The "Not So Obvious" things that get you a return offer?

Hey everyone, heading into my first IB internship this summer, no other finance work experience (prev. big 4 audit internship) and want to hear from full timers on the lesser known things that secure the return offer. By this I mean things other than being able to adapt to work, ask questions, not making same mistake over and over - basically the things that aren't talked about but from your perspective really makes huge a difference in your opinion on the intern.

As a bonus, would love to hear 1) what's a cardinal sin you've seen that guarantees the intern WONT get an offer and 2) who actually makes the decision / most impact on the return? The Analyst/Associate you work with? VP/staffers? MD?

Thanks in advance!

 

Not too IB-specific, but there are a few things to keep in mind for the corporate world: 

(1) Slow and accurate is better than quick and messy 

whenever you receive a task, add a buffer for how long you think it'll take to build in time for review or for other assignments, tasks or problems arising in that span. Reviewing any written documentation, model update, or even just email notes is crucial because your work will speak for itself. There are ways to improve your accuracy (take a walk after 90 minute working session and review with fresh eyes, print the document itself and read it on paper to highlight/circle things), but the gist is to set the standard for the quality of work you provide your supervisor and colleagues. 

(2)  Visibility and approachability matters 

Taking initiative and seeing if other colleagues or supervisors need work, or seeing if they have 15-20 minutes run you through their current assignment task (generally just internally networking), will help you stand out. I'm not sure how common this is in IB, but the reasons or ways I've always stood out is just being curious about the firm's ecosystem and understanding the different workflows and stuff that gets done by my peers and colleagues. This can also bring on opportunities if you realize someone is working on an Excel and they could do it faster/quicker with a Power Query or a better logic function (more for corporate world than IB I'm sure). 

(3) It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint

It doesn't matter as much if you pull an all-nighter one night if it leads to you calling in sick the next day. With the corproate world, the most important factor is simply showing up day in and day out. You'll have good days, great days and some really sh*t days as well. Life happens, you get sick, or get bad news, or don't get enough sleep, or get put on a deal at the 11th hour. In those moments, more than anything, just showing up and doing the work is important. 


(4) Be Coachable

One thing to remember is to come into the office with humility. If the supervisor or colleague is mentioning how to model or breakdown a company or trends in a sector, even if you know it, even if you're thinking "yah, yah yah", just bite your tongue and learn from the supervisor with an open mind. It's natural for many analyst to be someone egotistic in their stints, it's only natural after spending near endless hours getting into the firm, but the folks you work with have more experience in the execution of the work, and if they're taking the time to teach you or show you something, make sure to be coachable and open-minded. 

__________________
 

These are some ever-green rules of thumb to keep in mind for the corporate world. It's more geared towards creating a good mindset going into work that helps you perform day in and day out. 

As for what NOT to do... I'd say showing up bored, distracted, or entitled will pretty much do it. There was this infamous story of an intern who didn't attend her capstone presentation and was almost immediately exited shortly after. 

 
Most Helpful

1) You piss people off in some way, usually an attitude issue, breaking social corporate norms or horrible work product (like not even knowing excel but that can be salvaged with a good attitude and politics). We didn't give a kid a return offer because their overall demeanor was unprofessional, like greeting VP's with "wusssup" and acted like they were chronically high.

2) Most firms have a designated HR person that officially makes the decision and extends offers but it's actually the entire team. They hold round tables mid and end summer where everyone gives their feedback on each intern and what they think of them. 

From what I've seen, interns tend to underestimate the relationship aspect of the role in that they only focus on the summer project and the work they've been staffed on and nothing else. You need to have the entire floor/floors know who you are so they speak well of you in the roundtable. Go introduce yourself to every team and ask about their jobs. Even if you don't do any work for them, they'll know who you are and will speak highly of you since you went to them and asked questions. 

 

1. Attitude as others have said. Keep a fucking smile on your face. Never complain about work even to other interns (everyone can probably hear you). Be happy to take on more work. Be happy to stay late. Be thankful that you have work to do as it lets you prove yourself.

2. Respond to every email that gave you a task ASAP acknowledging its receipt and when you will get started. It’s a small thing but it makes you seem like you really have your shit together. Also your analyst or associate won’t have to worry about you not seeing it or some bs. 
 

3. coffee chat it up. Schedule with quite a few people but don’t make it seem like you’re farming a return offer. Be genuine and try and learn about them.

4. Know your place. You don’t know anything. Everyone knows more than you. Please do not ever be arrogant and think you are something you aren’t. 
 

5. do not do anything politically incorrect. No funny business. Yes, I would probably laugh but it’s a rep risk lol.

6. don’t be dramatic. No one cares you had a late night. Don’t come in sulking around about how hard you worked.

