Internships are, as any student with a chance of getting into investment banking knows, the simplest route into a full-time job. What do you do to get ahead? Ask questions? Network? Complete your work on time? Teamwork?
Well, yes, but these are the basics. In a blog post on LinkedIn, Johann Shudlick, Goldman Sachs’ global head of diversity recruitment has offered some insider advice. And it’s gold.
Shudlick, who moved across to HR from his job as head of TMT investment grade debt capital markets in May last year, suggests that getting ahead in an internship is a combination of surviving in the corporate jungle, planning way ahead for your banking career and…enjoying the perks.
“Start saying "we" instead of "I" – you are a representative of the firm officially, and you speak on behalf of all of us, not just yourself,” he says, giving you an indication of exactly how your sense of self is immediately absorbed into the bank.
Arrive in the office early, he says, understand why you’re doing something rather than just how to do the task, and if you have to ask questions on an issue you don't understand, try to avoid badgering the same person over and over.
But then, Shudlick offers some real insider tips for interns eager to be both frugal and meet the right people: “In the cafeteria, the food is 20% discounted before noon and after 1:30; best times for people watching are 11:59 am and 1:31 pm.”
“They have (free) pantry espresso machines down on the some of the trading floors,” he adds. “They’re a great excuse to make (new) friends down on the lower levels.”
Shudlick’s tone is relaxed and inclusive, but the content of the blog makes it clear that interns have to work hard to avoid screwing up. “Reserve the right to say no, but understand that there may be consequences,” he writes.
“The more senior the person who asks you for something, the more quickly you should try get it done,” he adds.
Success as an intern, in short, is getting stuck into everything and showing as much interest as you can – with as many people as you can, suggests Shudlick.
“Volunteer for everything; nothing will earn you respect quicker than being there for someone who really needs help,” he says. “HOWEVER, be sincere - don't ask others if they need help after your coat is on and your bag is on your shoulder.”
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