Interns should "have a good attitude and ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS..."

So before any internship banking or not they tell you to ask a lot of questions and be eager to learn. Does anybody ever feel that you asking so much questions, specifically asking them if you could help them with anything becomes pointless sometimes?/

During both internships I've had (BB and MM, one IB one BO) this has happened - for example during the IB one (where there was no formal process) I ask around to everyone if I can help them with anything - they all say no they're "good" (probably because they don't want to teach you and give you the responsibility).

So I sit around read random finance crap and do nothing. I ask again, get the same answer. But at certain point when I don't ask because I feel I've bothered them enough.

I want to shine / stand out / or at least do a great job but a lot of times the people around you, the environment, culture, the organization, or the deal flow doesnt give you the opportunity to do so. But the responsibility ultimately comes back to me.

Anybody ever face the same sort of situation? Describe your experiences here.

Comments (23)

 
Dec 21, 2011 - 6:24pm

Similar experience. I would just back off. They'll let you know if they need your help. Ask once in a while but not all the time. It's pretty annoying if you keep on asking for work.

The reason why many people feel reluctant giving you work at the beginning is the fact that they don't trust you. If there is something that takes them an hour to do, if they give it to you it might take you two hours with a bunch of mistakes. And then it might take them another hour to fix your mistakes. Just read this thread:
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/is-ib-really-hard-seriously

Just make sure whenever they do give you work, you do it perfectly no matter how simple or boring it is. And then ask for feedback and ways to improve. Once they feel comfortable about your ability/knowledge about the way their group does stuff/senior bankers' expectations, they'll slowly give you more work.

 
Dec 21, 2011 - 7:00pm

DreamMonkey:
what would you recommend doing when people aren't giving you work? I'm always paranoid that I appear as if I'm slacking so I'm reading industry reports or sometimes dealbook

Jump in a model in a read only version and start auditing it to see how things flow through. See how the architecture is laid out, and then see if you can go about building one yourself using that template as a go-by. The benefit of this is if someone comes to you and you're doing this it always looks like you're working on something versus just reading industry reports. Don't get me wrong, reading industry reports is beneficial, but for your development, looking at the model and familiarizing yourself with your group's comps file and standard valuation outputs is a much better usage of time. If some intern came to me and was like "hey I know you're working on the model for x company, i link up the output file if you like, or i can drop in the comps to the valuation wedge." I would be more impressed with that than if they simply said "can i help you with anything?" Showing initiative will definitely put your in a good spot to eventually receive more responsibility.

One point to stress DO THIS IN READ ONLY VERSIONS ONLY... or a new version that you save down. I would be livid if an intern came into my file and fucked it up, regardless of whether they were trying to help.

 
Dec 23, 2011 - 6:52am

rufiolove:
DreamMonkey:
what would you recommend doing when people aren't giving you work? I'm always paranoid that I appear as if I'm slacking so I'm reading industry reports or sometimes dealbook

Jump in a model in a read only version and start auditing it to see how things flow through. See how the architecture is laid out, and then see if you can go about building one yourself using that template as a go-by.

One point to stress DO THIS IN READ ONLY VERSIONS ONLY... or a new version that you save down. I would be livid if an intern came into my file and fucked it up, regardless of whe).ther they were trying to help.


This is really good advice as it helps you come up with more specific questions on past deals (e.g. by analysing a model, and coming up with a few questions to the person who built it). Also helps you build up your modelling skills much quicker which is exactly what you want to do if you're seeking a buyside exit within 1-2yrs of your analyst stint.
 
Dec 21, 2011 - 10:00pm

From my experience at an unstructured internship at a boutique last summer, Analysts get pretty annoyed if you keep asking them for work. One way that worked for me without pissing everyone off is to send an email blast to all the analysts saying that you have extra bandwidth and can hop on a project. Obviously do this once a day... Any more than that and you would inundate their inbox.

The biggest issue with internships is that the Analysts don't really know what you're capable of, and as been said before, they could do your project in half the time it would take you with 100% less mistakes. At the end of the day, this isn't school and most analyst don't care what you learn as long as they get out of the office early.

