How to best prepare for a summer internship?

clowds's picture
Rank: Monkey | 39

How should I best prepare for a summer internship? I am going to be working at a BB, so what can I do now in order to really stand out this summer?

What do interns do most of the day? Create pitchbooks? Do they model often? Excel?

I am thinking about going to some modeling class, but it'll cost me about $100 bucks. Is it worth it?

how to prepare for investment banking internship

Relax and enjoy the payoff of your hard work! It's important to reflect on the accomplishment as plenty more hard work lies ahead. If you want to be ahead of the curve then keep reading.

Brush up on your accounting, valuation, modeling. Brushing up on your account will be extremely beneficial because it's the foundation of your work in finance. Learning valuation and modeling is going above and beyond. Learning a little bit about each subject will help you absorb the new concepts quicker on the job.

Keep up to date on industry news by reading publications like DealBook, the economist, wall street journal etc. If you already know the industry that you will be covering then read up on it too. Knowing some of the technical terms and a high-level view of the industry can only help.

Looking for a great way to stay up to date on daily happenings in business and finance? Look no further than The Morning Brew.

 

For efficiency, brush up excel and powerpoint. Knowing some keyboard shortcuts/macros for each program may help you churn out work faster than your peers.

Finally, be teachable and have a great attitude. Going into your internship with a positive attitude despite your workload/ stress can really set you apart. Being a competent and pleasant person to work with overall is a very desirable thing.

Key takeaways

  • acknowledge your accomplishment
  • Brush up on accounting and dabble in modeling/valuation
  • Keep up to date on industry news
  • Learn to work with excel and powerpoint efficiently
  • Be pleasant to work with

Recommended Reading

Comments (71)

Mar 13, 2011

knowing how to model is a bonus. other than that just get plenty of sleep before you start

Mar 13, 2011

Definitely in for this as well.

Things I have heard:
1) Sleep a ton
2) Relax
3) Be positive and have a smile on your face
4) Brush up on accounting
5) Try to learn basic modeling
6) Keep current on industry or latest deals

Mar 13, 2011

Most BBs will not let interns do any heavy modeling - think of it is a liability and the extra time 2nd/3rd years and 1st yr associates need to waste on checking your work. You will be stuck doing basic first year analysts tasks such as:

Laying out comps
Formatting pitch books
Updating marketing materials slides i.e. league tables etc
Market updates (dependent on industry coverage or product group).

I'm sure you'll get the opportunity to dig through existing models.

Do you know which group you're going to be interning in?

I think the best way to stand out is to really know a lot about the industry

If it's a industry coverage group (e.g. health care, FIG) know a good deal about precedent M&A deals, recent legislation and its effects, what economic factors impact company valuations, things of that nature. for example, if youre going into FIG, and know a shit load about Basel III and its impact on capital ratios etc and the direction companies will steer re: M&A, specific capital raising most MDs will be fairly impressed

if it's a product group such as lev fin or ECM etc then you're going to want to follow the actual stock market very closely as well as look at precedent deals/transactions that used the product.

if you can demonstrate you know a lot about the relevant industry it will show you have passion for what the group is doing which stands out way more IMO then knowing how to model in excel (any moron can pick it up after a while).

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Feb 21, 2012
mljs54:

If it's a industry coverage group (e.g. health care, FIG) know a good deal about precedent M&A deals, recent legislation and its effects, what economic factors impact company valuations, things of that nature. for example, if youre going into FIG, and know a shit load about Basel III and its impact on capital ratios etc and the direction companies will steer re: M&A, specific capital raising most MDs will be fairly impressed

if it's a product group such as lev fin or ECM etc then you're going to want to follow the actual stock market very closely as well as look at precedent deals/transactions that used the product.

if you can demonstrate you know a lot about the relevant industry it will show you have passion for what the group is doing which stands out way more IMO then knowing how to model in excel (any moron can pick it up after a while).

What if you're joining an M&A group? Is it efficient to get a fairly deep understanding of 5+ industry groups that are actively dealt with? Though I feel like this knowledge would be beneficial, I feel like it would also cut into time for other prep and developing modeling skills etc .... Any suggestions?

Feb 21, 2012
mljs54:

If it's a industry coverage group (e.g. health care, FIG) know a good deal about precedent M&A deals, recent legislation and its effects, what economic factors impact company valuations, things of that nature. for example, if youre going into FIG, and know a shit load about Basel III and its impact on capital ratios etc and the direction companies will steer re: M&A, specific capital raising most MDs will be fairly impressed

if it's a product group such as lev fin or ECM etc then you're going to want to follow the actual stock market very closely as well as look at precedent deals/transactions that used the product.

if you can demonstrate you know a lot about the relevant industry it will show you have passion for what the group is doing which stands out way more IMO then knowing how to model in excel (any moron can pick it up after a while).

