Blogging to promote your internship program

August 29, 2012 at 11:00 am | Posted in Internship wrap-up | 1 Comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

You know your students are doing a fantastic job at their internships, and you and your colleagues are consistently improving your school’s internship program, but why not let everyone else know it too? Blogging is the answer. It’s inexpensive, timely, and believable because it’s done by a real person who bonds with the reader. Encourage your students to do blogs as one way of summarizing their internship experiences or you might do a blog yourself on what’s new in your Career Services department. The following excerpts from student and university blogs may inspire you:

  • What I Learned From My Internship at a Y Combinator Startup
    BostInno (blog). I recently finished an internship at an awesome Y Combinator/500 Startups company called Flightfox. Putting it in perspective: it has taught me more in 2 months than I did throughout the whole school year. Here are few things that I learned.  Empathy:  Fast forward to my internship, Flightfox founders Todd and Lauren both were empathetic. Work hard: The founders were working hard and very focused. Drool over metrics: In the apartment that we worked out of, we had put white boards all over our work area. Trust your employees: One of my biggest experiments was to show the founders that social media can create buzz for the company as well as bring in conversions. Be Transparent: At an early stage startup, there are very few people on the team so there is no reason for the whole team to not know all about the company. Talk to customers: This is one of the biggest parts of starting a company. Learn from mistakes: As a startup, you are always experimenting and due to this you are bound to make decisions that are not always successful.
  • CALS internships: Six of seven continents isn’t bad – eCALS – News 
    By rdmitche. We don’t know of any CALS student with an internship in Antarctica at the moment, but we’ve got the other six continents covered. We know this because a lot of our students are posting photos and descriptions of their experiences on the CALS Career Services Facebook page. Among them is Kate Mansfield, a senior double-majoring in Biology and Life Sciences Communication who is interning with New Seed International, a non-governmental organization that runs a school, health clinic and orphanage in Volta, Ghana for women and children with HIV/AIDS. Kate’s role is to develop a health and wellness program, while also working to improve the compound’s poultry farm and school garden. Posted in: Around CALSTeaching & Advising
  • Tulane University – Insider: Students opt for public service internships
    By Fran Simon. More than 100 students are serving the community through the Center for Public Service’s internship program. A summer job at a burger joint may benefit a student-sized budget, but internships offered through the Tulane Center for Public Service offer a whole lot more. Nick Solari, senior program coordinator for internships, says that students are catching on to the benefits of working for one of the center’s community partners. More than 100 students are participating in the public service internship program this summer through positions with local community and governmental organizations, hospitals and nonprofits.  A few students took on out-of-state jobs in cities such as New York, Boston and Washington, D.C. “Like in any internship program, students have the opportunity to explore potential career paths, enhance their professional networks, build new skills and boost their resumes,” says Solari.
  • Eye of the Intern blog on internships.com:  Melissa DiVietri (@missydi) is a Senior at Ferris State University, majoring in New Media/Printing Management.  Read more on her blog. I have always considered myself as a dedicated individual who goes the extra mile for every accomplishment. I am a bubble of smiles, eager to learn new things and always prepared for every obstacle placed in my pathway. I began my search for my summer internship in November 2011. I made an ‘internship board,’ which included all the companies I applied, the job description and sticky notes on responses from human resource departments. I would follow-up with companies every 3-4 weeks on job opportunities. After months of searching, I got a break with the help of networking within my connections. I received a phone interview for a Digital Media position at The Garage / Team Mazda in Southern California. After my offer letter came in the mail, I had less than a few weeks to find housing, book a plane ticket and make a lifestyle that was halfway across the country work for me.

Publicizing your students’ achievements in their summer internships

August 7, 2012 at 9:39 am | Posted in Assessing student performance | Leave a comment
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Don’t be modest about your students’ achievements in their summer internships. Your colleagues at other colleges aren’t.  Since internships are the hot buzz word in the national media, you can capture some positive press for your school and help raise your brand awareness for the next round of internships fast-approaching in the fall.

