Hello all. Inspired by another user's idea a few weeks ago, I've decided to keep notes of my internship in progress this summer and begin to release write-ups of each week as the summer goes on in an effort to give back to the community (and because I enjoy writing). If there is enough interest, I'll continue the series.
Monday morning arrived in the blink of an eye. Instructions were received ahead of time from HR concerning the logistics of orientation day: what to bring, when to arrive, and how to dress. Several of us met in front of the dorm building bright and early, well ahead of our scheduled arrival times, and set out to meet our makers.
Training week is a relatively straightforward beast and should be treated as such. There are some common pitfalls that you will witness. Your homework or preassigned training by HR may or may not be requested; either way, it's good to start your summer strong by coming in ready to go, fresh on common finance and accounting material, with all of your bases covered. Now is a good time to shoot your staffers and assigned mentors an e-mail to introduce yourself if you haven't already. The training itself is marginally useful, but it is important to remember that academic settings (even those coordinated by investment banks themselves!) are not entirely reflective of what you'll actually be doing once you hit the floor. You will get out of the material what you put in; sit in the first few rows, keep yourself energized, and focus on the instructor. Unfortunately, most of us are not wired to be able to sit through hours and hours of lecturing a day and absorb all of the information efficiently. As such, I will break down my training week agenda and emphasize what is especially important and what you'll be able to sleep through and live to tell the tale at the end of the summer with an offer in hand.
Orientation is a no-brainer. You come in, meet the HR people coordinating theprogram, put on a name tag with your group and/or school listed, go through any clearance procedures that need doing if your bank didn't have you do them in advance, sit down, receive free company stuff and your ID badge, meet the other interns, and listen to bankers deliver motivational and cautionary advice about the experience that lies ahead. Simple enough. The true essence of a no-brainer is laying back and discovering the no-brainers in your intern class.
Below I have compiled the contents of my training week into a neat table for your information. I will break them down accordingly.
8:30 AM - Check-in with HR and have breakfast
10:30 AM - group head welcomes the intern class
11:30 AM - HR summer analyst program managers introduce themselves
12:00 PM - Lunch break
1:00 PM - Lectures concerning compliance, expectations, summer logistics
4:30 PM - Break out into summer groups and meet with intern sponsors
5:00 PM - Welcome reception
8:00 AM - Macroeconomics
10:00 AM - Technology and IT resources
11:00 AM - Accounting and financial statement analysis
12:30 PM - Lunch
1:30 PM - Accounting and financial statement analysis continued
4:00 PM - Financial statement analysis application and examples
6:00 PM - Accounting and financial statement analysis homework assigned
8:00 AM - Homework review
9:00 AM - Financial modeling
12:00 PM - Lunch break
1:00 PM - Investment banking analyst position
1:30 PM - Group positions, responsibilities, and hierarchy
2:00 PM - Introduction to valuation
4:00 PM - Trading comparables
6:00 PM - Modeling homework assigned
8:00 AM - Homework review
9:00 AM -
12:00 PM - Lunch
1:00 PM - DCF continued
4:00 PM - Combined application of different valuation methods
6:00 PM - Valuation homework assigned
8:00 AM - Homework review
9:00 AM - Equity research
10:00 AM - Research, presentation services, and IB resources
12:00 PM - Lunch
1:00 PM - Pitchbooks
4:00 PM - Closing
In summary, training day is all about introductions and first impressions. Your HR program managers will be in attendance, and you should take a few seconds out of the multiple intersessions to shake their hands. Equally important is taking the time to meet the other interns around you. If you attend a non-target school, this is the opportunity to plug yourself into the clique of elite institutions and its future Wall Streeters. I've heard several bankers' accounts of how they still make it a point to meet up with their intern class colleagues to this day. Besides, you never know when you're going to need a favor over the course of the next couple months; it usually helps to have some rapport built in advance. Make it a point to remember everyone's name. Not because they're going to remember yours, but because it elevates you in their eyes when you recount theirs effortlessly at a later date, almost as if they now owe you something as they fumble around their minds' innermost recesses for a remote clue as to your identity.