 
Dec 22, 2011 - 8:55am

cik11:
From my experience at an unstructured internship at a boutique last summer, Analysts get pretty annoyed if you keep asking them for work. One way that worked for me without pissing everyone off is to send an email blast to all the analysts saying that you have extra bandwidth and can hop on a project. Obviously do this once a day... Any more than that and you would inundate their inbox.

The biggest issue with internships is that the Analysts don't really know what you're capable of, and as been said before, they could do your project in half the time it would take you with 100% less mistakes. At the end of the day, this isn't school and most analyst don't care what you learn as long as they get out of the office early.

This, I've made this mistake before as well always try to keep yourself busy and show them that you are a team player but don't make their life harder by forcing them to dig through stuff to find something to keep you busy. If they have work for you they will give it to you trust me.

'We're bigger than U.S. Steel"
 
Dec 22, 2011 - 10:54am

cik11:
From my experience at an unstructured internship at a boutique last summer, Analysts get pretty annoyed if you keep asking them for work. One way that worked for me without pissing everyone off is to send an email blast to all the analysts saying that you have extra bandwidth and can hop on a project. Obviously do this once a day... Any more than that and you would inundate their inbox.

The biggest issue with internships is that the Analysts don't really know what you're capable of, and as been said before, they could do your project in half the time it would take you with 100% less mistakes. At the end of the day, this isn't school and most analyst don't care what you learn as long as they get out of the office early.

Would definitely NOT do this. Blasts are retarded, everyone hates them, and if you blasted out that you "weren't that busy" someone would likely send you on a data mining excursion for every historical metric they could think of without any intent of using any of the info...

 
Dec 22, 2011 - 8:53am

I've def learned in my experience it doesn't pay to be too up your senior guys asses with questions. When you are staffed on a project together that is when it's appropriate to ask good questions otherwise don't bombard them too much with random questions throughout the day, and also be thoughtful when you ask questions don't ask questions that can be found within 10 minutes of searching on Google or some other resource.

'We're bigger than U.S. Steel"
 
Dec 22, 2011 - 11:16am

During the summer, analysts never seemed to mind when I asked intelligent questions, but don't ask shit like "Where's net income?" or "Is EBIT same as Net income" (I actually heard this being asked a cubicle over..)

They don't expect you to know much, but they expect you to try to find an answer to it yourself before you ask them..

Also, pestering them every hour is probably not a good idea, but what I did during downtime was look at relevant info on the deal on hold/pending pitch. Just don't go on Amazon or start dozing off and you're OK.

Also- it's not a bad idea to check in with the Analyst 30~ minutes after they arrive (assuming you arrive before the analyst, which you should) and around 11pm (When there is absolutely nothing to do, I would say it's safe to check in with your analyst/associate around 11pm before you jet.)

Banking.
 
Dec 22, 2011 - 3:14pm

DreamMonkey:
So before any internship banking or not they tell you to ask a lot of questions and be eager to learn. Does anybody ever feel that you asking so much questions, specifically asking them if you could help them with anything becomes pointless sometimes?/

During both internships I've had (BB and MM, one IB one BO) this has happened - for example during the IB one (where there was no formal process) I ask around to everyone if I can help them with anything - they all say no they're "good" (probably because they don't want to teach you and give you the responsibility).

So I sit around read random finance crap and do nothing. I ask again, get the same answer. But at certain point when I don't ask because I feel I've bothered them enough.

I want to shine / stand out / or at least do a great job but a lot of times the people around you, the environment, culture, the organization, or the deal flow doesnt give you the opportunity to do so. But the responsibility ultimately comes back to me.

Anybody ever face the same sort of situation? Describe your experiences here.

Maybe they realized you don't fully grasp the english language and don't want you to fuck up all their work... just a thought...

 
Dec 22, 2011 - 6:09pm

HFFBALLfan123:
DreamMonkey:
So before any internship banking or not they tell you to ask a lot of questions and be eager to learn. Does anybody ever feel that you asking so much questions, specifically asking them if you could help them with anything becomes pointless sometimes?/

During both internships I've had (BB and MM, one IB one BO) this has happened - for example during the IB one (where there was no formal process) I ask around to everyone if I can help them with anything - they all say no they're "good" (probably because they don't want to teach you and give you the responsibility).

So I sit around read random finance crap and do nothing. I ask again, get the same answer. But at certain point when I don't ask because I feel I've bothered them enough.

