4 Mistakes I Made As An Investment Banking Intern That I I Wish I Could Go Back And Fix

I learned 10x more during my 10wk banking internship than I did in my entire first 3yr of college.

I could’ve learned 1000x more and been way less stressed if I changed a few things: 1) Wheel Spinning; 2) Weekends; 3) Targeted Networking; and 4) Note Taking For Future Resume Bullets.

Read this if you want to maximize your learning and secure that return.


1 ) Wheel Spinnin’

Getting assigned a task you have ZERO clue where to even start is like not knowing how to swim and getting pushed into the deep end without floaties.

Find the balance between exhausting resources to “take a stab” & asking for help:

  • Ask for examples / references when given assignment
  • Repeat understanding of task in own words back to associate to clear expectations
  • Spend 30min using google + peers + files in drive to come up with SOMETHING
  • Send to associate at 30min mark to see if on right track

Associates will be pissed off if you “spin your wheels” for 2hr and make zero progress


2 ) Not Taking Notes For Future Resume Bullets

You’ll get the buyside recruiter emails starting first semester SR year & freak out because you forgot the details of your internship & can’t think of good bullets for it.

You’ll make JUICY bullets faster than Usain can run a 100yd dash if you:

  • Keep notes sheet on phone for contributions (responsibilities, #’s, deliverables)
  • Block 15min twice a week to update it before leaving office

3 ) Scatterbrain Networking Approach

Quality > Quantity. Would you rather have two BEST friends or 100 surface level friendships?

You can kill two birds with one stone having REPEAT COFFEE CHATS w/ deal team folks.

You’ll get double the insight from every chat that you have with deal teams because they give CONTEXT to projects you’re working on. Also builds deeper bond. You will feel more comfortable reaching out to them later in your career if you have a deeper connection opposed to if you only chatted with them once.

Plus - they’ll have more to say about you when asked about your performance at return offer szn.

My Tips:

  • Block regular weekly catch up with the JRs on your most active deals
  • Bi-weekly email reminder to set up chat SRs on same 2-3 deals

4 ) Using Weekends Wrong

Lebron James sleeps 12 hours a day.

Weekdays are a sprint - you need to recover like an athlete. Prioritize weekend sleep.

Yes - go out & socialize with your intern class. Keep it to a drink or two & sleep before 2am

Get out of cramped NYU dorm and crank out some work at the office:

  • Chip away at final project
  • Chance to have 1 on 1, more relaxed interactions with bankers that’re in

Point Is - You’ll soak up years of knowledge in 10wk if you have a tactical approach from the start

 

Great post, super helpful. On the networking point, what’s the best way to do these chats with people who are not on your immediate deal teams?

 

Solid question. If there is a seating chart on the shared drive, you can look where their desk is and just swing by and introduce yourself. Mention you’d love to catch up over coffee sometime in next couple weeks if they’d be open to it.

Otherwise can email. Gotta use the benefit of having company email address while you can - 100% response rate within firm :)

Let me know if sending examples would help

 

Yeah an example would be great. Feels a bit awkward to be emailing a guy you probably see around the office everyday.

 

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