Sales and Trading Internships - What do you do?
What do you do as a sales and trading intern?
Sales and trading internships are no different from other investment banking internships. There's a whole lot of grunt work in each, and that's to be expected of any finance internship. Because you lack any licenses and any substantial experience going in, you can't contribute much of substance to your firm. However, that doesn't mean you can't add value, especially in terms of cultivating relationships to help land a return offer. Here's @big unit to summarize what S&T interns do.
Primarily, you just listen, take notes, and update lists of clients, and occasionally do data entry work (sometimes you do simple things with Access, but mostly Excel). You typically are working closely with a couple of the more senior salespeople. You will try to record what products clients are interested in, rates your traders can get them at (usually a range, which is based on volatility etc. but it's pretty much just +-5% target price), and rates in which the clients will buy them.
Depending on the type of person your senior salesperson is, you may get to attend the "pitch" meeting. You'll meet multiple institutional clients while selling a new product in these meetings. Occasionally, you'll make a few powerpoint slides that'll be used in the meeting. Overall, it's a great experience. Meeting with and selling to high-level clients is invaluable practice for your career.
While you don't necessarily add direct value, you certainly make the lives of the employees much easier. If you can build a quality reputation within the firm, and if you can make yourself a desirable coworker, then you'll be in a great position to land a return offer. That should be the focus of your internship. Considering the competition when landing a full-time offer in S&T, along with the shrinkage of the industry and overall headcount, you absolutely need to cultivate good relationships and establish a reputation as a hard worker to land that FT offer.
This guide is going to illustrate the process - from networking and resume drops to the interviews themselves - of getting an S&T internship which will be your stepping stone to a FT offer.
Getting an S&T Internship
To have a shot at landing an S&T internship, you need to have some supporting internships to bolster your resume, among other things. There are a great deal of internships that do this:
- Private wealth management
- Private equity
- Venture capital
- Hedge fund
- Investment banking (almost all IB internships pre-junior year are at boutiques)
Any one of these, and these are not the only internships that lend pedigree, will tremendously help in getting your foot in the door, whether that be from networking, on-campus recruiting, or resume drops.
Really, any internship that demonstrates you have experience in the professional world will do, but the more relevant to S&T, the better. Bonus points if you can cultivate relationships with the people at the firm you're interning with and utilize those connections to get your foot into the S&T door.
So we've discussed reinforcing your resume with internships as a prerequisite to S&T internships, what comes next? The fact is, getting an S&T internship is pretty much the same process as getting any other investment banking internship.
First, you can't get anywhere without a polished resume. Beyond that, make sure you don't mess up the cover letter. If you have solid experience, a polished resume, and a cover letter that checks the box, then you've done everything right up to this point. If you go to a target or semi-target, you should have no problem networking at the very least.
Like it or not, the school you attend and its status in investment banking plays a huge role in landing interviews and getting the job. Target schools are heavily recruited by investment banks, and they have the distinct advantage of resume drops and on-campus recruiting. Additionally, your school will play a role in the interviewer, whether that effect is bad, good, or neutral depends on the interviewer(s). Non-target status appeals to some the same way people appreciate an underdog, but some see non-target status and dislike the uncertainty that comes with it opposed to the most prestigious and selective universities in the nation.
Investment banks have a list of schools where they set up resume drops, these are known as a firm's core schools. You submit your resume and cover letter, and a few analysts and associates from the firm comb through all of them (typically 50-100) and choose 15-30 candidates to interview. @Marcus_Halberstram revealed his procedure for combing through resumes, and it contained plenty of wisdom to be utilized in your recruiting process.
Keep in mind that these are all ivy league kids he's reviewing. Most have a solid GPA coupled with decent experience. It's not exactly easy to cut 50 of 75 resumes when you're evaluating the cream of the crop. Here's how he eliminates the first 15:
- Sub-3.4 GPA nets a ding, regardless of everything else. 3.4-3.5 gets extra consideration to see if something makes them well rounded (2+ senior level positions in clubs, varsity athletics, obvious interest in finance). If not, they also get dinged. Different analysts/associates have different GPA cutoffs, but 3.4 is a pretty typical one.
- Any typos on the resume or cover letter
- Poor formatting
- Do they have an interest in finance? Priority number one. It doesn't matter if they're a 4.0 double major in math and chemistry, if they don't communicate an interest in finance then they get dinged. A couple of ways to convey this: case competitions, putting investing as an interest and being able to speak to it intelligently, investing club, etc.
- Lack of interests outside working/studying: this one is completely self-explanatory. You're going to be working with these people for 80 hours a week, you want to convey yourself as an interesting person.
