What to expect from a Sales & Trading summer internship?

Saymo's picture
Rank: Chimp | banana points 8

Hello everyone,

I a Junior in college and I have just secured a summer S&T internship at a BB. I applied to that job because I am fascinated by the markets, I like confronting risk, and I like to life style of the job.

Now, I know that an intern's work is not the same as a full-time analyst, especially in S&T. Could you please describe what I should expect to be doing during the summer? I want to do well and be prepared for it as much as I can. Any advice is welcome.

Thank you.
Saymo

Investment Banking Interview Course

  • 7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. Crowdsourced from over 500,000 members.
  • Technical, behavioral, networking, case videos, templates. All included.
  • Most comprehensive IB interview course in the world.

Comments (46)

Mar 2, 2015

Pay attention, dont be annoying, dont mess up food orders, make sure to read a lot outside of the office (i.e. if you are on an options desk, try to read as much options prep as possible so that you can ask questions with some depth to them, rather than stuff that can be googled).

Also dont use knowledge to show off, use your technical knowledge to pretend like you are a quick learner. So that if someone is teaching you something you arleady know, pretend you know it, and then ask questions using your knowledge. Obviously not the easiest thing, but if yo ucan pull it off it works like a charm.

Mar 2, 2015

Depends on what sort of desk you are on.
If you are on a trading desk then you will most likely not do very much at all. If you are a VBA star then you might get some programming tasks. Building screeners etc.
If you are on a sales desk then you will most likely get some hands-on work to do. Usual stuff: Wraps, week aheads etc. It is extremely important that you contribute regularly and come up with ideas. Don't be afraid to present them to your superiors even if they aren't 100% "bullet proof".
What I've learnt from past experience is that it is the thought that counts. Very few people expect you to be on the same level as them.
When I went out with a few of the eqd sales guys from my team they told me that they were really glad that I made such an effort to come up with trading ideas and pushed them although I only had a vague understanding of the underlying theories etc.
This is the key part: They said that their previous intern knew the Hull pretty much inside-out but didn't bother generating any ideas and was hardly moldable since he already knew everything.
--- People like to shape young recruits and teach them how the business works. No one likes a smart ass. ---

Mar 2, 2015
nauprillion:

Depends on what sort of desk you are on.
If you are on a trading desk then you will most likely not do very much at all. If you are a VBA star then you might get some programming tasks. Building screeners etc.
If you are on a sales desk then you will most likely get some hands-on work to do. Usual stuff: Wraps, week aheads etc. It is extremely important that you contribute regularly and come up with ideas. Don't be afraid to present them to your superiors even if they aren't 100% "bullet proof".
What I've learnt from past experience is that it is the thought that counts. Very few people expect you to be on the same level as them.
When I went out with a few of the eqd sales guys from my team they told me that they were really glad that I made such an effort to come up with trading ideas and pushed them although I only had a vague understanding of the underlying theories etc.
This is the key part: They said that their previous intern knew the Hull pretty much inside-out but didn't bother generating any ideas and was hardly moldable since he already knew everything.
--- People like to shape young recruits and teach them how the business works. No one likes a smart ass. ---

In other words, in equities, I could recommend the purchase of Apple and that the client short Amazon.

Mar 2, 2015

Great advice ^

Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Mar 2, 2015

I did a S&T summer internship before at a BB, and would agree that the above advice is spot on.

Mar 2, 2015

Thanks nauprillion, your advice is really helpful. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be on the trading side. This internship is for the summer after my sophomore year; I'm wondering in the future (i.e. for internships after junior year) will my internship experience be considered less valuable because, as a trading intern, I 'didn't really do anything'?

Mar 2, 2015

Although it's not considered a BB, Susquehanna has an amazing S&T summer analyst program in Philadelphia if you live near there.

Mar 2, 2015

Interested in this as well.

I win here, I win there...

Mar 2, 2015

curious too..............

Mar 2, 2015

The first thing they do is learn to use the search function......

Mar 2, 2015

Observe & Report

Mar 2, 2015

ask questions and learn

Mar 2, 2015

Try to act smart for 10 weeks while doing nothing

Mar 2, 2015

highly depended on what desk you're placed on and how long you are there for. The one constant is you will have to network a ton and be prepared to ask and answer a lot of questions. A good portion will consist of shadowing (usually traders) and trying to find ways to help em out. These can be as simple as getting coffee or programming something for them in excel to make their lives easier. A successful intern will be the one that can pick their spots, be well liked, have a great attitude, complete all projects given, and be able to understand the big picture of how sales and trading works and how different desks work together and make money.

Mar 2, 2015

get food, ask questions, get taught, do some ad hoc projects the desk sets you.

Mar 2, 2015

thanks for the posts guys. I have been doing mostly shadowing and a lot of different excel/bloomberg projects for the traders so it seems like I will be getting a scaled down version of a normal S&T internship.

Is there anything in particular that would be a great resume builder that I can do this summer while at the firm..like i stated in the OP, the guys are very open and willing to help.