What if you're joining an M&A group? Is it efficient to get a fairly deep understanding of 5+ industry groups that are actively dealt with? Though I feel like this knowledge would be beneficial, I feel like it would also cut into time for other prep and developing modeling skills etc .... Any suggestions?

Mar 13, 2011

Do NOT spend a grand on a modelling course. That is absolutely retarded.

Prepare by getting plenty of sleep and partying on the reg.

Mar 14, 2011
drexelalum11:

Do NOT spend a grand on a modelling course. That is absolutely retarded.

Prepare by getting plenty of sleep and partying on the reg.

Funny you mentioned that, considering your signature :P

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Mar 14, 2011

IMO, another good way to set yourself apart during the summer is to ask a lot of intelligent questions. Obviously do your best to not ask the same question twice or a question that you could figure out on your own by spending some time doing a basic search. But a question about the industry that you are covering (assuming you are in client coverage) shows the guys at the bank that your brain is turned on and the you are engaged and interested.

You for sure want to enjoy the months before the summer starts. Day drinking is highly encouraged, particularly on weekdays.

I'm on a drug. It's called Charlie Sheen.

Apr 4, 2011
Burnstein:

IMO, another good way to set yourself apart during the summer is to ask a lot of intelligent questions. Obviously do your best to not ask the same question twice or a question that you could figure out on your own by spending some time doing a basic search. But a question about the industry that you are covering (assuming you are in client coverage) shows the guys at the bank that your brain is turned on and the you are engaged and interested.

You for sure want to enjoy the months before the summer starts. Day drinking is highly encouraged, particularly on weekdays.

I agree. Another thing is that you have to be very analytical.

Feb 21, 2012

I asked this exact question in most of my interviews.

The overall consensus was:

1.) Stay up-to-date on markets
2.) Learn some basic modeling
3.) Relax + sleep

Feb 21, 2012

Powerpoint formatting stuff would be best to rehash, along with staying up to date with recent news (should be doing that anyways) and reading some quarterly/annual reports. My M&A internship was all about being able to update and create pitchbooks using provided info (quarterly/annual reports, news sites and inhouse info).

Feb 21, 2012

Learn up coffee

Feb 21, 2012

Dealbook
Dealbreaker
Economist

Feb 21, 2012

It could be overkill, but attempt a merger model on macabacus.com and repeat it until you fully understand the many terms and conditions. It's more important to focus on your understanding of the big picture; focus less on your model format and keep doing a basic model until it "clicks". It's overwhelming at first, but the sooner you top the learning curve, the sooner you'll get to (any) modeling work at your internship, the less amount of revisions you'll have to make on a model and the more recognition you'll get from the analyst/associate double-checking your work.

Learning powerpoint/excel tricks actually does help (but only to an extent because the bank is going to have company-specific macros, their unique formats, etc.) so learning how to navigate fast and use shortcuts can cut down time. Don't focus on speed of running through sheets; just be able to learn shortcuts without constantly referencing TTS/WSP shortcut keys.

Also, focus on learning the little parts of powerpoint/excel you don't really know. I would suggest the Wall Street Prep crash course in excel if you have access to it. It's a good overview.

And... just to say it... relax. You'll eventually learn this stuff when you're there so if you have a choice between doing something really fun for a few weeks or sitting in front of a computer screen... don't be a dumbass. Have fun.

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Feb 21, 2012

The most important part of your internship will not be your performance on financial analysis. It's the attitude you will have.

Best Response
Feb 21, 2012

Prepare to have a great attitude. That is the key to success over the summer. They will teach you everything else you need to know. Brush up on your accounting and excel shortcuts just to make your life easier, but anything beyond that is relative overkill.

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Feb 21, 2012

How familiar are you with excel? I found that doing the Breaking into wall street tutorials for excel and modeling were extremely helpful. Don't kill yourself though, they train you for the basics.

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Feb 21, 2012

I know the basics and the basic shortcuts, but not VBA. Is it helpful to get familiar with it or will be that too much already?

Feb 21, 2012

Just have some fun and enjoy one of your last few semesters of freedom. I think reading industry primers helped me the most (if you know what group you will most likely get into). Otherwise, refresh your accounting but don't worry too much - everything will be covered in training.

VBA came into handy a few times actually, but I wouldn't bother learning it. You can usually Google helpful macros, and there will likely be an intern or analyst in your group that's the VBA guy anyway.

Feb 21, 2012

Don't bother memorizing Excel shortcuts. After your first 100 hour week you'll be a pro. I knew nothing before my summer, but got a hang of shortcuts super quickly.