- A high GPA: the higher the better, although understand that a very high GPA is itself a guarantee. Most importantly, you need to demonstrate...
- An interest in finance:
If you've never interned in finance and are a non-traditional major, you should be actively involved (pref. at a senior level) in the finance clubs, you should participate in finance/modeling training seminars sponsored by your school, you should have a section under interests with "Readings" or "Favorite Books" that have a finance tinge to them (more When Genius Failed or Fooled by Randomness or Barbarians at the Gate, less Monkey Business or Liars Poker)... Wall Street Journal, DealBook, FT, etc... I wouldn't advise adding that section if the rest of your resume already sells your finance interest... otherwise its overkill and you seem uninteresting and boringly uni-dimensional. You want to be well rounded.
- A properly formatted resume: poorly formatted ones will get you auto dinged. In addition, consider getting your resume reviewed, it's worth guaranteeing that your resume isn't holding you back. WSO offers both a free and paid resume review service. Both will go a long way in improving your resume.
- Minimalist cover letter: your cover letter isn't something that lands you the job, it's something that gets you dinged. The exception is in addressing glaring shortcomings on your resume.
I only dinged about 15... still need to ding another 30 to get to the 20+10 back-ups. I go back again, too many asians, too many guys, I narrow the field down a bit more. Ding another 5-10. Still need to cut another 20 resumes. Now I read the resumes a bit closer... finance case competitions, internships, club-involvement, does this resume tell me he/she wants to be a banker? I end up not finishing before our recruiting committee meeting, but I have starred the resumes I like (high GPA3.7+, some sort of past finance internship, varsity sports, and/or any other uniquely impressive/interesting aspect (e.q. interests: Thai slap boxing).
Once @Marcus_Halberstram is further in the process, he looks at two things, among others, to make the decision easier.
So what puts you at an advantage in these resume drops? Here are some things that will help you develop a well-rounded profile as a candidate.
Getting an Interview as a Non-Target
Target and semi-target students have the luxury of on-campus recruiting and resume drops, but how do non-target students get their foot in the door? The short answer: a lot of cold calling and cold emailing. Networking is your greatest power is a non-target, you get your foot in the door with hard fought connections.
There are four aspects of cold contacting. You need to understand each of these and utilize them in your networking efforts. This methodology, which is incredibly comprehensive and helpful in making your networking as efficacious as possible, is the brainchild of @Big_Red.
How to get contact information
Zoominfo/data.com are two great sites for getting phone numbers and emails. Both cost money but zoominfo has a free trial. If you don't want to shell out the money for that, then you can use the uniform format banks use (ex: [email protected]) to cold contact. You can find their formats on the web. This won't be as efficient, however, because you won't get access to their direct phone lines which is a helpful aspect of cold contacting.
The ability to track when/how many times your email was opened, if the email has been forwarded, and if any attachments have been clicked or opened is very telling of how effective your process is. It enables you to adjust accordingly. The product @Big_Red swears by is Yesware, which cost $15 per month. Again, this is a cost you can avoid altogether, but it's very helpful in the process. At the very least, try to circumvent the cost of contact gathering and email tracking through free software, there are probably some quality alternatives out there if you look.
Who do you hone your networking efforts on? Here's some insight on the matter from @dartzrip.
Contacting analysts / associates are probably the best point of contact coming from a non-target. They were most recently in your shoes and are really willing to stick their neck out for you if you can prove yourself to them. The way it seems, they're the main points of contact when it comes to recruiting at the non-target, and have significant pull.
First, the best time to contact someone is early on a Tuesday or Wednesday, although that's more subjective than everything else in this guide.
In sales, there's a term called cadence. Cadence is the set of steps you take when contacting them to encourage a response. The structure of your cadence should consist of the initial email and a follow-up email a week or two later if they never responded. While cold calling was a part of the originally suggested cadence, we disagree considering how busy investment bankers are. A call in the middle of the work day would be quite invasive and a quick way to get on a banker's nerves.
At any point in this process, if they contact you, take them off the cadence. Use Excel to track each person and which step of the process they are on.
Cut to the chase, investment bankers are very stressed for their time.
The goal of your email is to translate into an in-person meeting. That's how you build quality relationships and prove yourself to people who will vouch for you.
Your email should look something like this:
- Intro: Explain who you are and why you're reaching out
- Body: Explain why you want to work at firm X and why you're worth consideration. You establish your credibility not by saying that you're "hardworking and motivated," but with either a resume attached or solid objective examples in the body of your email. Additionally, if you have any common ground with the person (similar interest, same fraternity, etc.) make sure to mention that.
- Close: Ask for either a call or a meeting.