The following excerpts illustrate how some career service offices are effectively promoting their image and their students:

  • Texas Christian University:  One TCU sophomore is doing more than making copies and answering phones at her summer internship. Strategic communication major Casey Walker spoke with various celebrities about products and clients, took pictures and made conversation all Sunday night at the Teen Choice Awards in Los Angeles, CA. Walker is spending her summer interning with both Pivotal PR and Ralina Shaw PR in L.A. Walker said she researched different PR firms in California and interviewed with Michael Gerbin of Pivotal. After beginning her job with Gerbin, Walker said she overheard him talking about a friend in desperate need of an intern. Walker then volunteered for the part and took on two summer internships in the city. “I’m so blessed to have this opportunity so early on in my career,” Walker said. “It’s so beneficial to get the internship experience while still in school.” Although working in the gifting suite during the award show prevented Walker from being able to watch the show, she did have some memorable moments of her own. “I didn’t get to see what I was hoping to see,” Walker said. “No experience is a bad experience, even if it doesn’t quite live up to my expectations.” Walker said she had the opportunity to talk to a castmate from the MTV show “Awkward” and his girlfriend. The three even made plans to reconnect in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and to even catch a TCU sporting event, Walker said.
  • Gustavus Adophus College:  In today’s competitive job market, the importance of obtaining and successfully completing a summer internship has grown for college students as they look to enhance their resume in order to entice future employers. Gustavus students are stationed all over the world this summer completing a variety of diverse and prominent internships. One of the leading academic departments on campus when it comes to summer research and internships is the Physics Department. Here is a summary of what 15 physics majors are up tothis summer:
    • Jenna Legatt ’14 is interning this summer at the National Institute of Standards and Technologies in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Legatt is working in the Physical Measurement Lab at this large federal research lab for the sciences. “My project involves set-up of a device called a spatial light modulator (SLM),” Legatt said. “My job is to work with my advisor to prepare the optics and software to get this tool working. One application in my specific project is to create a striped or grid pattern with the SLM, project it onto an object, and analyze the pattern’s deformalities to reconstruct the object in 3D.”
    • Laura Dahl ’13 is spending the summer working at Bosch Security Systems, Inc., as a Loudspeaker Engineering Intern in the Pro Sound Division. Dahl is working alongside loudspeaker engineers to create, design, and test Electro-Voice loudspeakers. “My main project consists of working in MATLAB to try to optimize line array elements for different event venues including Target Center and several outdoor stadiums,” Dahl said.
  • Arkansas Tech University:  Nine Arkansas Tech University students are spread out across the country learning more about the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through a variety of internship opportunities this summer. The internships were arranged through the efforts of Dr. Mostafa Hemmati, professor of physics and director of the Arkansas Tech Office of Undergraduate Research; and Dr. Patricia Buford, associate professor of electrical engineering and head of the Department of Electrical Engineering. Obtaining internship opportunities for students with organizations such as NASA and the National Science Foundation is one aspect of Arkansas Tech’s commitment to STEM education. In 2011, Gov. Mike Beebe outlined the importance of the STEM fields to Arkansas’ economic development. “The STEM fields offer stable, well-paying careers for the 21st century, and the demand continues to grow at a rapid pace,” said Gov. Beebe in a news release from his office on Aug. 17, 2011. “These are positions that companies are struggling to fill, even in tough economic times. If we are to continue to attract these types of companies to Arkansas, we must prepare our young people with high-tech skills and build a workforce that will help our state prosper.”

