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INTERNSHIP DIARY: Weeks one and two of a markets internship at an investment bank in London

Not investment banking interns (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not investment banking interns (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the first instalment of our anonymous intern diary for 2012. We’ll be adding instalments weekly. If you’re an intern and you want to talk about your internship, get in touch (editor@efinancialcareers.com).

Week one:

So, my internship started in the same way as most interviews. I arrived early to find nervous looking people scattered around outside what would be our office for the next ten weeks.

There are around 65 markets interns in the class, all from a broad range of backgrounds. For some people this is their first internship, while others – like me – have interned before.

After initial ‘ice breakers’ the first day was consumed by an introduction to the program. This started with a speech from the regional head of the investment bank and ended with slideshows on ‘representing the firm’. I got a very strong impression of the bank as a team-orientated company. However, I also know that these slideshows are the same everywhere

On the first evening we had a drinks event. I managed to meet someone from my desk. He seemed like a nice guy, but he had taken advantage of the free drinks so I may have been mistaken.

Throughout the week, we had a variety of training. This covered everything from basic accounting to bond math and option pricing.

Towards the end of the week (Thursday) we were presented with our project for the summer. We’ve got to work on this in small groups and then present to the business at the end of the internship. The mere mention that we’d be presenting to our line managers introduced a palpable sense of panic in the room.

The first week concluded in a ‘corporate responsibility day.’ At first it seemed this would be all about doing conspicuous good deeds in corporate T-shirts. Actually, it was a good day out with other interns. I got to meet a few of the interns from IBD who were already having a nightmare and had been asked to work the weekend. Frankly, I wouldn’t be able to cope with that.

Week 2  

This was my first week of actual work. On Monday morning I arrived at 6:15 to make sure I was there on time and was surprised to find several people already at work. By 6:30 the floor was full of activity.

I spent the first day being introduced to the guys on the desk by the analyst, who would also be my ‘buddy’.  I shadowed each of the traders who tried to paint me a picture of what they do.

My first day was blighted by the fact that my computer didn’t work. Eventually, I was allocated a different desk – next to my boss. This has its advantages and disadvantages. Advantage: I get to build a relationship. Disadvantage: he watches what I’m doing.

I started work on my project.  This is, basically, a big spreadsheet. Together with my buddy, I have been tasked with developing some new processes that will make the end of the trading day more efficient. This seems quite cool. I feel lucky to be working on it.

I’ve also been asked to write a brief summary of what goes on in the morning meeting every day. Starting from next week, I’m supposed to email the desk highlighting the key points from the meeting. These take place just after 7am and last 15 minutes each. This could be a problem as my understanding of trader lingo is pretty minimal.

Every day, I go for lunch with the other interns. On Friday, one of the traders bought everyone a burger because he was going on holiday. I guess this may happen quite a bit. Or at least I hope it will.

On Friday the non-farm payroll number came out and I had to make markets on the price of options, for real money. This was daunting, but I realized that it was one of the only ways I could really show my ability to be a trader, so ended up taking a few positions. The number wasn’t far from my breakeven price, so I didn’t lose anything – although nor did I make much either.

All in all it was a great week.  I am, however, absolutely shattered – again.

 

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