I am looking for ideas/pointers on how I can maximize the opportunities within an internship. I will be interning with a major Wall Street firm and would like to get the most out of this experience. Any advice you may have for an intern would be greatly appreciated.
Internships can be a great way to be exposed to a new career opportunity and gain insights on whether or not it is right for you. Be aware that you may be asked to do anything and everything and some things may seem trivial or menial; just take it all in and "go with the flow". Keep track of all the things you do that you like and appeal to you about the potential career and as long as they outweigh the negatives go forward with your plans. Look for people that may be potential mentors for you and get to know them and ask for their help in learning everything you can during the internship. Finally don't hesitate in being proactive, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
All the best,
Thank you for your service. I think a lot of great advice has been listed. I would reiterate a few items:
-- Try and be helpful no matter how little is much appreciated
-- Ask for frequent formal feedback throughout your internship; show progress throughout the internship
-- Figure out who are the "go-to" people for certain skills, contacts
-- Find a peer or other new person to go to prior to your manager
Best of luck! Please let me know how else I can help.
Jeremey, Thank you for your service. The advice of the other advisors makes complete sense, get involved with as many projects and people as possible to maximize exposure. I would take it one step further and position yourself as the "go-to person" and a low maintenance employee. Volunteer, underpromise and over-deliver. Wall St. is a different beast and very detail oriented for different reasons; in Investment Banking (M&A, Corp Fin, etc) , your PowerPoint presentations have to be immaculate, consistency of formatting and zero typo's. In Sales & Trading, numbers have to exact as errors can result in significant monetary losses. The most difficult challenge for managers is accessing a candidate's attention to detail; during an internship you have the opportunity to prove this invaluable characteristic. Good luck!
Congratulations on the internship - they are very competitive! You've already received excellent advice, so I would just add that it is often very useful to join any organized or informal social activities that take place. Remember, you can also learn much from other interns and even (one) drink after work, for example, can be a great time to network with people who are occupied during the work day. Best of luck, Beth
Keith has great advice. Research your company. Know everything you can about it. Take a look at their website and have questions ready to ask on your first day if you don't understand something.
While internships are often a tool employers use to decide whether or not to hire someone, they are also a great place for you to build up your references. We often have internships that are not directly linked to an open position. Make sure you make a good enough impression on the person supervising you that they will be comfortable being a professional reference for you in the future.
Take every opportunity to learn about the company. For example, take advantage of Lunch and Learns or other similar training activities whenever possible. We have a rotation program that we do for our new hires where someone from different departments comes and speaks for 10 minutes to tell new hires what that department does. See if the organizaiton you intern for has something like this and whether or not you can attend. (We have our interns attend in addition to our new hires.)
Get involved, and enjoy the experience!
Besides what has been stated by Cyril and Keith, I would add that do not be hesitant in getting involved, and asking for it, in projects/meetings etc. that you would like to get involved in. Similarly do not be hesitant in expressing your thoughts on issues you are dealing with. Bear in mind that though you may not have the experience and the full context of the business, you do have an outsiders perspective i.e. a fresh perspective, that is not conditioned by being there for a long time, and you have a lot of life experiences in other contexts which you can relate to the company on Wall Street you are at.
All of this, of course, depends on the openness and receptiveness of the people you are working with, and the respect/trust you earn from them with your thoughts/ideas and work ethic. And coming from the Army, you have a very rich experience. So apply yourself, be engaged and you will be surprised to to see there is more in common in organizations than most of us realize.
Finally, best of luck, you will do great in whatever you choose to do and apply yourself to.
Internships are a key step in what should be a two-way hiring process. They are an opportunity for the company to decide if you are someone they want to hire and for you to decide if they are a company you want to work for. Sometimes useful work gets done as well, and that's a bonus, but often the internship is too short for that to really happen.
With this in mind, to everything you can to not only do high quality work (of course) but learn about the company and the field. Try to have lunch with a different person every day to ask them about their job, their career, what they like and don't like, etc. Not only will this help you decide if it's somewhere you want to work in a permanent position, it's a great way to network.
Good luck and have fun!
Internships can be extremely helpful in both developing skills as well as future contacts for employment. My daughter did an internship while in college. She was able to see how the academic world differs from the corporate world, and learned some skills she was able to use in her career, and also met some people within the organization that assisted her in securing employment when she graduated. She also worked with people, who later, helped her in a job change. Find the right organization to intern for, and try to learn as much as you can about the company, prior to taking the assignment.
Hi Jeremy, thank you for your service. I echo much of the advice already given. Besides providing quality work, this is a great opportunity to network by show casing your strong work ethic and work quality. Additionally, take time to set up informational interviews with company hiring managers. Seek their advice. Have some ideas about where and what you want to do. The hiring manager is not a career counselor, more over he/she can share perspectives based on his/her career and company culture. Good luck.
Congrats! In addition to the other great advice here, I'll add one more - interns have a golden opportunity to network all over a large organization. When full time employees start asking to meet with other managers, their department gets nervous, but interns who ask to meet different teams in order to understand the whole business, and how their team / function supports the broader firm are able to gain a powerful network, but are praised for their initiative.
Thank you for your service and congratulations on landing the internship.
The success of your internship experience is predominantly your responsibility. I have found that the best interns optimize the experience by being proactive, willing to do whatever ii takes, and by looking for opportunities to make a contribution and connect with people who may be able to help them both now and later on in their career.
While most internships do not lead to full-time employment, many companies have formalized internship programs that segue to full-time roles. The best interns do not necessarily bring a lot of experience and know-how to the firm but rather a solid work ethic, a collaborative attitude, and an eagerness to learn and to make a difference.
Once you are at the firm, search the Intranet for volunteer programs offered by the company, go to lunch and learn meetings and listen to experts share their advice, ask someone to spend 20 minutes with you over a cup of coffee. (While many people are put off when asked to be "mentors" because they fear it will become a huge investment of time, most people are happy to have coffee and to be asked for their advice.)
Always present yourself in the best manner possible, develop your network, connect with those you work with on LinkedIn, and make sure you make a positive impression and leave a positive legacy.
Best of luck to you!
I'm sure there is some great feedback from the other folks posting. Here's my best advice:
Everyone has a problem. They have something that nags at them everyday and on most days, they sweep it under the rug just to be nagged again tomorrow. Sometimes it's challenging customer calls that only they have "authority" to handle, sometimes it's a weekly report, the list goes on and on. If I were in an internship I would find the problems of your potential hiring manager. Try to get as close to his or her problem and once you sincerely find the problem, provide the solution. If that means doing it for them, do it. If that means prepping it for them to just lift a finger in order to complete it, prep it. Everyone can do their own job description, but just because you do the minimum it doesn't make you valuable. Find the problem, learn the problem, breathe the problem, and fix the problem.
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