7. Finally and probably the most difficult, try not black out at karaoke. 

 

Agree with all other big points mentioned but a smaller point I have seen from the social side is interns getting to comfortable. Yes, you want to build great relationships and be able to pass the 10 hour airport test but too many times have I seen interns making weird off-color jokes or tacking on to playful roasting of analysts etc along these lines. And YES, I have seen these exact instances brought up in offer conversations and being deciding factors. Being the cool-kid with one MD but rubbing the rest of the team the wrong way might get you the offer but not a great look when placement / real work comes.

- Opinion coming from S&T experience but I feel others would agree.

 
[Comment removed by mod team]
 

Some good advice in the thread. Here's some reasons I've dinged / seen interns get dinged in the past on top of those:

  • Focusing too narrowly on seniors: Have had a couple interns now who decided that "well if XYZ MD likes me, I'm good" and spent a ton of energy sucking up to them. Not only does this eventually get annoying to seniors, but it can also annoy juniors / midlevels if they feel like they're being circumvented by an intern. Keep in mind that MD knows their more junior colleagues spend the most time with people and will generally defer to their recommendation
  • Being a hardo: We all know the guy who only wants to talk about markets, business, etc. and generally don't like them... but it's especially annoying when it's an intern whose only perspective comes from regurgitating WSJ articles instead of firsthand exposure
  • Lack of code-switching: I've seen interns call me sir, which is weird and off-putting... and I've seen interns talk to MDs like they're the analyst they're going to happy hour with afterwards. Adjust your decorum and communication style with who you're speaking to
  • Trying to do too much: This one will maybe be controversial, but I don't love when interns put their hand up to handle workstreams they aren't capable of taking on (e.g. asking to hold the model for a complex deal). Buddy, you've barely completed the easy task I assigned to you two days ago, think twice before you try to handle something that's actually important. It's fine to show an interest in a deal / project, but please let people more in-the-know handle delegation of workstreams. I promise we all know that you're eager to learn and advance your career. 
 
Funniest

For me, I worked hard every day, made sure to be super polite and always was the last to leave the office.  I bonded with my team, bought everyone drinks after work, and always took notes.  As a result, my Dad (who works at the partner position -- idk what he really does but all the analysts told me he was awesome) introduced me to all of the MDs.  Because of my great personality, and hard work, I was easily able to get a return offer.  

 

Do NOT make anyone uncomfortable. No jokes at the analysts’ or even other interns’ expense, no weird comments about different races/abilities/genders/religions, no getting too physically close to people or talking about strange things you’ve done. Err on the side of complete professionalism, even if it seems more boring to you than being the “cool” or “fun” guy.

We’ve had interns at happy hours sharing their inebriated experiences at raves, offering to buy drinks for the women on the team, talking about how successful their buddy’s ayahuasca business is at “fixing autism”… no matter what the bankers say to you in-person in that moment, I promise they are not impressed. Don’t do or talk about weird shit.

 

1) Helping your fellow summers out - at the end of the day you are all competing for the same return offer but if you're able to quickly grasp a component of your summer project or deliverable that your peers are struggling on and you take the initiative to share that knowledge it goes a long way to show you're a team player

2) Treat everyone on the floor with respect - depending on your firm your team may share the floor with support staff, just because they aren't working a "front-office" role doesn't mean they are lesser than you, if you're seated by them, get to know them, chat with them during slow periods as you would with the deal teams your staffed on

3) Most firms/groups will have an internal "best-practices" document that covers formatting conventions, how to export excel tables to ppt, and other things that are probably muscle memory to everyone that is FT, the more you can get the "fundamentals" correct on the tasks your given (i.e. correct font, colors) the less turns you'll have to iterate through and it shows you took the initiative to learn how the team "does things"

 

Doesn't matter how late you work or how stressed you are. Senior folks get really upset when you appear tired or are in a bad mood. 

Worked past 2AM 6 weeks straight? Feeling tired and anxious? Doesn't matter, come into work the next day with a smile and a chipper attitude. 

"I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse."
 

Get close to junior staff. By this I mean become rlly close friends with around 2 associate/analyst (preferably one associate atleast). Basically become bros w them to a point they will talk shit w u like complain about a new rule or MDs etc. When it comes down to deliberation they will have ur back like no one else and will literally argue or even even get mad at other as/an/vps who don’t want to give you a return offer cause who would want to lose a friend?

 

BankingPenguin:

Get close to junior staff. By this I mean become rlly close friends with around 2 associate/analyst (preferably one associate atleast). Basically become bros w them to a point they will talk shit w u like complain about a new rule or MDs etc. When it comes down to deliberation they will have ur back like no one else and will literally argue or even even get mad at other as/an/vps who don’t want to give you a return offer cause who would want to lose a friend?


My two cents is that this doesn’t work. I’ve seen juniors be like “yeah we go out and he’s cool… also a dumbass. Banking isn’t for him.” Friendships only go so far - don’t count on getting closer with an Aso in 10 weeks than the entire team is / has been for years.

 

lol ive literally seen an ASO say about an AN who left "yeah she was super funny and nice but banking isn't for her", and thats someone he knew for 1year+. What makes you think they would come batting for someone they've known for 9 or 8 weeks?

 

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