Questions to Ask During Internship Coffee Chats

A little background: I am a math major going into Sales & Trading this summer for a BB. I am a pretty stereotypical shy STEM major so I have always struggled with networking, especially coming up with good questions.

Some of the questions I ask are:

  1. What product do you sell/trade (how do they work on a fundamental level) and how does your desk interact with other desks across the floor

  2. Culture at the desk

  3. How has your focus/responsibility progressed over the next 

  4. How do you think this industry/desk will evolve over the next 5 years

  5. Qualities that differentiate a good vs great candidate

Are there any changes y'all would make or add to the list? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Based on the most helpful WSO content, your approach to preparing questions for your coffee chats is already quite solid, especially for someone entering Sales & Trading. Here are some refinements and additional questions you might consider to deepen the conversation and make a memorable impression:

  1. Clarify the Product Question: Instead of just asking what product they sell or trade, you might also ask about the most challenging aspects of managing these products and what skills are crucial for success in this area.

  2. Explore Desk Culture Further: For the culture at the desk, you could add a question about how the team handles stress and high-pressure situations. This shows you're thinking about fit and resilience, which are important in trading environments.

  3. Detail on Career Progression: It seems there's a typo in your third question. Assuming you meant to ask about how their focus/responsibilities have progressed, consider asking for specific examples of projects or trades that marked significant growth points in their career.

  4. Industry Evolution: Your question about the evolution of the industry/desk is forward-thinking. You might enhance this by asking for their personal opinion on upcoming challenges and opportunities within the industry.

  5. Differentiating Qualities: When asking about qualities that differentiate a good from a great candidate, you could also ask for real-life examples of these qualities in action within their team.

Additional Questions to Consider: - Mentorship and Development: "Can you tell me about any mentorship opportunities within the team? How has mentorship played a role in your career development here?" - Technology and Innovation: "How has technology impacted the way your desk operates? Are there any recent innovations that have significantly changed your trading strategies?" - Feedback and Performance Evaluation: "How is feedback typically given here? What does a successful performance review look like in your team?"

These questions not only show your genuine interest in the role and the team but also demonstrate your critical thinking and eagerness to engage deeply with the industry. Good luck with your networking efforts!

Sources: Ideas for improving your coffee chat conversion rate, Socially rejected in banking? How to make friends?, Good questions to Ask in Coffee Chats for Investment Banking, Networking 101 – 8 tips from a “non-target” school student, Your Best Coffee Chat Ever

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