Double-dipping for internships

August 2, 2012 at 9:18 am | Posted in Intern Advice | Leave a comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

During this hot summer with its relentless heat waves, you may think of double-dipping in terms of large ice cream cones. But The New York Times identified a new meaning for double-dipping—taking multiple internships at one time.  In its recent Education supplement, writer Cecilia Capuzzi Simon explored the question of how many internships should a student undertake.  Here are what some of your colleagues at other colleges and career insiders in the industry are thinking:

  • Columbia College in Chicago:  The goal of any intern should be to “make yourself shine” and absorb as much as possible about the field, says Jennifer Halperin, internship coordinator at Columbia. Students are idealistic and professionally naïve, and may think doubled up is doable, she says. But a student who is worried about rushing off to the next internship, or who is behind on class assignments because of a demanding schedule, can’t be the person a supervisor “turns to in a pinch” or trusts with additional responsibility. “You end up impressing nobody,” she says.
  • Pace University:  “We wouldn’t approve two,” says Maxine Sugarman, director of career services at Pace. “Students should be going to class.”
  • CM Communications:  “The more you can learn, the better,” says Meghan Fitzgerald, an account executive at the Boston public relations firm, who recently hired an intern who was doing two at once (but only after the student cleared it with her). Still, she says, a long list of internships, especially from different fields, can suggest that an applicant is professionally adrift, or indiscriminately taking on internships to appear impressive.
  • Lauren Berger:  Known as the self-titled “Intern Queen” who completed 15 internships, Lauren now feels that 15 is “ridiculous.”  She says, “It’s not a matter of how many internships, but the quality.” She believes students can obtain what they need—professional direction, first-hand knowledge of their field and solid references—in two workplace forays over the course of a college career.
  • Conde Nast Publications:  Double-dipping is not allowed at this company. “It’s important to focus, and part of the benefit is building relationships,” says Jacqueline Ladner, associate photo editor for Teen Vogue, who hires four interns a semester (from some 200 applicants)  in her department alone. “We take internships very seriously.”

Ensuring a successful summer internship

July 30, 2012 at 9:17 am | Posted in Intern Advice | Leave a comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

Your students who are doing summer internships have heard your wise advice over and over again about how to succeed. They might “hear” a fresh voice from a reputable business source. Consider forwarding the following tips by writer Trudy Steinfeld at Forbes to your students to remind them how to succeed in their internships while there is still time:

  1. Learn everything you can about your employer and the business sector in which they operate. Focus on topics such as the organization’s strategic direction, emerging growth areas, new products or clients as well as issues and trends affecting the broader industry.
  2. Always do more.  Since many organizations hire new employees from among their college interns, fight against the tendency to just do what you’ve been asked and let your employer see how much you are capable of.
  3. Find a mentor.  Even if you have been assigned a formal mentor for the summer, identify other key people who can shed light on the organization, share their career story, give you tips for how to excel in your own career, provide honest feedback and help you navigate workplace challenges.
  4. Play nice with others.  Even though you might be used to competing on a variety of levels with your peers, this summer needs to be about being viewed as a valued team member.  That means getting along well with your colleagues – at all levels in the organization. By all means, show initiative. Volunteer for assignments and work independently when the situation calls for it. Remember to always be respectful and thank others for their help. Share credit with your team members as appropriate.
  5. Be genuinely engaged with your work and show it.  Organizations want to hire staff that are interested and excited about their work and projects.  They know through both research and experience that enthusiasm is contagious and can greatly add to productivity.
  6. Deliver, deliver, deliver.  When you are given an assignment, make sure you exceed expectations and meet or beat the deadline for the project.  If you do this consistently you will demonstrate the  “wow factor” hiring managers are looking for.
  7. Ask for feedback.  Many formal internship programs have a review cycle. However if they don’t, or if it’s only scheduled to occur at the conclusion of the internship, ask for feedback along the way. Always make appropriate adjustments based on what is shared with you or the opportunity and value of the feedback is lost.
  8. Use social media for good.  Check with your supervisor to see if the company actively engages in the use of social media and what their policies are for interns and other employees. Ask if you could blog or tweet about your experience.  Make sure your posts are positive and creative and always consistent with the organization’s policies and practices.