Feb 21, 2012

VBA is useful, but in my experience it isn't that necessary. Re the excel shortcuts, while there are tons of kids who don't have any experience with excel (like literally none), I found that having a foundation in excel makes the first week or two smoother.

And don't kill yourself, brush up on accounting and excel and maybe basic modeling if you really want to get ahead, but spend some time relaxing and patting yourself on the back for getting an offer.

Feb 21, 2012

Nothing- relax, enjoy 2nd semester, and pat yourself on the back. Anything you need to know will be covered

Edit- you said you start soon? Soon as in Summer (5 months away) or soon like you are doing a winter internship? If the latter, might be useful to learn some stuff, as I don't believe there is any formalized training (not positive)

Feb 21, 2012

Its an off-cycle internship at GS/MS/JP. I think there is one week of training. Would this be the same amount of training as you are referring to?

Feb 21, 2012

You really don't learn/retain anything from training. You learn it while working. Prepping to get ahead will largely be a waste of time unless you don't come from an accounting or finance background.

Feb 21, 2012

most people at top schools outside of Wharton don't have an accounting or finance background, so...

Feb 21, 2012

Hey, I'm just an incoming analyst so take my word with a grain of salt. Personally, I understand where you are coming from (as a non-target) and I think you are in a good position.

#
My question is, besides getting leadership roles and killing it academically, what can I do this upcoming (sophomore) year to make my chances more likely of attaining such an internship?
A: Network! It is never too early to start developing connections.

Which banks should I target?
A: All of them (BB, MM, Boutiques)! Whatever you do, just make sure you land internship for your Junior Summer.

Do some investment banks have opportunities for sophomores?
A: Yes, a quick google search would do the job...

Should I message alum on LinkedIn?
A: LinkedIn is a great place to start. Personally I had better response rate via linkedin message than cold email.

Just make sure you reach out to alumni and check back with them on regular basis: it will not only brush up your soft skills, but also will most likely develop into interview opportunities.

Feb 21, 2012

Thanks I appreciate it! Congrats on the analyst position btw. I have an interview set up with a boutique M&A firm for the school year so I feel like that's another big step forward

Feb 21, 2012

Work on your Excel skills and do a financial modeling class on BIWS online(or similar one). I did that and it really worked.

Feb 21, 2012

BIWS is great - highly recommended. But if you don't have the money to spend, try Macabacus (www.macabacus.com) for some free materials that are quite stellar.

Get an idea essentially of how models work and why things are done. For telecom, consider trying to get some research reports on local market telecom companies and the market. Get an idea of what's going on in the industry, and the metrics (i.e., for valuations) typically used.

Having some basic foundation in the above helps you think about the things you will do in banking. Sometimes you have so much to do that you're just processing through it - but it's beneficial to know "why" things are done to give you a big picture understanding.

Feb 21, 2012
Kanon:

BIWS is great - highly recommended. But if you don't have the money to spend, try Macabacus (www.macabacus.com) for some free materials that are quite stellar.

Get an idea essentially of how models work and why things are done. For telecom, consider trying to get some research reports on local market telecom companies and the market. Get an idea of what's going on in the industry, and the metrics (i.e., for valuations) typically used.

Having some basic foundation in the above helps you think about the things you will do in banking. Sometimes you have so much to do that you're just processing through it - but it's beneficial to know "why" things are done to give you a big picture understanding.

Thanks a lot guys.

I will look into BIWS, macabacus, and try to find some research reports.

Best

Feb 21, 2012

You could also review accounting and financial statement analysis. If you are already an accounting/finance major, you probably don't need the review. I'm assuming your goal is to get a full-time offer at this firm. Other than showing you're capable of doing the job, you need to get along with people there and make them like you.

Feb 21, 2012

In addition to hippiehappymonkey's advice, take that 2-3 months to also develop a high-conviction investment pitch (equity or fixed-income) and run it by a few of your colleagues (maybe some FT research analysts and even a PM). That way they see you thinking ahead and act like a full-timer (which is your goal I assume). It's one thing to know how three statements tie together, it's a whole next level if you know how to translate your accounting and market knowledge into actionable trading ideas.

Make the most out of those 2-3 months and I wish you convert it to a full-time job.

Feb 22, 2012

read through some valuation/m&a books and perfect your modeling skills.
become awesome at excel and powerpoint.
enjoy your time and do fun things, you wont have much free time this summer.

Feb 22, 2012

Thanks, that all seems like really good stuff. It does seem to be more M&A focused though and I'm interning in ER. Is there anything specific to ER that would be useful to prepare that's not really necessary in other departments?

