Unpaid Internship is Paradise

It’s 9:30 at night, and you’re a rising sophomore at a non-target. While your buddies Chad, Brad, and Thad from Delta Tau Delta are partying on the beaches of Santorini and getting mad bitches, you are hard at work on V67 of a pitch deck that your Managing Director requested. After all, you are a 2023 Investment Banking Summer Analyst.

From the first meeting of your school’s premiere finance organization, you knew that you were destined for a life at the top- a life in Investment Banking. Despite hearing from upperclassmen about how hard it is to break into banking after undergrad, you were determined to be one of the 15 kids your school sent to Wall Street every year. After typing in “how to become an investor banker” on google, you came across a website that can only be made by God himself, Wall Street Oasis.

After scrolling through 100’s of posts ranging from “How to break into Investment Banking as a non-target” to “Is insert non-target a semi-target”, you came to the ultimate conclusion: to break into Investment Banking, it is imperative to do a freshman internship.

Sleep deprived, you look over and see your roommates, Chad, Brad, and Thad asleep with half naked chicks from Kappa Kappa Gamma. “Hah, watch in 5 years. When I’m an Investment Banker in New York City, I will acquire all the females!” You have never felt the touch of a woman.

You go to sleep alone.

Upon waking up, you begin to fire emails out to every investment banker you can find on LinkedIn. Eventually, you get a response. “Hey Prospect, happy to chat. Does 3 PM work?”. You are elated, since this is the first person out of 154 emails to respond to you. You quickly respond back “Hi Derek, thanks for your response. 3 PM sounds good!”. After doing research, you find out that Derek works at FT Partners. You spend hours thinking of questions to ask him.

3 PM rolls around, and you nervously call up Derek for your very first informational interview. Just how you were taught in your finance club, you start the call with the generic introduction script, “Hey Derek, I'm a freshman at-" Derek quickly interrupts. “Hi Prospect, I’ll start off with a little about myself. I'm an analyst at FT Partners, an Elite Boutique on Wall Street, where we earn $140K base.” As he says that, a shiver runs down your spine. You feel yourself on the verge of violent ejaculation, but you control yourself. Upon talking to Derek, you realize that you must be willing to do an unpaid internship to break into a caliber of firm like Financial Technology Partners.

And just like that, your quest begins to secure a freshman year internship. After hundreds of cold emails, dozens of calls, and a few interviews, you finally get an offer from Oak Haven Capital Advisors as an unpaid Investment Banking Summer Analyst. Later that night, at the end of the meeting for your school’s premiere finance organization, you walk up to John, a junior who was headed to Bank of America as a Summer Analyst in the Investment Banking Division covering an industry called “Credit Risk Management”. With a sly grin, you notify him of your offer, asking him “If it's any good” in an attempt to humble flex. “Bro, you should never work for free, if a firm offers an unpaid internship they’re usually a scam” he responds. You shrug, figuring he doesn’t know the level of Oak Haven Capital Advisors. In fact, they just advised on a $1.8M transaction of a farm, putting them on the top of the league tables for Agriculture M&A transactions in Boone, Iowa.

The next day, in your Business-105 class, you turn to Jessica, a girl you’ve had an affinity for since the first day of undergrad. “Hey Jessica, what’s up. I just got an offer for Investment Banking in the upcoming town of Boone, Iowa!” “What’s that?” she responds “is that like fancy accounting?” You proceed to spend the next 5 minutes trying to explain how as an Investment Banker, you will be working on “big deals” and have “exposure to C-level executives at a young age”. Disinterested, she turns away and begins to talk to Brad about the party tonight at Delta Tau Delta. You didn’t receive a bid since the brothers called you a goober after you asked how the frat managed risk.

Finally, summer begins and you start to work as an Investment Banking Summer Analyst at Oak Haven Capital Advisors. The MD, George, graduated from a top-10 business school called IU Kelley. Normally, George only recruits other Kelley freshmen, but he decided to bend the rules for you after you cold-emailed 47 times in a row (your school's premiere finance organization forgot to teach students proper email etiquette). He had you do a variety of tasks, including calling dry cleaners to pick up his J.Crew suits, picking up coffee, and occasionally, fixing formatting on pitch decks. You worked from 8 am often until midnight, as you are an official investment banker (for the summer at least). You would reach home at 6 pm, where your MD would send pitch decks for you to edit and logos for you to align.

Your parents worried for you, hoping that you weren’t being taken advantage of. “What do you know dad! I’m working on Wall Street while you’re working a normal brokie job!” He was being paid $125k a year, while you were slaving away for free. One night, you get a call from one of your buddies. “Bro, there's a party at my place tonight, mad girls, Jessica’s gonna be there too.” You excitedly wrap up your work at 6 pm sharp. As you head out, your MD yells out from behind you “Prospect, I’m sending you some decks to redo, it's going to take longer than usual tonight.” For your MD, longer than usual meant pulling an all-nighter- that too for free. You feel disheartened knowing that you still won’t have the chance to get Jessica. You try to feel better by telling yourself that you wouldn’t be able to pull Jessica anyways. Jessica is temporary, but Investment Banking Summer Analyst is forever. Unpaid Internships are paradise.


as a student at a non-target that sends like 15 kids a year to wall street, this is beyond spot on


As a student doing a unpaid internship rn, and with my dad just roasting my ass thinking Im being used like a fleshlight by my superiors, I can relate to this story on a personal level :')


As someone who did a 5 month unpaid internship from a non target, yes this is true. But I did end up getting a good full time offer.  Also ‘referred’ 3 friends who also all got good offers, but it required a shit ton of work. My dad still tells me to call the MD and tell him to pay me lol


I’m dying laughing reading this.  Nothing has changed in  the past 15 years it’s crazy.  Good luck to everyone

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

Lmao, went to a non-target and know of a few kids who worked at random no-name boutiques. They always had trouble explaining what they actually did at their summer internships.


Which really calls into question what the value is of doing an "investment banking summer internship" if you can't explain it. The simplest explanations for things that make sense to everyone is how you sell yourself as a hard worker. Anything less and you really are just a goober.

I say this as someone who did a "PE internship" where I just cold-called everyone in the CRM to find "deals". Yeah, great experience. Really helped me out a lot, thanks!


Basically all these unpaid "analyst" internships are just looking up companies online and putting their contact info in excel lol. Even saw a guy on linkedin write a huge post about starting this "internship" 


Unpaid internships are useful because these ultimately help you gain more money in the end by landing higher paying graduate roles. So in theory, you are not working for free in the grand scheme of things.


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