Minority nervous for BB internship

I'm going into a S&T rotational internship at a BB this summer. I know this is a crazy opportunity that I am so thankful for but I can't help but feel like I am not prepared to speak professionally at all times and I just don't want to work 70 hours a week for my full time job.I know I am a hard worker and will adjust anyway but there is just so much I don't know because I come from a low income family and ever really had people to look up to and I just feel like this BB is not the place to make mistakes at. I have a lot of confidence in myself but this is the first time in my life that I just don't know if I deserved this opportunity.This sounds like I am very weak but I really believe in myself and I generally impress a lot of people with how I carry myself. These are just my back ground thoughts that I can't seem to resolve so I am just struggling with this.Any advice, thoughts, or past experience?

Update:I feel a million times more confident now and I am actually so excited for my internship. I have been networking a lot with people within my division and they are so nice and welcoming. All the advice I have received on here so far has been insanely impactful, you have no idea. Thank you everyone!

Comments (53)

Most Helpful
  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov
Apr 25, 2022 - 1:01pm

you got the internship, therefore you deserve to be there. Don't discount yourself because you didn't get hired during the regular process. Firms have these different hiring processes for a reason - you still had to submit a resume, do a interview and at the end of the day, these people you look up to looked at you and thought you would be able to successfully do the job.

Don't worry if you like the job or not (or if you can handle the hours or the cuture) - it's an internship. If you like it, great and if not, use this experience and find something you will enjoy for full-time - nothing is set in stone in your life, especially in your career.

Lastly, nobody has any expectations of you - you're an intern. So knowing nothing and making mistakes is perfectly fine just learn from them and be yourself (which is why they liked you in the first place to get the job).

Take a deep breath, go into this internship with a mindset to learn and have a great time. No point in stressing - doesn't do you any good.

Wishing you the best - good luck!

Apr 26, 2022 - 4:59pm
Out of WACC, what's your opinion? Comment below:

First off, congratulations. You deserve to be there. Second, don't be afraid to ask for help. You might think everyone else knows what they are doing, but most people will be figuring it out too (especially other interns). Good luck!

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Apr 25, 2022 - 2:49pm
gsssa 2050, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What do you mean that you're not prepared to speak professionally at all times. Unless English is not your first language or you are under the age of 16 it doesn't matter if you are working at GS, Bridgewater or Wendy's drive through, you have to be able to convey yourself properly and if 2 or 3 years of university haven't prepared you then there are deeper issues.

As for the job, its S&T so 70 hours that can feel like 100 hours in IB is not uncommon, but you are an SA. No one is go to shout at you unless you majorly screw up, which 99% of the time you won't be able to do because they don't give the SAs they keys to the castle.  

Apr 25, 2022 - 3:05pm
Intern2986564, what's your opinion? Comment below:

haha what I mean is I've never been in a setting where I have had to speak professionally *all* day. I think how you speak at a drive through is different than how I would have to speak at GS. I find it draining sometimes to code switch like that, I will adjust eventually but it will be a growing opportunity. I know how to speak professionally, no need to search for deeper issues.

I'm going to be in S&T, I'm hoping to find a full time job that is around 40-55 hours a week but if I can't find that then I'm going to pursue wealth management. It is a deep value of mine to have time for leisure. So this summer is just going to be completely out of my comfort zone but at the end of the day I am open to it and down for the challenge, even if I have my doubts.

Thank you for your advice!

  • Intern in S&T - Equities
Apr 26, 2022 - 12:20am

Take a listen to speeches by the magnificent Carla Harris. She is a very insightful urm executive at Morgan Stanley. A piece of advise from her is to be your authentic self. Otherwise the job can may become even more difficult and draining.

  • Intern in AM - Other
Apr 25, 2022 - 4:14pm

Congrats on the internship! I'm in a similar situation, only difference is that Im white. I would suggest trying to meet up with someone you will be working with beforehand (as all interviews were held online) and that could give you an idea on what to expect

Apr 25, 2022 - 4:23pm
Intern2986564, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks! I feel like this feeling is felt amongst almost all interns but we never talk about it because we feel like we may look like weak competition. I'm all here for the 'fake it till you make it' but I'm also here for being straight up with how I feel when I'm on my grind. I hate when I doubt myself sometimes about my internship expectations but anyone with common sense also knows that I can still give it my all while still identifying as confident, nervous as fuck, and competing. I hope the best for your internship!

