious to some people, but there are those unwritten social rules that comes with working in a financial company
- Remember names – there’s a system you can create for this. Whatever it is, names will always be helpful later on
- Learn how to unwind – this doesn’t always just mean drinking. The working world is very different from college with all that free time and overall freedom. Pick the right things that can change your mood for the better. I personally love table tennis, blogging, and crime fighting.
- Limit the number of Most Important Things – even with all this time, we somehow don’t have enough (or maybe don’t spend it wisely). I always consider the Most Important Things in my life and try to work towards completing those first.
- Learn how to learn – there are no more exams or homeworks in real life. You create your own curriculum and decide your own next steps. If you need slides to copy or workgroups to teach, then you should know this is the class environment where you’re most productive. If we can just leave you with a web browser and you’ll figure it out, that’s fine too.
- Practice public speaking – you will all be giving some type of presentation at one point. Make sure you practice and prepare. It’s hard to escape representing your project work in the real world.
- Comment your code – Please
- Give back to your community – whatever this may be, you have a certain set of skills that people find valuable. Being helpful and useful is a wonderful reward
- Branch out of your comfort zone – you don’t have to do this all the time (or else you’re always uncomfortable), but be sure to keep a healthy amount of new things for you to review and process
- Write your ideal job description – what do you want to do? Were you happy this summer? What didn’t you like? These are all preferences that will determine which industry you enter and what type of work you want to do. Know that our company has an awesome foundation of continuous learning and personal career growth to offer.
- Build your reputation – What are 3 words you want someone to describe you with? Do you represent those values on a day-to-day basis?
- Learn to describe your project in 3 sentences – this is crucial because this entire intern experience will boil down to those 3 minutes at the next interview
Hint: Some of this definitely applies to early career.
~See Lemons Learn