So with two months to go, I thought it would be a good shout for all those about to start s&t internships to give a couple points of advice on things you should be doing before you start in 2 months time. Im hoping more useful tips will be added by experienced users as comments.
These are the top things you should do with the last two months to put yourself in the best position to get an offer at the end of the summer.
- Put together a rough list of desks you would like
If you are on a rotational program then chances are that your rotations will have a huge element of randomness to them, I know mine did. But if you walk in with a rough goal of which desk you would like to get a rotation on, then the probability of you actually getting this desk increases significantly.
A personal anecdote will probably most help to explain my point. In my internship my first rotation i was put on a desk that really didnt suit my interests and I think a week into it both my manager and I felt that its not the desk for me. I was most interested in options, and knew quite a bit of the theory, therefore first week i went over to the desk and asked if i can sit with them for a little bit. In the end I was able to network my way on to that desk because I had some previous knowledge of the asset class.
Technical knowledge and knowing what you want goes a LONG way to actually getting there. It seems obvious but tons of other interns came in not really having a good idea of which desk and therefore let their rotations being given to them, instead of creating opportunities. You dont want to leave yourself at the hand of HR.
With two months to go, you can learn quite a bit in the technical space of a product. In 2 months you can easily go through Natenberg and understand it. When lookign at which desks interests you, its tricky because you have no experience, but think about the following: which news events are you most interested?, what type of quant aspect can you handle? micro v macro? liquid v illiquid?. Personally, I think the best way to get a rough idea is to read a book, if the product interests you, then its a high chance that you will like to trade it.
- Cover some technical knowledge
With 2 months, theres a lot you can cover, once you have your product(s) of choice, make an effort to learn the theory behind it. For example go throughand do the exercises. The benefit of this is that you can stand above the rest by either a) showing you are interested and covered the material before or b) pretend that you are a quick learner. I think B is a good strategy, let them teach you things, and then when they test you, you can impress as it seems you grasped the material extremely quickly and in depth. The one thing you should not do is cross the line into cocky, be humble, and never show off knowledge, simply answer and ask questions correctly and intelligently. If you dont know, say you dont know and make a best effort.
For technicals, you dont need much more than the following:
-General: Hull - Options, Futures and Derivatives
-Options: Natenberg or Sinclair
-FICC: Fabozzi and pick relevant chpts
- Mental Maths
This may seem strange, but if you are rusty then practice, practice and practice, You will no doubt take part in an open outcry trading game, and mental maths is pretty much the most useful skill with this. These open outcry games are ways they will judge you, and in mine there were heads of desks present, so its a chance to impress. I have wrote up a strategy on how to impress here: http://www.leveredhedge.com/articles/on-the-job-ar...
- Market Awareness
If you are not following the markets, then start. Get into a routine of going through key news events every morning. Get to the point where you can come int othe office and have a quick 15-20 min routine. You want to have a feel for what is going on, and be able to talk fluently with people while sitting with them. You will not be fluent just by waiting until the start of the internship to start reading WSJ/FT. Finviz.com is a great source for bringing couple articles from various sources together.
- Pre Networking
If you have a desk in mind that you would like to work on, find out who is on that desk and send an introductory email. Do not be too keen and crazy sounding, some ppl dont like this and you dont want to risk that at this stage. Just a simple intro is fine.
Do not wait until you start to start getting your wardrobe together. Get all your shit beforehand, you will thank me later.
- Put together a map of eateries around the office
You will thank me for this. If you can get a good rep with the people at the major places, this will help save errors.
Thats all off the top of my head, and I will add more if I think of them.