I want to shine / stand out / or at least do a great job but a lot of times the people around you, the environment, culture, the organization, or the deal flow doesnt give you the opportunity to do so. But the responsibility ultimately comes back to me.

Anybody ever face the same sort of situation? Describe your experiences here.

Maybe they realized you don't fully grasp the english language and don't want you to fuck up all their work... just a thought...

Umm...yeah. Because I really give a shit about grammar, spelling, and proper english on an online forum full of college kids and random trolls.

 
Dec 22, 2011 - 7:00pm

DreamMonkey:
HFFBALLfan123:
DreamMonkey:
So before any internship banking or not they tell you to ask a lot of questions and be eager to learn. Does anybody ever feel that you asking so much questions, specifically asking them if you could help them with anything becomes pointless sometimes?/

During both internships I've had (BB and MM, one IB one BO) this has happened - for example during the IB one (where there was no formal process) I ask around to everyone if I can help them with anything - they all say no they're "good" (probably because they don't want to teach you and give you the responsibility).

So I sit around read random finance crap and do nothing. I ask again, get the same answer. But at certain point when I don't ask because I feel I've bothered them enough.

I want to shine / stand out / or at least do a great job but a lot of times the people around you, the environment, culture, the organization, or the deal flow doesnt give you the opportunity to do so. But the responsibility ultimately comes back to me.

Anybody ever face the same sort of situation? Describe your experiences here.

Maybe they realized you don't fully grasp the english language and don't want you to fuck up all their work... just a thought...

Umm...yeah. Because I really give a shit about grammar, spelling, and proper english on an online forum full of college kids and random trolls.

In HF's defense, the grammatical error here is not really the type that would be made by a native speaker who has matriculated through high school in the states...

 
Dec 22, 2011 - 3:44pm

As a summer analyst in IB. I had the same concern as some people mentioned above. After I had asked if anyone needed help a couple of times, I would back off for fear of annoying them. One of the other interns absolutely never stopped asking- like every 30 or 45 minutes, if he wasn't working on something else. Turned out they actually liked that more. So it can vary from team to team, and it's not a bad idea to explicitly ask what they'd like you to do if you have no work / how often you should be pestering them.

 
Dec 22, 2011 - 5:53pm

From my experience to become a valuable intern, tune in on what your colleagues are working on or if a client needed a request. Take initiative to get it done before they even ask you for it, makes their lives easier and makes you look valuable. Instead of reading articles all day, review the processes or methodologies your team is currently using and think of other ways to improve it. The more you make your team's life easier, the more valuable you are as an intern. Be resourceful to the entire team, look for work to do, improve on processes. Think ahead, what does the team need next, start working on that. Your colleagues will be impressed that you took the initiative to get it done.

 
Dec 23, 2011 - 3:42pm

DreamMonkey:
thanks for all the great advice! Last question though - generally speaking should interns have trouble "finding work" in a reputable BB/MM/Elite Boutique? Meaning, at firms with strong dealflow, will I run into the trouble of lacking any time-consuming experience?

If you're not getting work it will have nothing to do with the dealflow, it will be because you are annoying, incompetent, or people don't have time to teach you/check your work.

If your group isn't bringing in deals your group will likely be pitching. There is always work to be done. You probably need to do a bit more research into the deal process to try and identify areas where you can actually be of help as an intern, (i.e. putting together WGLs, offer to pull research / make PIBs, learn how your comps file works and practice spreading comps). I don't think you really understand that you will not be good enough to not be swamped. I can give you something that I anticipate cranking out in 2 hours and give it to an intern and it could easily take them most of a day and would be all wrong. You need to be humble and offer to save people time, even if that means taking on bitch work until you get things more challenging.

 
Dec 23, 2011 - 7:37pm

Don't ask extremely stupid shit (includes questions like "where is NI" or "is EBIT = NI?" just like someone above mentioned). On the other hand, there are some seemingly-stupid-yet-acceptable questions (example: how to create a dual bar/line graph with two different axes if you've already tried for a while but can't figure it out) that are fine to ask once or twice, as it will save both you and your co-workers time.

Key is to make sure to have a good attitude throughout and ultimately produce good work.

 
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Dec 25, 2011 - 12:44pm
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