  • PM in HF - Other
Apr 25, 2022 - 11:38pm

Truly will not lie i do think you are going to make it. Enjoy the summer and experience but doubtful this is for you.

1) You posted this in the wrong thread so makes me debate if you even know what division you going into.

2) You will be working 60hrs easily and that will be expected for first 3 years of your career.

3) S&T desk is basically the same as working at Wendys, you say same thing to every client as a jr and make small talk. 
4) The environment is very fast paced and sink/swim, having this anxiety usually leads to small mistakes.

5) If I was your MD and I heard you tell anyone you are "diversity" and not sure you fit in. I would smack you upside the head. 

If you really do end up enjoying this work. Get a different attitude about the hours, be humble but at the same time understand everyone is not far from working at a wendys. Never apologize just do better and move on.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Apr 26, 2022 - 5:21am

Don't listen to this guy, OP.

  • Intern in AM - Other
Apr 26, 2022 - 10:43am

People post in the IB one because they know it will get much more attention than other posts. Not that deep

  • PM in HF - Other
Apr 26, 2022 - 11:16am

Which is a fallacy cause this very topic has been discussed a few times in recent months on the Trading Forum. Majority of people do not even see these posts. Excelling at a S&T internship is a totally different mindset than a banking internship. Likewise is the pay trajectory and overall career path.

Apr 26, 2022 - 3:21pm
Intern2986564, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks for your advice. I actually did post in the S&T forum. I got an email this morning that WSO moved it to IB as a correction. Not sure why they did that... it's not worth you or me stressing over. And I would never tell someone I am "diversity" haha. The only reason why I bring it up here is because I look at my white peers and they generally have a parent or someone close to look up to. Even then, It's not that deep, which is why I post my thoughts anyway. I appreciate you being straight up 

  • PM in HF - Other
Apr 26, 2022 - 9:19pm

Thanks for follow up info. The WSO sorting algo seems off at times for sure. The way you responded shows you are aware of the situation walking into maybe in the original post did not make it so clear.

In terms of your fear, understand the vast majority of people attracted to S&T are competitive and somewhat scrappy, yes for sure many people have connections etc…But lots of people in your shoes as well. Even guys like PTJ or ones you read in Liars Poker. Most of us look up to an earlier mentor so possibly an MD or so. 
As for the hours thing, yes it sounds daunting now but its also probably cause to your point you never knew people in an environment like this. Once you are on the desk and really get into it you will see hours are much easier and you adjust your life around it. Many days youll look up and be 2hrs from close and shocked day is just gone.

Apr 26, 2022 - 10:47am
TechBanking, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Also, I have heard plenty of non-professional talk on a trading desk. 

  • 1
Apr 26, 2022 - 3:24pm
Intern2986564, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You're right, that is very important, thank you. I brought it up to discuss the fact that it is going to be more of a shock to me to adjust to this work culture than others who had people to look up to in their past. But nevertheless, I'm going to give it my all and not let it get in the way of my career. I'm glad I'm working through these feeling now rather than when my internship starts.

Apr 26, 2022 - 6:30pm
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Don't assume all white males grew up UMC with connections in finance. Working class white males are white but have no connections.


  • 1
  • Intern in IB - Gen
Apr 26, 2022 - 9:23pm

The head of markets at GS is an Indian, don't worry. You're gonna be fine

Apr 28, 2022 - 10:25am
hsmith15873, what's your opinion? Comment below:

A lot of senior traders at GS are non-white (just look at the lists online). People won't care about your race, but they will care about your personality and how quickly you assimilate information. As long as your personality isn't centered about being a minority, then you'll be fine. You got the internship, so that's reassuring that your interviewers liked you/your personality.

In terms of the internship, some tips are:

- Prioritize working smart over working hard (but still work hard). Obviously you get out of the internship what you put in, but there is no need to work crazy long hours. If you find yourself routinely staying late (i.e. past 8:00 pm), then you know you are doing something wrong. The trading floor will basically be empty by 6:00 pm or so, especially during the summer.

- Mistakes: I wouldn't really worry about them. As an intern, this is the time to ask all the silly/stupid questions, so make use of it. Don't be scared to ask questions and write down what people say. If you still don't understand, then try and read about it yourself before going back to ask them (not good to ask the same questions over and over again unless you are dealing with something quite complex)

- If you can't code in Python, then would definitely recommend learning to do so before you start - would make sure you know the basic data-science/scientific computation modules: pandas, numpy, scikit-learn, etc. This skill will already make you more appealing as a candidate than other interns. 

