How to Not Feel Anxious About SA Internship

Starting my SA internship in less than two weeks. While I am excited, I've been increasingly anxious about the internship. I've never done an internship as big as this one before, and I'm already feeling the pressure to do well and get a return offer (which I would like to). I've been anxious about whether I'll be good enough and how I'll be with people from schools that have done insane things like building models from scratch. I would greatly appreciate any advice on how you dealt with pressure and how to succeed this summer. 


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Agreed it can be super stressful to think about “what if I don’t get this return offer” etc etc. Ngl though you have to change your mindset and your lifestyle. I promise if you go into your internship with this frame of mind, it won’t be the best outcome. You have to truly just be yourself - be curious, ask good questions (not dumb ones), know that you are an intern there to help your team for anything and that you are willing to learn. When I say “be yourself” I don’t mean it in a relationship advice type of way, I more so mean to know your place as an intern and a university student/graduate and to act accordingly. There is nothing better to do on your internship than to be available, be happy to work on anything, and to be intellectually curious. The formula really is simple, and as soon as you shift your mindset and realise that the steps to become a good intern are simple then your actions and results will follow. Don’t overcomplicate it and think about what’s ahead. Think about what’s now. You’ll do great champ


Thanks for the advice and encouraging words, really appreciate it. By “dumb” questions do u mean questions that can easily be googled? Also what are some examples of good questions to ask


I think it's hard to give examples without context, but yeah if something can be googled, then google it before asking. That being said, a huge mistake people make is treating this as doctrine and wasting too much time chasing dead ends on Google. If you spend 5-10 minutes trying to figure something relatively basic out and Google still isn't giving you what you want, then it's good to move on to an analyst.

Questions that go down well are generally those that demonstrate curiosity and interest in the field (sounds obvious but it's easier said than done).
- If a team member shows you or tells you about something they are working on, then it's usually appreciated if you ask them questions about why they did things a certain way.
- explaining that you've tried a few options but you would like their point of view/guidance on which one is best


Try not to think that your life is over if you don't convert. Whenever I've mentally turned things into life or death situations it doesn't usually go well. Even if worst case scenario happens you have solid exp on your resume so will be in a solid spot to rerecruit if it comes to it.


Building a classroom-type model from scratch can be learned in a long weekend using a course. Sure, it won’t be as complex as that of a company you’d model in IB/PE/HF/ER, but you’ll get the basic idea for how to create a template, how to grow each line, and how the statements flow into each other. You can get that down in maybe 10-20 hours of learning/practice.

But that doesn’t matter. They’re not going to have an intern build models from scratch on day one because 1) Why would they trust you to build something that might affect a client?, 2) They’ll have better uses for you than “let’s test him and see if he can build a model from scratch,” and 3) The models they’ll use are volumes more complex than what’s used in school or on online courses, I guarantee it.

Whether you convert or not is going to depend on whether you competently complete the tasks they give you (most likely making PowerPoint slides and writing random paragraphs about management and pitching companies), whether you are socially appropriate (have a good attitude, are easy to talk to and work with, show that you’re giving a full effort), and how many spaces the group has for someone of your demographic and connectedness-level in the incoming class.


Dumb question because haven't interned before. When interns work 9am-12pm is all of that time utilised doing work or is there breaks when you aren't doing anything. Only ask because my brain starts to get fried when I study for more than 8 hours a day


I’m not sure whether things have changed for the worse, but, generally, interns do not work from 9am-12am everyday (assume that’s what you meant). That is relatively standard for a first-year analyst, but the goal of the internship isn’t for you to work 75+ hour weeks for the entire summer. That being said, some groups might be different, I’m not sure.

Yes, there is “you’re at your desk but not actively working” time. There shouldn’t be too much of it, but it’s not like trading, where you cannot step away for five minutes.


Assuming you are a non-target from your "people from schools that have done insane things like building models from scratch" comment. First off as others have said building some model in class or in a prep course barely takes a weekend if you are new. That is in no way insane. Next, do not be intimidated by people who went to target schools. I interned at a BB as a non-target and had the exact same feelings until I started. Target school kids are not gods. They are not naturally better than you. Sure they may be book smart or have alumni connections but IMO that means nothing as an intern. All that matters is who wants it more. Be the one that stays late. Be the one that smiles when they get work. Be the one who never complains. Be coachable. If you do these with your best effort you will very likely get a return.

As for the anxiety I will say it again, no one is naturally better than you. I know it is easy to think target kids do "insane things like building models from scratch" but you will soon see there is little to no difference if you are a hard worker. You aren't building rocketships with advanced calculus you are doing stuff a random guy off the street can do if you train them for a few months.