Mar 2, 2015

solve problems

Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Mar 2, 2015
  • Get in at least 1/2 hour before the markets (the one's related to your desk) open and before senior traders get in
  • make copies, summaries of various market reports applicable to the products the desk trades
  • get coffee for traders if asked to do so (should offer even if not asked)
  • shadow traders (spend about 1-2 hours with each trader)
  • when down time ask thoughtful questions
  • pick a few securities that the desk trades and independently track the prices (when someone ask where it last traded you can answer)
  • go get lunch for the desk
  • shadow some more, ask more questions
  • sometimes you'll be asked to help confirm/book/blotter trades or double check these things that were done by the traders
  • do some basis market research when asked (look up internal research on this company)
  • sit in on weekly market recap meeting
  • write end of day summary
  • writting market reviews for other product areas (if you're on an equity desk the desk might ask you to summarize what's going on on the FX desk)
  • some desks ask their SA to come up w/ a trading idea given various assumptions

although it seems like you aren't really doing much you are actually learning a ton. You will be evaluated on your ability to pick up concepts quickly, asking intelligent thought out applicable questions, being in early, knowing when to keep your mouth shut, perfectly executing all menial tasks, being pleasant and happy about doing any menial task, have a personality that fits with the desk.

hope this helps

Mar 2, 2015

Is that typical day pretty much true/equivalent for sales desks as well? And is it true for the first few months of FT positions? I'm assuming that an intern may be able to contribute just as someone starting out full time with no experience. Cheers.

Fandango

"It is a fine thing to be out on the hills alone. A man can hardly be a beast or a fool alone on a great mountain." - Francis Kilvert (1840-1879)

"Ce serait bien plus beau si je pouvais le dire a quelqu'un." - Samivel

"It is a fine thing to be out on the hills alone. A man can hardly be a beast or a fool alone on a great mountain." - Francis Kilvert (1840-1879)

"Ce serait bien plus beau si je pouvais le dire a quelqu'un." - Samivel

Mar 2, 2015

awesome thank you so much. I could not have asked for a better responce. Since the firm im interning for doesnt have a formal program a lot of it is on me to be a self starter and find ways to add value. You gave me some suggestions, thank you.

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

Mar 2, 2015

i had to do a decent amount of programming in VBA & SQL but thats obviously dependent on the desk you're at.

------

"its the running joke now, we now have fair trade with china so they send us poisoned sea food and we send them fraudulent securities."

------

"its the running joke now, we now have fair trade with china so they send us poisoned sea food and we send them fraudulent securities."

Mar 2, 2015

what if you're on a prop investing desk?

Mar 2, 2015

on a prop desk would assume most of your time is working on investment ideas, building models, and TONS of reading--learn to love your 10-Ks

this would be for a fundamental type prop desk such as equity long/short, risk arb, cap structure arb, etc.

clearly an FX prop desk for example would not fit this mold

Mar 2, 2015

I know neither vba or sql but i am always trying to learn so I am able to make things easier in the long run.

Bateman you say that interns on a prop desk spend time making models, what kind of models. model may be the single most abused term in all of finance/economics. I will create a new thread dedicated for models.

I would also think that summer analysts are no different than a FT analyst beginning that summer. Of course if the FT analyst already had summer experience they are a leg up.

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

Mar 2, 2015

depends on the desk

for any fundamental based desk, model out company's financials build to ebitda FCF etc and make projections, pretty standard.

Mar 2, 2015

I assume thats more for a prop desk, and i assume your talking about equities, that seems like a very macro approach with little emphasis on actual trading/market making. What are you supposed to do on days when positions move against you, obviously when a position in moving in your favor thats good but when its oscilating or moving against you your not really building a PnL. The image you paint seems more like a PM than a trader, hence my confusion. If you are in equities and im way off target on my assumptions PLEASE pm me to explain where I am wrong.

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

Mar 2, 2015

that is def more for a fundamental based prop desk in equities/credit or a combination of both.

i dont know as much about pure flow desks but models are mostly built to manage risk, PnL and make sure the desk is properly hedged

Mar 2, 2015

I've read that you do projects? So is the summer spent mostly simulating real Trading experiences...

Mar 2, 2015

I'd also like to know the answer. Thanks.

Mar 2, 2015

In commodities, S&T interns often dabble in some of the following:

Commodity/market research projects, price modeling, P&L, generating daily reports, scheduling

Mar 2, 2015

What you do in S&T as an SA depends so much on your group or desk. Some groups or desks like giving projects while some groups don't bother dealing with you. In commodities, I did exactly what WxOnWallStreet mentioned. In other groups, most kids would do research on something pertaining to the product. For fixed income, you would do research on interest rates or inflation etc. For derivatives, sometimes they might ask you to try and structure something if you have the necessary knowledge but otherwise, you can just sit around and look for work. You also get breakfast and lunch for the traders so don't forget that. Make sure you get his or her order right all the time (this is not a joke). Do not note their orders down when they mention it to you. Try and keep it in memory and when you walk away, write it down.

Mar 2, 2015

"Do not note their orders down when they mention it to you. Try and keep it in memory and when you walk away, write it down."

Mar 2, 2015

How the hell did you get a S&T internship when you don't even know what you'd do there?

Mar 2, 2015

I know a lot of summers I seen get some sort of project along with the work of the desk they are on. Some people give them shit projects to keep them busy while others fully use them in a productive way on the day to day

Mar 2, 2015

you make extensive coffee runs during the day, and reconcile positions at the end of the day. Very intellectually stimulating. Now listen carefully because here comes the highlight>>Once in a while you get a senior trader screaming at you for some odd reason, he might just throw some object as well in your direction, like an old bear stearns bear or a lehman cube.. this is where you duck as fast as you can. Aspiring traders have to be quick and intelligent enough to survive.. or else forget about the FT offer.

Mar 2, 2015

i have a bear and lehman stress ball on my desk...ha...

Mar 2, 2015

It depends on your group. Talking from experience, an S&T internship can be VERY boring if you are forced to sit and watch a guy trade all day while looking for spots to ask insightful questions without getting yelled at.

Also make sure you don't fuck up their breakfast and lunch orders. They remember that shit, and it is the easiest way to develop goodwill or a bad reputation.

Mar 2, 2015

Flying lucite/deal blocks are dangerous...stay low and keep your head on a swivel

Mar 2, 2015
Comment
Mar 2, 2015
Mar 2, 2015