Advising students to start looking for fall internships

July 23, 2012 at 11:09 am | Posted in Advising interns, Intern Advice, Intern Support | Leave a comment

Your students may be on vacation, but Internships. com works 24/7, offering 56,472 internship opportunities in nearly 23,000 companies in over 8,500 cities. Why not send email reminders to your students to study the Web site and start to put together a list of potential fall internships?  If a student is unsure about what area to pursue, you might suggest the Internship Predictor as a helpful tool to zero in on an industry. You could encourage your students to look now by sharing the following tips from Doug Stites in the Lansing State Journal on how to search for a fall internship:

Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg,500 cities. Why not send email reminders to your students to study the Web site and start to put together a list of potential fall internships?  If a student is unsure about what area to pursue, you might suggest the Internship Predictor as a helpful tool to zero in on an industry. You could encourage your students to look now by sharing the following tips from Doug Stites in the Lansing State Journal on how to search for a fall internship:

  • If this is your first internship, be open to an unpaid experience: After getting one internship under your belt, you’ll be a more desirable candidate for a more competitive, paid internship that often includes more responsibility. Look into the option of earning college credit through an internship as well.
  •  Use your network, on and offline: Utilize your network of personal, professional and academic circles as an internship resource. They may know something that might be a good fit and if you don’t ask, you might not hear about it.
  • Customize your resume and cover letter for each company: Companies expect the same level of professionalism from internship candidates as they do for any other position.
  • Attend events to network with employers: Job and internship fairs through your local college offer ideal opportunities to make a positive first impression. Attend networking events and take the initiative to meet new employers and connect with professionals in your field of interest. Dress to impress, regardless if the event requires professional dress or not and bring extra copies of your resume. Students should also consider printing their own business cards, which is an affordable way to easily share contact information with recruiters if they aren’t accepting resumes at events.

As a career services professional, you could add a few of your own suggestions, including the following:

  • Consider time and place:  Decide how many hours you want to put into your fall internship and where you want to do your internship. If you have transportation issues, you could consider taking an internship on campus in a department that is relevant to your career interests. A virtual internship may be a good choice, allowing you to stay on campus but “work” anywhere in the country.
  • Visit your campus career center either online or in person:  A career center is always adding new internships to its growing list of companies. Make an appointment and find out the latest opportunities and how to apply for them. Before you come, update your resume with summer activities and cover letter to demonstrate your professionalism. Talking to other students who have taken internships could also be helpful because they might be able to recommend an internship to you.

Turning summer internships into jobs

July 17, 2012 at 8:00 am | Posted in Intern Advice | Leave a comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

The Bureau of Labor Statistics just released disheartening employment statistics for June. Only 90,000 new jobs were added to the economy, which causes concern for new graduates or for those looking to change careers. On average, it takes about six months for college graduates to land their first job, according to a study released last month by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University in New Jersey. However, the following suggestions might help your summer interns to turn their internships into jobs:

  • Los Angeles Times:  Think long-term. “Don’t think of your internship as short-term but imagine that you are a full-time employee at the company,” recommended Peter Handal, chief executive of Dale Carnegie Training. “Demonstrate that you really see yourself fitting in with the corporate culture and also that you are capable of handling the workload.”
  • Volunteer. “If you work at a company that puts on a lot of events or after-hour benefits, volunteer to work at them,” Handal said. “They might cut into your free time, but volunteering demonstrates you are interested and eager to learn.”
  • Share ideas. “If you have an idea or input, think it through, and then speak up,” said Matthew Proman, founder of the National Association of Professional Women. “You never know: You could have a valuable idea no one else has thought of, but at the very least, you will seem involved and a good critical thinker.”
  • Dress right. Wear clothes that fit with your work environment. “Dressing unprofessionally is one of the biggest blunders that interns make,” Proman observed. “If you’re in doubt, err on the more conservative side.”
  • Exceed expectations. “You have a brief amount of time to show what you’re made of,” Proman said. “Come early, stay late and take on extra projects. The objective is to blow them away.”
  • Huffington Post:  Whether they tell you or not, employers are monitoring their employees’ behavior on the job by weeding through emails, checking phone logs, and even perusing Facebook pages. An employee who handles interns at the Boston branch of the Drug Enforcement Administration says that DEA interns aren’t treated any differently than employees, and that means they’re subject to the same background and reference checks before they even start at work. He says there’s a disclaimer on DEA computers informing interns, just like all employees, that their behavior on the machines can be monitored. Boston Globe High School Sports Editor Bob Holmes, on the other hand, says the Globe doesn’t really monitor interns or employees. Holmes suggests his interns practice common sense when it comes to engaging in personal activity on the job. And when it’s busy in the office, he says, interns should focus on the assignment at hand, rather than getting distracted by g-chat, emails, or the like.

