We’re in the heart of intern season, which means thousands of bright-eyed college and graduate students are putting in the hours, setting themselves up for long distinctive careers on Wall Street. Others, meanwhile, are shooting themselves in foot, killing their chances of finding work down the road, at least at the bank in which they’re interning.
In an effort to help keep the latter group as small as possible, we reached out to four vice presidents on Wall Street – two investment bankers at bulge bracket firms, a hedge fund exec and a consultant – to capture the dos and don’ts of being an intern. Each source not only currently manages interns, but has been one in the past at the MBA level. Two are female and two are male. They asked to remain anonymous to give you the real dirt. And off we go…
Male VP – Investment Banking
- Don’t take your necktie off. Ever.
- Be awesome to your assistant – she’s probably one of the boss’s assistants?too.
- Walk fast everywhere – people will think you are?busy.
- Don’t ever, ever ask for more work.
- When you get an offer, people will expect you to make a speech. Be prepared.
Female Hedge Fund Exec:
- Don’t wear flip flops to work in the morning,?even if it’s from the elevator to your desk. My feet?hurt too. Suck it up.
- Heels should be no higher than 4 inches. Leave your Louboutins at home. Only secretaries where the red soles to work.
- Don’t carry a bag that is exponentially nicer than your boss’s. And no logos. You don’t have to go super budget with a Kate Spade or Michael Kors Outlet catastrophe, but be cognizant of your surroundings. Saint Laurent or Valextra are fine.
- Don’t count calories openly if you are skinny. Use MyFitnessPal or some other app discreetly on your iPhone.
- No screen saver shot of your “amazing” boyfriend of __years.
- If flying on business, NEVER wear an underwire bra, it will set off the X-ray machine at security.
Female VP – Investment Banking:
- Ask questions! Don’t sit at your desk for hours spinning your wheels because you don’t understand something. If you have spent more than 5 minutes trying to figure something out and you know it shouldn’t take long, ask another person in your summer class and if they don’t know ask a full time analyst. Everyone assumes you are dumb and don’t know anything about this job. They won’t think less of you if you ask a question.