- Speak to people: meet as many people as possible and keep in touch with them throughout the program

  • Analyst 2 in PE - Other
Apr 26, 2022 - 9:56pm

From a minority - These big banks (was at gs as well) are the absolute best places for minorities in terms of comfort at least in NY. There is such a mix of people and so many outlets and resources for development that after going through it I was scared to leave to the smaller niche industries.

Apr 26, 2022 - 11:28pm
Intern2986564, what's your opinion? Comment below:

That's something to look forward to, thank you for this insight. I have never thought about that.

Apr 27, 2022 - 9:57am
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you even find this funny you've drunken the Kool-Aid quite well. I find that comment to be insulting. I grew up not too far from MAGA country and let me tell you there are plenty of black folk who live among the rural whites and go about life as normal. They talk to each other as friends. The idea you are going to get lynched if you even so much as enter a rural village is absolutely ridiculous and honestly after what I've seen in the big cities black folk live a far more equal life compared to the white folk in rural areas compared to the city where you have the hood and then a bunch of 5 star hotels and luxury high rises. I don't have much time to go into detail rn but liberal policies have kept black people down by simply giving just enough to have a life but cut off any ways to empower the folk (such as quality education) which was intentionally done by the racist LBJ and his "Great Society" because he was mad that blacks had gained more rights under JFK (not to  wear a tinfoil hat but I believe that the establishment intentionally hired out a guy to kill RFK for this reason and Vietnam war).


  • 2
Apr 27, 2022 - 9:46am
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yep. Blame NYC gentrification, NYC wealth gap inequality, and struggling literacy rates among the poor minorities on MAGAs who don't even live in NYC and probably have not even been to NYC.


Apr 27, 2022 - 10:18am
anonguytoibd, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Don't worry about code switching or whatever. You go to college and have probably presented in front of your  peers countless times, so you have more experience talking "professionally" than you think. This news anchor way of talking is only done while presenting in the professional world anyway and most people talk normally in their day-to-day interactions. You are overthinking if you are worried about not fitting in due to some idea that there is a upper class way of talking.

There is a hint of truth to the thought that there is an upper class speech pattern but the fact is that speech is more influenced by the trading environment plus overall corporate lingo than by class.  But you can take solace in the fact that not just you but every frickin intern will be green to this trading and corporate pattern of language. It doesn't matter how much trading media and literature any intern has been exposed to, they are not going to be talking the way that most people on average in the division and bank speak. You learn it on the job through observation and some dedicated effort in learning how to think like a trader.

If you are truly worried, I'd suggest looking up long form interviews of influential traders and investors so you can get a sense of some frequent words and frameworks in their speech patterns. 

Apr 27, 2022 - 10:29am
Intern2986564, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I appreciate this. I think you're right, I was overthinking the professional talk. Things like that will eventually come to me more naturally and I am not the only one feeling that. Thank you for your recommendation and advice. I am going to look into those videos to feel even more comfortable.

Apr 27, 2022 - 12:16pm
Poff, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I know executives that still can't speak professionally about their company and industry unless they have it written out word-for-word for them

  • 2
Apr 28, 2022 - 12:02pm
Friedmaneconomics, what's your opinion? Comment below:

How did you get that internship being shy and scared and why did you apply in the first place if you weren't ready for a very strong professional atmosphere? S&T is the one place you can't really hide in. Drum up your confidence and rock it. Worst case scenario you embarrass yourself but either way it's a net positive overall for your career. We've all been there and if somebody hasn't yet he or she is likely to fall from over-confident behavior. Pull your pants up and do it. That's an amazing internship to have. Good luck

Apr 28, 2022 - 4:44pm
Intern2986564, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I am the complete opposite of shy and insecure. That's why I felt so moved to post my thoughts on this because I knew I was overthinking but I did not know where to go and air out my thoughts. I feel 10x more confident after receiving feedback. Thank you for your advice. S&T is not a place to hide, which is why I am looking forward to it.

Apr 28, 2022 - 4:54pm
Friedmaneconomics, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Good! Didn't mean to disrespect you. Yeah don't overthink it man, you'll be good. The oasis is routin for you. Best of luck

May 18, 2022 - 12:28am
BigMonkeyMan, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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May 18, 2022 - 10:50am
Adamavicius, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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