AMA: Just finished managing 3 summer analysts

GoingToBeAnMD's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,447

I'm VP at a BB in a BO role. Our cohort of summer interns just finished so thought I would do an AMA. To kick off, here's 5 things I would advise to students after going through this process.

1 - Being social matters. Yes, we'll put you to work but no one is expecting you to move mountains. The soft skills around being social matter. Talk to people, go to the happy hours, be respectful.

2 - Be enthusiastic. If you want to work here so much, why do you talk about your other internships? We know we're big and you want to work here but why do you want to work for my group. Have a good answer for that and be enthusiastic about my group, always.

3 - Be situationally aware. One intern started spouting off about how they thought people on their 50s are old and ancient. Guess what? You're in BO, half the floor is 50+ or approaching it. Talking like that is a great way to have yourself dinged by just about everyone in the group.

4 - Greet people, always. I cannot begin to tell you how many colleagues told me, "can you believe that little shit intern just walked by my desk without saying hello? Fuck that guy". If you've shaken their hand and know their name at any point, never pass them by without saying something.

5 - Be an individual. My interns had to wear ties for a presentation. The second (and I mean the very second) it was over, they whipped them off. I asked them why and they said that they didn't want the others in their cohort giving them shit for wearing a tie. Peer pressure struggle is real, I get it. But not everyone gets to make MD and you're not going to get there by following the crowd to the top. Be strong enough to swim against the tide just a little bit. I'm not going to say I dinged them for that but I was definitely turned off by it.

I'll keep this thread updated as people ask questions.

Comments (35)

Aug 3, 2018

Great write up. Do you have any funny moments you can share?

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Aug 3, 2018

Nothing that really comes to mind. It all goes by so fast, these programs really should be longer

Aug 3, 2018

Did all three get return offers? Of those, how many accepted?

Aug 3, 2018

For the offers, two were offered, the third one was not.

We don't track acceptances per-se, I leave that to HR. The challenge is that the offer is binding on our part but not necessarily theirs. So who cares about if they accept, the real question is who actually shows up on Day 1

Aug 3, 2018

I thought as much that perhaps not all three got return offers. Is there a common thread to why the no-offer on Intern #3? Was it a combination of a bunch of smaller / soft-skill things, or was there a deal-breaker?

I'm just curious as we have 3 summers in our team every year as well and not getting an offer meant somebody really messed up or wasn't a cultural fit at all, and we would also feel pretty embarrassed that we didn't catch some of the red flags during recruiting.

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Aug 4, 2018

Wearing a tie when others don't wear one is swimming against the tide and you find that impressive?

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Aug 4, 2018

No, the fact that they were concerned about catching some heat from their buddies enough to whip their ties off in front of what was most likely a group comprised of MDs / EDs / senior team members shows a lack of situational awareness... you're not going to finish a job interview and before the interviewer has even left start to strip into jeans and a t-shirt are you? I understand that I'm jumping to an extreme here but they could have easily waited to use the bathroom after their presentation and take the tie off...

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Aug 4, 2018

Fair, taking ties off in front of a group you were just presenting to is fkn weird

Aug 4, 2018

Honestly as someone that is about 2 weeks into their first analyst gig out of college I think one of the best pieces of advice I got from a mentor (she used to be a 2nd year analyst while I was an intern... shes since left the firm) was to NEVER give anyone a reason to label you as "still a kid" or "immature" because that label is hard to shake. Don't get me wrong... if I'm at a happy hour or just hanging out with the analysts at lunch we always shoot the shit with one another. Letting that leak into things like team meetings / presentation / calls would suck. It might be different in FO IB but if you're in a MO / BO / CF role look around... I can almost guarantee you that the associates / VPs that are comfortable being loud / obnoxious / a little too relaxed in the office are always like 45 year old careers associates that likely won't make it far past VP.

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Aug 4, 2018

Even though I have to say it is better to take it off completely instead of loosening the knot and opening the collar button :D

Anyway, I believe that few people will remember a tie-wearing intern badly, while many might remember an intern that tries to get around wearing one badly. I mean where's the problem of wearing a tie? I might be a bit old-school on that one, but I think the tie does look nice, and is no issue when being worn.

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Aug 4, 2018

That's really juvenile to take a tie off in front of a group you just presented to, lol.

Thanks for doing this though! Can you talk about any mistakes that the analysts made, and how they went about learning from them/asking questions/not fucking up in the future?

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Aug 3, 2018

I think most mistakes were relatively small. It's hard to give someone BO work in such a short period. So most mistakes were around things like getting people's names wrong or bad email etiquette. For example, one of them misspelled the name of our MD on an email. Fortunately, it didn't go to the MD since it about him and not to him. So that's something I caught and handled privately with the intern.

Aug 3, 2018

Don't really understand how I received 3 monkey sh!ts on this one. I guess three of you didn't get return offers and are projecting? :-)

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Aug 6, 2018

I liked your post and am dealing with interns as well this summer, but I'm guessing it's because of your username, the elitist nature of your post, and your admission of working in the back office.

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Aug 3, 2018

You say it like these are bad things :-)

One day I might do an AMA on BO work, that could be fun.

