Useless PWM Internship?

I think I screwed myself over in the beginning with this internship. When my supervisor asked what I wanted to do, I was too vague and now I'm doing pointless work. I've only been doing it for a week though.

I know PWM internships tend to involve bad work, and that someone has to do it. But all I've done so far is edit a giant PowerPoint, copy/mail stuff, and summarize/re-write some documents.

Sure, I get exposure, but most of the work seems like its a waste of a summer.

Do you have any tips or suggestions on how to ask for better work and some types of work I can ask for? I would love to use Bloomberg more, conduct basic stock or company analysis, etc . . . basically anything that is actually finance, not marketing. I've had 2 internships before (underclassman) but never one that involved as much bitch work as this.

Comments (34)

Jun 14, 2013
littlebitconfuzzled:

I would love to use Bloomberg more, conduct basic stock or company analysis, etc . . . basically anything that is actually finance

....tell your boss this. Also, realize that the marketing stuff gives you exposure to things you don't know yet. You may be simply putting together a list of clients and by seeing what they're invested in you will gain insight.

Other than that, be glad you didn't land in a cold calling farm, it could be far worse

Jun 14, 2013

It's only been a week...ask for more responsibility over time. If this is your first internship then just stick it out and get something better by leveraging the experience in PWM. My first internship was PWM and it sucked, but got some really good internships later on.

Jun 14, 2013

Ask for a project, I've been in 3 internships so far and each one (minus a pure accounts payable shit internship that was more slave labor then anything) had a long term project where I would learn a lot.

Jun 14, 2013

Most PWM internships are crap. Just be glad you're actually doing something other than cold-calling.

Jun 16, 2013

Well I'm not at all okay with what I'm doing right now, but starting this week I will ask for some more substantive projects, and definitely try to get a finance related one. Also, he took me to a client meeting once, and I find those very interesting and will ask/try to go to more.

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Jun 16, 2013

Borderline troll post or just pure ridiculousness.

Jun 16, 2013

Similar situation, also interested.

Jun 16, 2013

You'd be surprised at the connections people have, even if it's only "Oh yeah I went to undergrad with a guy who's now a VP at X, or I manage money for the parents of so and so at bank Y, I'll send him a quick email for u". Get to know some of the FAs and let them know your goals and I'm willing to bet they'll be able to help at least a little bit.

Aside from the networking, it's critically important that you take on at least 1 or 2 projects that give you talking points for interviews next year and beyond. This demonstrates that you have the competence/ability to finish a task in a satisfactory manner. FWIW, I did an unpaid BB PWM internship in a medium sized city after soph. year, then got a much better (and well paid) internship the next summer along with a full-time offer. It'll be what you make of it.

Jun 16, 2013

Forgot something else. When I was at the PWM internship guys would come from Goldman, Wells Fargo, etc. to pitch new products or funds over a lunch meeting. These are great to sit in on for educational purposes as well as potential networking ops if your company lets you.

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Jun 16, 2013

^ what firm was your PWM internship at?

Jun 16, 2013

Think MS, JPM, ML, UBS...would rather not say specifically.

Jun 16, 2013

Sure. I'll be at one of those four and will make sure to keep my eyes peeled for those types of opportunities.

Jun 16, 2013

find the floor with the real analysts, associates, etc...ppl who make decisions....

bring a tray of starbucks coffee's and some cookies...

continue this for a week, till someone asks "whats your namekid?"...

say your name politely, then offer to grab lunch everyday for them....if they let you look at one of their models...

continue bringing them lunch everyday, till you get a chance to pitch them someday

Jun 16, 2013

i'd like to know what others say as well...i will be in UBS PWM as a soph/junior....but i really need to get into the front office...any advice would be appreciated

Jun 16, 2013

bumping this up...posting it over the weekend probably wasn't the best idea

Jun 16, 2013

I'm American and in the UK myself.

I hope you are at Oxford, Cambridge, LSE, Warwick, Imperial, or UCL. Otherwise you are not at a target.

Having said that, the UK does a ridiculous amount of 2-week spring internships over Easter holiday to make up for the fact that students over there have fewer summers to do internships compared to their US and European counterparts. Sign up for as many as those as possible, and you'll be fine.

