It’s that time of year again. The investment banks are opening their doors to floods of summer interns, all looking to make a lasting impression to secure a full-time position. But, in such a competitive industry, what can you do to stand out?
We asked an M&A banker at a global US investment bank to share their top tips on excelling in an investment banking internship.
Be Able to Learn Quickly & Ask
It is likely that you will make a few mistakes along the way, we’re only human. However, investment bankers will be looking to see whether you are able to acknowledge these in order to avoid making the same error twice. As soon as you suspect something is wrong, ask for help. This is the only way you will be able to progress forward.
Remember: only turn to analysts for help. Go to anyone more senior and you will likely be frowned upon.
Be Diligent and Demonstrate Attention to Detail
It is essential that you take precautions to avoid making mistakes in the first place. Ask for a peer review from another intern or print out your work and check it before submission. This will show the full-timer’s that you care about delivering the best result, even if that means taking a bit longer on a certain project. It is not quite a case of slow and steady because deadlines are critical, but accuracy should always trump speed.
The whole point of taking an internship is to learn as much as you can about the job role and all it entails. You must ensure you listen where necessary, and always possess a good attitude. No one likes a know-it-all, and you certainly won’t know-it-all if you are interning. Be attentive and absorb the experience as much as you can.
Demonstrate a Willingness to Work
You need to pull out all the stops if you want to differentiate yourself from other interns. Investment banks value self-starters so always seek out new work and exceed expectations. For instance, you could do more analysis than asked for or assign yourself an additional task that will benefit you and your team. It is essential that you are willing to go the extra mile and put in all the hours. If you have to pull an all-nighter then do so.
Don’t forget: a smile goes a long way. Even if you’ve barely slept and have tons of work to get through, it’s important to remain positive. Try to not to appear over-enthusiastic, however, as this could come across as fake. It’s important to strike a balance.