Feb 22, 2012

i would pick an industry of choice and rip it apart, learn the insides and outs of the industry, understand the macro indicators, the business etc.. this will help you apply the theory that you learned in school to a real life situation. modelling is essential whether you are in equity research or in mergers and acquisitions. you will have to create models to store a lot of your information, to incorporate an expected growth rate etc. i would also recommend that you learn the different models through online research. you better be able to rip apart the financials of an industry to produce an accurate growth rate and ultimately forecast the company's results within an industry. read the paper on a daily basis and understand whats going on in the market.

"death is nothing, but to live defeated is to die everyday" ~Napolean Bonaparte

Feb 22, 2012

Relax. You will have plenty of time to work this summer. If you know what sector you'll be in, take a read through some of the 10-ks or conference calls of sone of those companies if you want.

The reality is that you will not knock their socks off this summer with value-added research. Have a teachable spirit, do your best at whatever they give you, be personable, and don't be afraid to ask questions. I took the same approach as you did before my first ER internship and job, but the truth is that what you do on the job and learn on the job will outweigh the things you pick up now.

You obviously knew enough to get the summer role, so enjoy your time off. ER is a really good area to be in, so be a sponge and you should be fine.

Feb 22, 2012

Read the Journal, the Economist and blogs like DealBook, do well in your classes, if your firm has industry/coverage groups once you are placed try to learn more about the space.

Read How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Work out, drink, and have fun. Your summer will be grueling so take the opportunity to come in relaxed and feeling good so you don't wear down as quickly.

Feb 22, 2012

Clip the jacket flap on your JC Penny suit.

Feb 22, 2012
Feb 22, 2012

Continuously read WSO, WSJ and one of those interview guides to stay refreshed on technicals.

Feb 22, 2012
hopingtobreakin:

Continuously read WSO, WSJ and one of those interview guides to stay refreshed on technicals.

Seems like there may be a better way to learn the technical aspects of the job than by reading interview guides. After all, they are interview guides and not internship guides.

I plan on reading Rosenbaum and continuing to read the WSJ. Hopefully that prepares me.

Thanks for the tips, guys.

Feb 22, 2012

There's no real reason to feel pressured to be 100% prepared to take on the responsibility of a full-time analyst day one on the job. Everyone will have a learning curve once they arrive, including even the top modelers in the intern class.

To the extent you really want to be ahead, start working with Excel and PowerPoint consistently, with a focus on getting better on keyboard shortcuts and improving efficiency. That'll be the biggest value add.

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Feb 22, 2012
NorthSider:

There's no real reason to feel pressured to be 100% prepared to take on the responsibility of a full-time analyst day one on the job. Everyone will have a learning curve once they arrive, including even the top modelers in the intern class.

To the extent you really want to be ahead, start working with Excel and PowerPoint consistently, with a focus on getting better on keyboard shortcuts and improving efficiency. That'll be the biggest value add.

How can you get great ad powerpoint are there lots of shotcuts to learn there?

Thanks.

Feb 22, 2012

Def master Powetpoint and Excel shortcuts will make your life ALOT easier if you can make yourself more efficient with those programs.

'We're bigger than U.S. Steel"

Feb 22, 2012

Thanks for all the advice guys. Definitely need to brush up on my excel/PowerPoint skills, and the Rosenbaum book looks like a good read

Feb 22, 2012
yossarian:

Thanks for all the advice guys. Definitely need to brush up on my excel/PowerPoint skills, and the Rosenbaum book looks like a good read

Agreed, Rosenbaum is a must-read pre-internship.

Feb 22, 2012

get laid

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Feb 22, 2012

You could email the intern sponsor for your group and ask. Apart from that, learn Excel shortcuts and VBA.

Feb 22, 2012

gekko,

what desk are you on for the summer?

Feb 22, 2012

VBA is useful for IBD?

Which parts of excel? I don't wanna learn excess stuff...

Thanks again

Feb 22, 2012
Yodaddy379:

VBA is useful for IBD?

Which parts of excel? I don't wanna learn excess stuff...

Thanks again

Someone might be able to give better specifics, but you should learn the basics, formulas, charts, how to properly format something, ect (same goes with Microsoft Word).

Having basic VBA could be helpful for making Macros.

Feb 22, 2012

Yeah VBA can be great for making formatting shortcuts

Feb 22, 2012

Think it's worth learning accounting (I know basically none atm)...?

I could pick up "Fundamentals of Corporate Finance" and/or "Introduction to Accounting for Finance"...thoughts?

Feb 22, 2012

In my experience you need to be familiar with business concepts, finance/accounting knowledge is a plus but not a must. I'd recommend getting Crack the Case for the interview; the interview will likely consist of a behavioral component and a "case interview".

Feb 22, 2012

It would be useful to start staying current with the news if you don't already: read WSJ, Dealbook, any industry reports or news sites if you are in an industry group.

Feb 22, 2012
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