Avoid general asks such as "I would love to meet for a coffee or beer". Instead, do some research. Find a place near their office and make your request specific. I.e "I would be willing to meet up and buy you a beer. How does X bar on Thursday or Friday evening work?"
Overall, your email should be no longer than 4-5 sentences as one paragraph. Once you've crafted a template send it to yourself, check it out, view it on your phone, and make any adjustments as necessary
So there you have it, a guide for cold contacting as a non-target. Networking is your friend, in fact it's your greatest tool in obtaining an S&T internship. Wield it wisely, and remember that nothing replaces hard work. The best thing you could do for yourself is buckle down and get to networking right away. It's a scary beast at first, but once you start it becomes much more familiar and before you know it meeting with bankers will be a garden variety day for you.
The First Round Interview - S&T and Investment Banking
Here are two critical questions you'll almost invariably get asked in your interview and how to answer them, according to @Marcus_Halberstram.
- What is an investment bank?
- Why this firm?
- Prove you're smart, driven, and an over-achiever
- Demonstrate your understanding in banking and why you're pursuing it
- Explain why this specific firm
- Prove you're a potential leader
- Prove you're a fast learner and pay attention to detail
- You are mature, reliable, and a hard worker
It's a financial institution that essentially creates markets by connecting buyers and sellers, and risk and capital. At a very high level, there is a sales and trading business and an investment banking business. And from what I understand, the investment banking division is structured into products (e.g. M&A, Leveraged Finance, ECM, DCM) and industries (e.g natural resources, consumer products, financial institutions).
The answer should be well thought out and as much as possible unique to the bank. What I always did was network within that bank before my interview and regurgitate the same answers I got when I asked my contacts why they joined that bank. Most banks have a few one liners on why they are special... be smart and know how to use those to your advantage. DO NOT read off Goldman Sachs top 10 principles as the reasons you want to work at GS. Do use one of the less cheesy one of those to put in your own words a theme you can say you've observed that sets them apart and makes you want to work there over other banks.
Ultimately, you have to prove a few things about yourself to do well in your first interview (@marcus_halberstram):
It's superday, and you're ready to slay that interview. You feel comfortable answering technicals, why banking, why this bank, etc. But being too comfortable is very much so an affliction common to superdays. Kids got past the first round interview and they're no longer feeling the nerve necessary to keep them grounded. Remember, you want to come off as someone the interviewer is willing to work 80+ hours a week with. Nobody wants to work with a cocky jerk. The content of superday interviews are fairly similar to first round interviews, so if you're prepared for those (which you clearly are if you made it to superday), then you're in good shape.
How to Succeed as an S&T Intern
The work of S&T interns isn't exactly sophisticated, but that doesn't mean succeeding as an S&T intern is easy. Here are some do's and don'ts on succeeding as an S&T intern from @derivstrading.
- Don't mess up the lunch order. It seems simple enough, but it's entirely a matter of demonstrating reliability. Until you are trusted, you won't be assigned any tasks of significance. Trust starts with menial tasks like delivery.
- Don't ask simple questions that can be learned through google.
When you learned the basic knowledge yourself you can actually have a discussion with the traders on how they run their books, for example what kind of div risk he is running, how he is hedging/managing it. From a traders perspective you will get a lot more points from a 30 min discussion about the persons book than being taught basic things you should have already learned.
- One source of office banter is sort of self-deprecating, cracking jokes at the expense of the company in any way. While it's good to get involved in office banter, don't make the mistake of cracking jokes at the company's expense, you're just an intern.
- Arrive early, and don't ever be the last one on the desk.
- Don't take a seat at the table during a meeting until you're sure every senior person is seated. It's a matter of etiquette that applies to pretty much anything.
- Stay humble, just as much a piece of general life advice as much it is intern advice.
- Talk to as many people as possible. First of all, you'll gaina better understanding of where you fit best. It'll also give you as much exposure to MDs as possible, which is a critical factor in determining whether you get a return offer. If you leave good impressions on the MDs, you'll be in a great spot to get a FT offer.
Whatever you get taught during the day, review your notes before the next day and make sure you can answer questions on the topic: One of the things you are judged most on is how you pick up information. If you learn something, you should be able to answer questions on that stuff from then on. Its not university where you have an exam at the end and you just need to learn it before the day, but you need to be able to absorb information like a sponge. If a trader teaches you something, 10 minutes later you should be able to answer questions on the material.
Original Thread - What do Sales Interns Actually do?
Will be interning on Fixed Income, Sales desk at a BB. What would I actually be doing? (Note the desk was not my first choice, I assumed I was going to be trading but apparently they just randomly put me in sales). Thanks.