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The art of the investment banking internship

The summer interns have arrived, and they're back in the office. Yesterday, 505 interns started in JPMorgan's EMEA offices. Last week, 550 interns started at Morgan Stanley in Asia. US banking interns began at the start of the month.

As we've noted already, this year's internships could potentially be harder to convert into full time positions than last year's, particularly for people in investment banking divisions where 2022 revenues look challenged. 

If you want a job offer at the end of the internship, you therefore need to play the game exceptionally well.  We spoke to successful interns from previous years. This is their advice...

1. Become a power user of Excel and PowerPoint

You'll be using Excel and PowerPoint a lot, and you won't have a chance to completely familiarize yourself with them during the training, says one successful markets intern.

2. Multitask 

"If there was anything I needed to learn to do quickly during my internship it was multitasking," says a former intern from an investment banking division. Multitasking was his most precious skill, he added. Another intern pointed out that short tasks can easily mount-up if you're not used to juggling and dealing with quick deadlines.

3. Network

"Networking has to be highly prolific," says one incoming sales and trading analyst at a North American bank. Last year, networking was virtual. This year, coffee chats are back in fashion. You may need to network beyond your team. "Find time to connect with other teams and people outside of your immediate circle," says one incoming analyst at a Japanese bank. "It is one of the most important things to do over the course of the program if you want to maximize your chances of getting a return offer." 

5. Ask meaningful questions 

Another incoming analyst at a Japanese bank said he too made sure to set up brief calls with analysts and associates on other teams. "The key for me was to always ask meaningful questions," he says. "I prepared for those calls by doing research and going through their LinkedIn profiles to make a good impression."

7. Never complain about the hours 

Previous years' interns caution against not working as hard as you are able. "Work as long as it takes and as hard as possible," says one intern, who says he regularly worked until 11pm during the second half of his internship. 

8. Start work early

"I had no idea how much more work I would be able to do if I start my mornings an hour before I was supposed to sign in. This was key for me to be able to accomplish everything and network during the time I saved," says a successful intern at JPMorgan.

9. Go to the events

"Even though interns aren't required to attend many of the events, I tried my best to attend most if not all of them. You learn so much about the firm and have an additional opportunity to network with seniors," says the JPM intern. Eric Sim, the former UBS MD turned career coach, agrees: "Too many interns think the team dinners and drinks are not important," he says.

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Photo by Liao Je Wei on Unsplash

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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