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Five tips to turn a banking internship into a full-time offer

If you have received a summer-analyst offer from an investment bank, here’s what it takes (besides a lot of hard work) to convert it into a full-time offer.

1) Find out who really does your evaluation

You might be told during your induction that your team head will provide input into your evaluation, but in reality the whole review might be written by an associate who you work with every day. Not knowing who will be assessing you makes it hard to prioritise when you get multiple requests from different people in the bank.

2) Understand working styles

Some managers never go into details when they give instructions, while others micromanage and ask for updates every two hours. Some like emails, some never read them. To avoid communication breakdowns, it is in your best interest to have a proper conversation about working styles at the beginning of your internship.

3) Learn to love group projects

You might not like it, but you will have to work closely with other interns who are competing with you for offers. You will be judged on your teamwork, so invest time in it and maintain a reputation as a team player. Try to make friends with your counterparts so that no one minds lending a hand.

4) Look beyond your team

Apart from the immediate members of your team, don’t be afraid to seek out potential sponsors within the bank, in particular senior MDs who can influence hiring decisions. Reply to their questions during training if you know the answers. Do detailed research for them if they, for example, want your advice on their children’s tertiary education. And give 120 percent if they ever give you a task to work on. But don’t overdo it so your own team feel you are not focused and loyal.

5) When you’re not working with them, you’re socialising with them

Accept as many invitations to lunches, coffees and drinks as possible. You might even want to practice your dance move as you might need to go clubbing from time to time. If you don’t dance, practice drinking. You don’t want to be the boring person not drinking – you won’t be invited along next time and you won’t find out vital information like the bosses’ working styles and personalities, and the hiring plans of different teams.

Make sure you have something interesting to say about your weekend during the inevitable Monday morning conversation in the pantry. Always be interested in your colleagues’ conversations and participate actively in them during casual lunches. At happy-hour drinks, sitting and listening to others is not good enough; create conversation of your own with a smaller group and welcome others to join.

Alex Wong is the founder of EntreNet Careers in Hong Kong, a company that helps university students secure jobs in banking.

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