If you’re about to start your investment banking internship, you may wish to read our intern diaries from last year by clicking here or here. Alternatively, you could check out Joris Luyendijk’s interview with a 21 year old equities intern who “absolutely enjoyed” his internship last summer.
As ever, Joris’s interview is a little long (although possibly not as long as our diaries). In summary, this is what the intern he spoke to said:
1. You will work 15 hour days
For 10 weeks…
2. When the hours are factored in, you won’t earn that much
” I worked out that this summer I earned less per hour on a graduate banker salary than I did on my summer job last year teaching Spanish to students.”
3. You must not complain about the hours
“In my division at an investment bank I’d get up at 5.30am, be in the office by 6.15am and leave around 8pm. If you were working on a project, interns at my bank could easily work past midnight and weekends, though you would never tell your team as you don’t want to appear like you are inefficient or that you can’t manage your workload.”
4. Sometimes you will have nothing to do, but you must still be there, pretending to be busy
“The work is very cyclical, sometimes you wouldn’t have any work to do and you would be doing what we call ‘facetime’, which is essentially looking like you’re working hard until the last member of your team leaves, when in reality you’re chatting to other interns on the internal messenger system.”
5. You must be willing to do demeaning work, whilst trying to avoid it
“As an intern it’s really important to be seen as willing to get tea, but not to actually be seen getting tea. You see the difference? If you are seen getting tea for people, they are not going to take you seriously. But if you are seen as not willing to get tea, they are going to think you’re arrogant.”
6. If you are late 2 times, it will all be over
Pay for a taxi rather than being late.
7. People will be demeaned in front of you. You must ignore this.
“At least once a week, I would see an employee get absolutely trashed by their boss in front of the entire trading floor…”
8. You will amongst the uber achievers
“Within just a few metres of me on the trading floor I could see an ex-Olympic athlete, a guy who played cricket for his national team, and someone with a PhD from MIT.”
9. You will be watched for signs of alcohol intolerance
“At the few after-work events that we did have, human resources would be sober, watching who could handle their drink, and who couldn’t.”
10. You will think a career in banking is a brief stepping stone enroute to changing the world
“In the long run, I want to work myself into a position where I can make my own small positive difference to the world. Ideally, before I’m 35 (if I last that long – the job security isn’t great) I would have left banking to work in the emerging new breed of entrepreneurial NGOs, or perhaps even politics.”