Anyway, fully admit I am envious of targets hahaha. D1 hater at heart. I still think its all true though.


Yeah I believe so as the firm I’ll be at has no formal recruitment team for my school. I’ve seen posts on LinkedIn about some interns doing these stock competitors with financial models and related materials and that’s where I got the thought from. It makes sense that the actual models used on the job r pretty different from the ones students use haha. And thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it. I’m definitely gonna use it to change my mindset about this summer.


Other people have already said to relax and not worry about it ending your life, and I agree. But also, at most banks, it really is your offer to lose. And to lose it, you have to really screw up. Doing mediocre work, etc is kind of okay, honestly. Everyone always says “just have a good attitude” and before I went through it, I didn’t understand how anyone wouldn’t, but some people actually do. So if you have a decent attitude and don’t do anything horrible (socially, etc - we expect you to make egregious work mistakes), you’ll honestly get the offer (assuming you’re not at a bank that gives like twice the SA offers as full time spots)


Honestly it’s no where near as hard as you think and the challenging stuff like modeling is probably not going to be the deciding factor. Pretty much be a cool dude and work harder than the other interns without screwing anything up terribly and you will be good.


Be the first one in and last one to leave for a start. If you have down time be proactive in doing stuff that needs to be done. Go into the office when others are enjoying the weekend. Obviously don’t overdue all of this.


Just be diligent and don’t fuck up, ask questions (without being annoying), ensure things get delivered in time (it may mean staying late), be cool and nice to work with. 

Pretty much agree that you just have to be cool and good pretty much. 

no one is gonna give you anything technical. That being said, if you’ve never seen a P&L before, good luck with your internship. 


Chill the fuck out and don’t be stressed. Grind as hard as you can, talk to as many people as you can, and at the end of the day that’s all you can do. 

also worst case scenario you don’t get banking? So what? You got an internship with a great firm on your resume and can do something else. 

as someone who grinded for years to get into banking and is getting grinded to a pulp in a bad group in banking, I legitimately think that I would’ve been better off not getting a return offer and not doing banking. Just chill out, work hard, do your best. 


I kind of agree with that.

Study hard because you want to intern. Work hard to get a FT. Then work hard to get the A2A promote or PE gig. Then work hard to be promoted. Never ends. I sometimes think it I would be fired or something at least I would have free time to travel the world for a bit. 

In life things often work out. Just gotta make the most of your current situation. 


Hi, I was wondering if you could tell me how you feel about your compensation and if its under or right on? What do you mean by "better off not getting a return offer" ?


It's also important to remember that one of the key metrics that banks assess is your improvement over the 10 weeks rather than your initial starting point. There will more likely than not be an intern that is more polished than you or that has done more corporate finance work in the past but if you can demonstrate a greater capacity to think critically, absorb information and learn from your mistakes/just generally learn from others in the office, then you will be regarded in a really strong light.


I don't agree with that. 

On the one hand, people want to see that you are “teachable”. 

On the other hand, you won’t have time to improve that much in 2 months. You ideally kinda have to be good. That said, nobody is going to expect much of a summer intern so if you have a good grasp of PPT / XLS and corporate finance concepts, the most important thing is to be likeable and reliable IMO (reliable meaning you get things done on time, ask questions when relevant, offer solutions, figure things out as much as possible. If you don’t know something, don’t hide it under the rug. Worst thing you can do)


You have to think that for your average bank on an average year, return rates are going to be >90%. Unless you’re going to the shitshows right now (Blair for example), odds are in your favor.

I was nervous as well. However, I was surprised by how low the bar was at my firm and my friends’ (i.e. almost everyone got a return offer and for anybody who didn’t get one, everyone including them knew it was coming). I mean seriously, I’ve heard of interns getting hammered at corporate outings and still being fine. Second, to de-stress, while it seems like a big entrance to corporate world for interns, full-time employees honestly treat it as a little summer camp where they can relive their college/intern summer experiences vicariously a bit. They don’t expect you to know much at all (they each you the very basics in training) but just expect you to learn (which imo is purely attitude).

In sum, for most places, you have to mess up or be pretty bad to not get one. For the rest that have low return rates, it’s kind out of your control anyways so no point in worrying.


Being an intern is all about bringing refreshing new energy to the office. It’s why offices enjoy summer analyst season — because no one brings as much enthusiasm as unjaded interns.

Show enthusiasm at all times and be down to work on anything. Embrace challenges, be friendly, and always smile.


What are some good questions to ask your boss on day 1?  I am working at a small office this summer and my internship will be very unstructured.  


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