Aug 6, 2018

If you had to choose between two equally performing interns, but one was better looking, would you all-else equal choose the better looking one?

Aug 3, 2018

Oh wow that's a great question!

It's hard for me to envision this scenario because I take so many things into account, lots of them intangibles. I want to see your interests, your passion for the work of the group, your manners at lunch, email etiquette, etc, etc. So it's virtually impossible for me to imagine a scenario where I'm saying, "gee, going to have to come down to looks on this decision."

If you're pressing me for a decision - I don't want to be the guy that punts every question in an AMA - I'd say that perhaps I would choose the good looking one. But that scenario would be a black swan event for me and my management style.

Aug 6, 2018

As a leader and developer of talent for approx. 30 yrs, albeit in wealth mgmt, I see this issue ALL the time. It's important to be social and authentic. Sometimes that will mean pushing yourself out of your comfort zone (if your authentic is to be a hermit). Put yourself out there. Be respectful, add to the conversation but remember you have two ears and one mouth so do a LOT of listening.

I have seen many, MANY, advisors with supreme knowledge fail to develop because people (clients, colleagues, and leadership) just don't enjoy being around them. They don't have to love you, but they can't think you're a pain in the ass or aloof, etc. On the other hand, I've seen tons of reps with basic knowledge do quite well.

In most careers (excluding things like surgery where knowledge / talent is the key), knowledge and technical skills are pretty easy to find. Therefore, they are easy to replace. Very hard tor to replace dynamic leadership potential. These guys and gals bring that multiplier effect which helps every organization grow.

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Aug 6, 2018

This is cool and very helpful. Keep it up.

Aug 6, 2018

How did you deal BO interns attempting to go to a FO FT role?

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Aug 7, 2018

bump

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Aug 3, 2018

Honestly, not very well. I wouldn't say it's a BO/FO thing, I would say more that I want you to be enthusiastic about the work we do.

1 - most incoming FT analysts programs are structured for 2 years. If I see you as a "one and done" that is definitely a ding because it messes up the base of future analysts that we are trying to constantly build.

2 - we're going to be spending a lot of time together and the last thing I want is a "wet towel" that just isn't into the work we do.

3 - if we give you an offer, I want to be reasonably sure that you're going to be there 9 months from now on Day 1 (i.e. you're going to stop looking and be "all in" on us). If I don't have confidence that you'll make it to Day 1 then it makes you look like an offer would be "wasted" on you.

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Aug 9, 2018

I'm curious about Number 4. At my boutique firm, people may greet each other the first time we see each other during the day - and some times not even that. After that, there is no expectation for greeting at all. This is pretty much the case with everyone by the way, even the most extroverted of folks. Most people just want to get on with their work and leave socializing for actual socializing, rather than just greeting and then walking on.

Aug 3, 2018

Two things come to mind:

1 - Yes, its totally possible that this would be culture dependent based on your group and/or firm. But overall, it comes down to respect. When this happened, my colleagues felt disrespected. Like the intern was "too good" for them to bother acknowledging them. I think those are perfectly valid responses to that and I think that most people will feel that way across most industries.

2 - Keep in mind that I didn't state that this was an opportunity to socialize. There's no need to stop and make it a whole "thing". Just a simple greeting, or quick wave of the hand or something just to acknowledge the other person's (senior) presence. It doesn't have to be a discussion every time you need to pass by someone's desk. Just a courtesy acknowledgement is called for.

The bottom line is that saying nothing makes you look, at best, aloof, at worst, arrogant. Neither one of those is great. On the other hand, when management is meeting to decide on your offer, you want as many people to say, "Oh Sheldonxp? Seems like an ok guy, I know he always says hello . . ." And that may be all that person really knows about you and your work, but its a positive vote and you just want to keep on racking up positive votes for yourself.

Aug 10, 2018

To further the point, you want them to know your name because you gave it to them. Even if all it is is you meeting them once and giving a quick handshake introduction but you always say hi to them on the elevator, that's how you give a good impression. Even if you'll never work on a project with this person.

Aug 11, 2018

The interns that get the offers, what are their characteristics? Do each of them have characteristics in common? Quirks?

And, who was your most memorable intern?

Thank you very much for the insight. I'm 20 and I want to jump right into this, seems like a lot of fun meeting people that could be my potential co-workers.

Aug 3, 2018

Good question.

The things that immediately jumped into my mind when I read your post was (1) polite (2) curious and (3) enthusiastic

When we are giving you an offer, we are asking you to be our co-worker for a minimum of 2 years and we are signing up to spend a lot of time with you teaching/mentoring you.
So we want someone that is going to be nice, going to be asking good questions and that wants to be here working with us. After all, we are all (at least) mid-career professionals; the work you're doing with us isn't something that we are just "trying out", it's our chosen profession(s). We want you to be as enthusiastic as we are about the work we do. If you can do that, then people will most likely speak well of you.

I think the most common characteristic of someone that didn't get an offer is that they dont show enough enthusiasm for our group. Yes, you want to work at a BB, but why do you want to work for this group? Make sure you get that across in your interviews/internships.

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Aug 3, 2018

Double post

Aug 17, 2018

I'd really like to see you do an AMA on BO work...sooner rather than later :)