Several topics of immense depth are covered at disturbingly brief speeds over the remainder of the week, each of varying relevance. It'll make you wonder why they even bothered in the first place. The first presentation was an overview of the markets. In case you're confused, no, your role as an investment banking analyst will not have much to do with the markets. However, for appearances' sake, you should at least be keeping up with the headlines. Your role is simply this: know how to get information quickly, compile and present it neatly, defend every last minute and irreverent detail with sources to boot, and get shit done when everything around you is falling apart. And by everything around you, I mean your means of production:, PowerPoint, Outlook, CapIQ, Factset, file directory, printer, and so on.
The presentations on workplace technology, IT support, and the resources at your disposal are arguably the most important knowledge dispensed to you and your peers. An overview of the different resources available to you and how to access them is given. Make note of any intern accounts and passwords mentioned, which resource to use in a given scenario, and how to get support for them. Each firm is different, but with all the penny-pinching going around, it's a good idea to perk your head up a couple centimeters to know when you can and can't have a book printed and bound or when it's okay to chargeto a cost center. Or where to even get equity research. Or any research for that matter. The point is that there is a lot more to the job than what you read online. You may not do any , but I can without a doubt guarantee that you will create a PIB, pull obscure data from nobody knows where, and call IT for support.
You should definitely pay attention when accounting and financial statement analysis is covered, but don't get flustered if and when - after 6 hours of your undivided attention - you zone out and miss a lecture on the finer points of reading the MD&A and footnotes. A lot of relevant information is covered, and you'll probably go back through your training materials during the summer as needed anyway.
The financial modeling and valuation portions are important primarily as an introduction to the neurotic banker use of. Listening to the walk through of a DCF and accretion/dilution analysis is marginally useful at best because you won't learn these until you actually do them yourself. And by do them yourself, I mean fill in the templates. The key takeaways from these lectures are the setup and shortcuts. The basics include setting up for circular references and ease of access to the spreadsheet cells. You'll more than likely be given a list of shortcuts to reference.
The least interesting and most necessary training segments revolve aroundcomparables and pitchbook formatting. These quintessential chores belonged to the first-year analysts and have now slid down the proverbial hill squarely onto your shoulders. Listen and take notes as the instructor walks you through spreading . There are a few sticking points, including where to locate options and restricted stock (and which to use) as well as adjusting for non-recurring items. Chances are you will be walked through this process again once you hit the desk. If you are at an established firm, these comps will have already been done and updated with each quarter for the most part. This means your job is to change a few inputs, refresh the pull from whatever database your firm uses, and then pull up the appropriate SEC filings to compare. Top your work off with a sanity check: literally look at the output and make sure the multiples aren't outrageous without a cause. Pitchbook formatting is another beast. These decks can be pretty large and if you're pitching a conglomerate, there is a chance it will be a multi-group effort. As an intern, you are usually given a few slides to work on and in charge of turning the comments and mark-ups provided by senior bankers. There isn't much you can do to practice: the key takeaways are attention to detail and as many formatting tricks as you can take away from the lesson.
Homework, or extra practice, is assigned throughout the course and/or at the end of each day. This is your opportunity to begin absorbing these concepts through trial and error. Bankers are there to answer questions and provide tips. My experience from this showed me that senior bankers haven't been in the weeds for a long time, and that often times there is dispute over how to handle certain situations (such as non-recurring items) pending on the group. This means that you shouldn't stress out over small details (for now) and your group specific training will be infinitely more effective once you hit the desk.
This concludes the simplest week of an investment banking. Thanks for reading and feel free to ask questions.
The very talented author of this post, moneymogul, is also the author of our updated Finance Internship Guide. Want to read more of his stories? Order the guide now for 80 pages of extremely detailed day-by-day reports from an actual investment banking intern.
Throwback Thursday, this was originally posted in 2013