This past Wednesday night, Vault held its inaugural Summer Internship Kick-Off Event, which brought together more than 150 interns at over 30 different finance firms with nine full-time investment banking professionals. The full-time professionals were part of two panel discussions that took place after a networking session. The panels focused on best practices for making the most of the all-important summer internship.
Jeff Masse, a University of Florida graduate and second-year M&A analyst and former summer analyst at Evercore
"It's a big step," Jeff said of the transition from intern to full-time analyst. "Now you're driving analysis. You have to think. And you have to ask for feedback," because you're not going to be given feedback freely.
As for the advice he has for summer interns, Jeff recommends "doing more than what you're given." For example, "Learn as much as you can about the industries you're covering to allow senior people on the team to do a better job." He also says, "Don't make the same mistake twice. And don't ask the same questions again."
However, Jeff says it's okay to ask "dumb questions" but recommends "finding someone you can trust to ask those dumb questions." He explained that, as a graduate of the University of Florida, he found a fellow Florida grad who was senior to him at Evercore with whom he got along well. Jeff was able to pose a lot of questions to this fellow Gator that he didn't feel comfortable asking anyone else. As for how to cultivate such a relationship with a more senior person on the team, Jeff says it has to be "organic," meaning you can't force such a relationship and you have to give it some time to develop.
As for the biggest challenge of his internship, Jeff cited "knowing when it's okay or not okay to say and ask certain things." And his final bit of advice for interns was this: "Be thoughtful about your analysis. Don't just be a crank horse."
Libby Burrus, a University of Virginia graduate, second-year analyst at Moelis, and two-time summer analyst at Greenhill
Libby said it's okay for interns to be "overwhelmed at first." It'll take some time to adjust to working and learning how to prioritize, she said. What Libby says is essential for interns to do is "take notes." She stressed the importance of remembering how you completed a certain task so you know how to do it again without asking.
According to Libby, it's also important to "understand the whole task," to "have a full grasp of what you're working on." And don't forget to have a "positive attitude and be eager to work and learn."
Another, great piece of advice Libby had for interns is this: "It's always important to think about how you're being perceived" by peers and seniors.
In addition, she recommends being "open and communicative with superiors." And when it comes to asking superiors for feedback, Libby says that timing is important, that you should first find an appropriate time to meet. And when you do meet, "Find out what you could do better as well as what you've done well."
James Giroux, a Vanderbilt graduate and third-year associate and former summer analyst at Citigroup
"The gap is massive," said James of the difference between interning and working full time in sales and trading, because there's a big difference in duties and what you can legally do "once you're licensed."
As for recommendations to interns, James says don't ask questions "just to fill gaps in conversation." That will be noticed. Instead, ask intelligent questions. In addition, "Don't be arrogant; don't put on any air of arrogance." James explained that when interning on the trading floor "you can be given menial tasks, which are not only instructive for you but also fun for traders." In other words, roll with the menial tasks because you'll learn something from them and because seniors won't look favorably upon you if you act like such tasks are beneath you; they're part of the job.
James also told interns in attendance, "Don't act like you know your stuff on day one. Come in with a clean slate." That is, come in wanting to learn, not to show that you know X, Y, and Z.
And as for his advice on how to make sure you get a full-time offer after your summer internship, James said, "Don't be an idiot." Which received laughs, after which James went on to explain that if you think before you act and don't do anything ridiculous, like coming in three hours late, you should be fine, and an offer should be yours for the accepting.
Follow us on Twitter.
Follow us on Instagram.
Vault's Summer Internship Kick-Off Event—What You Missed Part 1
27 Interview Questions That Weed Out the Weak on Wall Street
Nail These 9 Tricky Interview Questions and Wall Street Will Hire You to Intern
Want to be found by top employers? Upload Your Resume
Join Gold to Unlock Company Reviews