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How To Be A Summer Internship Star

Jan 20, 2008
"Hollis Nye: My advice to you, Ellen, is to stop trying to figure Patty out. You'll never change her, but she'll change you.

Ellen: How?

Nye: By giving you access to how she thinks. You signed up for this; now, keep your head down, and do the work. That's why you're there, isn't it?

Ellen: Yes.

Nye: Then don't be shortsighted. Start using her. Learn everything you can, then get the hell out of there before it's too late.

Ellen: How exactly will I know when that is?

Nye: Ah. That's for another walk."

-Damages (FX Series on fictional law firm Hewes & Associates and big law life)

If you already have investment banking summer internship or are looking for one, keep in mind the end goal of your experience: to learn the job and to get a full-time offer.

Most people who do not have good internship experiences forget 1 of (or both of) these.

But if you keep these 2 reasons in your mind as you go through the internship, you'll be successful. Beyond just those, there is some other advice on internships you may find helpful.

Attitude - Make It Good

Always be eager to learn and do as much as possible. You would be surprised how many Summer Interns are just plain lazy and try to leave early every day without helping out much.

Always ask for new projects and new tasks you can help out with - you're supposed to be busy, it is a learning experience after all.

No, You Don't Know Everything

Some interns come in and pretend they know everything about investment banking already. This is a bad move, because you really don't know much about this job if you haven't done it before.

Last year an intern said he was an expert at Excel but then stayed up all night formatting some basic charts. If he had wisely admitted he didn't know that much and asked for help in the beginning, he would have avoided a lot of pain and learned something in the process.

Don't Mess Up

Or if you do, make sure it doesn't happen again.

Full-time employees don't have time to check work if it's glaringly work. Little mistakes here and there are fine, but make sure you check your work and fix it before giving it to me. Being correct is better than being fast.

Service With A Smile

I disliked one of the Summer Analysts we had last year. He was flaky, he kept messing up his work, and it took him forever to do anything.

But he did one thing right: he was always smiling.

No matter how many all-nighters he pulled, how much menial work he had to do, or how sleep-deprived he was, he was always smiling.

A good attitude can go a long way toward getting a full-time offer.

Party With Us, But Don't Come In With A Hangover

Try to socialize as much as possible with your co-workers outside of work.

Just make sure you don't come into work with a hangover, or you won't get the job.
About the Author
Ian Spellfield, a former investment banker, advises students and young professionals on how to get investment banking jobs and how to get investment banking summer internships .
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