How common is it for interns to not do much work?

I just started a private banking internship. AUM isn't much - I'm not sure, but somewhere between $80mn and $150mn. In the domestic market (which is not exactly a huge market), this is sizable. The bank I am interning at is known domestically but does not operate much internationally or regionally. 

Today was my first day. I was given the task of writing a report on the domestic macroeconomic climate, alongside writing a short summary of whether or not the bank should invest in purchasing a certain bond. My country is practically notorious in regard to how shitty internships in large organizations can be. I feel like the work I'm conducting is largely busy work, not really meant to generate any added value for the bank. It was also about 2 hours worth of work in an 8 hour work day. The rest was spent mainly on Reddit.

Is this normal?

Comments (12)

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Gen
Aug 2, 2021 - 1:45pm

Yes, sounds like my internship lol. Just be thankful, easiest money ever.

Aug 2, 2021 - 3:29pm
ElitistPopulist, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What do you do with all that spare time? I'm thinking of taking a course from HarvardX. It's nothing like a proper Harvard degree in making for a super meaningful addition to my resume, but I've read that those courses can still contribute decently to future job promotions and career development more generally.

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Gen
Aug 2, 2021 - 4:28pm

I didn't do anything productive lol. I always just asked if anyone had something I could help with. When they said no and that I should log off and go do something fun, that's what I did.

Aug 2, 2021 - 2:43pm
JoeCamel, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Make the most of it  - know the clients, try to source new leads, etc. Maybe you can get a nice commission or make some good contacts to back your next venture while you're there. 


  • 4
Aug 2, 2021 - 3:26pm
ElitistPopulist, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Tasks were simpler than I made them sound I suppose. A very short PPT proposal for which I was told to just read from Moodys and understand and copy relevant information. Probably because it's my first day and they wanted to introduce me to the very basics. Report was similarly simple - a one-pager outlining changes in macroeconomic indicators and their basic relevance.

Aug 3, 2021 - 11:42am
StonksAlwaysGoUp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Must be kidding me? it's your first official day and your complaining about the workload wtf?! Give it a few months man. Technically your a net-negative for like 6months even as a grad, so don't be expecting to contribute anything meaningful as an intern. Soak up as much information as you can and try to be inquisitive

Aug 3, 2021 - 12:23pm
ElitistPopulist, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yeah you're right. And also it got a bit better today, I should probably give it some time.

I just expected that with all the talk about how grueling finance internships can be, that I'd be under piles of work constantly.

Then again, I'm not interning at a BB or the likes.

Most Helpful
Aug 3, 2021 - 3:53pm
Addinator, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If it's helpful, you don't want to be piled under work constantly. Internships provide the best advantage to network within a firm, network with other firms or people (while you are there) and frankly access to things you might not have otherwise. That's market information, research, industry knowledge, etc. Consume all of it you can - and then some. 

The work itself? If you get some interesting projects - that's icing on the cake. Much of it will feel like busy work, and in most cases people are figuring out what you can actually accomplish. Show you can handle little things, move to bigger things. Don't get too caught up in thinking you are going to do a full blow, hyper analytical evaluation of a specific company or build a firm changing model on something - it's possible, we had an intern that absolutely killed it for us - but not common. 

 I'd also encourage you to take the time to really evaluate what you want and interests you. I remember being so caught up in trying to tackle every problem the firm has, when really I could have spent more time thinking about - do I actually want to do this stuff? Take your time, build some experience, it will get better as it goes on. 

Aug 3, 2021 - 1:11pm
arkansastigers, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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