Jun 16, 2013

Yes, I'm at Oxford. Thanks for the advice - will be sure to apply for some spring weeks.

Jun 16, 2013

Oxford is really really not career focused, so take a lot of initiative and make sure to do relevant extracurriculars. A lot of Oxford kids get interviews easily but end up losing out on offers to Cambridge, London and Warwick students who hustle much harder from day one.

Jun 16, 2013

I was in the same situation as you not too long ago. I guess one thing I would point out is that, at the end of the day, the people interviewing you also probably did WM internships and they know how those go. So, try to get meaningful work if you can, but even if you don't, the purpose of WM internships is to show you are interested in finance and willing to pay your dues. If you need help on how to frame the internship on your resume, pm me.

Jun 16, 2013

I was listening to this guy talk about interning at a radio station where his responsibilities were making sure everyone had their morning drink (coffee w/whatever), then their snacks, and finally their meals on time, which of course had to be hot and ready. He was going into radio, not serving, so internships often are just junk work. Everyone knows it, but like the above poster said it's all about paying your dues. Plus, the way they look at it is if you can't get the coffee orders right everyday, how can you be trusted with any real work.

If your manager likes you and is super busy, casually ask him if there's anything you can do to help him lighten his workload.

Jun 16, 2013

+1 on theparadox's post. My internship was legitimately 90% cold calling. It was pretty bad but it was a good few bullets on my resume.

Yeah you can ask for more work but I wouldn't expect too much out of it.

Jun 16, 2013

Yeah but I'm not even doing cold calling...I don't know how I could spin what I do into anything...

Jun 16, 2013

Funny, I actually just asked the head advisor at the office that today. I told him that I wanted to do something that was tangible that I could put on the resume, even if I had to do it outside of work. He is friendly, but he told me that I could attend one of the weekly classes that they had, and once I did that he would let me do some work on client asset allocation. So just be cool about it and communicate that you're still willing to do the bitch work.

Jun 16, 2013

i had the same problem....i didn't really know what i wanted to do in finance until my senior year so i had only done PWM internships...I ended up making my title "Intern Analyst" for the most recent one..

I was able to justify that by saying I did a lot of research for the group...be it contacting mutual fund wholesalers to discuss fund performance...then present findings to advisors along with feedback of my own..stuff like that

basically inflate your work to the maximum amount...even if you did something once, make it seem like that was the norm for you..

Jun 16, 2013

notaspammer - Thanks! That's really helpful.

StoudeMelo - That's awesome, but literally I can't even embellish what I'm doing I think...I'm literally doing one thing for 8 hours a day - making copies and mailing shit.

Jun 16, 2013

haha...summer before my senior year i interned at ML in PWM...literally the most boring thing ever...it ended up being 3/4 days per week at the most and i got out before 5 every day...

I'm really not a fan of the profession at all as the advisors seemed to work only part time...i really just read books the entire time.....and reading about Jordan Belfort made my work seem that much more boring.

Jun 16, 2013

Ask if you can do an analysis of a mutual fund. I assume that most client's at your PWM branch get assigned to a mutual fund. Ask your boss if the firm is investing in any emerging market funds, gold etfs, REIT, etc. Say that you want to compile a report of different mutual funds within that sector. Makes for an excellent bullet point on your resume and is a good talking point for equity research experience.

Jun 16, 2013

How it works is that most clients are invested in specific asset allocation models. Each model consists of pretty much the same funds (equity funds including small/large cap, growth/value, non-US emerging/developed, fixed income funds, alternative investment funds). What changes with each model is the proportion of assets in each fund and thus the allocation to each asset class and sub-class. I was thinking about doing some kind of report on the funds we use in our models. Just not sure exactly how that would work... Im pretty sure that fairly detailed performance reports are easily available on the funds we invest (keep in mind the majority of our clients are invested in the same funds).

I could pick a sub-class of asset or a particular fund in our models that has performed poorly relative to the others we use (or other funds in that category that we dont use) and then prepare some kind of comparitive report.

Appreciate the advice. SB for the help.

Any other suggestions/ideas?

Jun 16, 2013
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Jun 16, 2013