Working with students who don’t like their summer internships

July 10, 2012 at 8:00 am | Posted in Intern Advice | Leave a comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

Educators cringe when they read articles about Diana Wang, a graduate student from Ohio, who is suing Harper’s Bazaar after her dream internship with the fashion magazine turned into a nightmare.  Other students around the country are threatening similar actions because they’re unhappy with their internships. As a career professional, you might be able to prevent such actions, which can hurt your career center’s reputation, by finding out if you have any dissatisfied students and resolving the issues before they escalate to the level of media fodder.  The following red flags indicate remedial work is necessary on your part:

  • Bored with internship:  If a student complains of boredom with his internship, contact the supervisor to find out how the student is doing. If he/she is failing to perform the assignments, “bored” may mean that the work is too difficult, and you may have to arrange additional help for your intern. Or ‘bored” may mean the work is too easy, and you might have to suggest that your student ask for more challenging assignments.  “Bored” may also mean that the internship is agreeable, but the co-workers aren’t. If that’s the case, you might have to counsel your intern on how to adjust to working with different kinds of people.
  • Difficult supervisor:  Talk with your student to find out what the problems are in order to determine if they are personal issues, such as the boss isn’t friendly (or too friendly) or are they related to assignments, including unrealistic deadlines or lack of guidance in performing the job. To improve the work relationship, your student may have to be proactive, asking the boss for feedback on completed assignments, thanking the boss for guidance, asking for more projects. The student could also volunteer to stay late to work on time-sensitive projects or come in for an extra day on a rush job, which may result in a better work relationship.
  • Menial work:  This is a tough category unless the internship description and duties have been thoroughly outlined ahead of time, which will save everyone confusion and grief. Both you and the intern have grounds to complain if the supervisor is not following the pre-ordained script. But if the intern and supervisor didn’t discuss the assignments and schedule on the first day, they should sit down—and you might have to join them to save the internship—and come up with a detailed plan of activities.  However, if the intern is a freshman or sophomore, he/she might not be able to perform skilled duties and might be asked to go for coffee. If the company is small, everyone might “pitch in” to do menial jobs, and your intern should, too.
  • Bad company:  When your intern complains that it’s a “bad company,” you’ll have to do some detective work to find out what that means. Your student may find the corporate culture is not compatible with his/her personality.  Talk at the lunch table may be about children, families, stock options, or a sports team, which may hold no interest to a student intern. The company politics may be creating a bad feeling in your intern if the company supports Obama over Romney or vice versa. Or the student may find that the other employees are miserable with the hiring practices, such as raises, benefits, hours, etc. and feel the company is a terrible place to work. Your intern may have every reason to leave the internship.
  • Change internships:  After a few weeks in an internship, some students feel they have made a mistake and want to change internships.  They’ve heard from a friend about a better internship in a different company. It’s your job to help sort out their feelings not only to help them, but also to protect yourself from gaining the reputation of someone whose interns quit.  However,  if you’re convinced that the internship will not work, you might want to recommend that your student still take a summer internship by researching options on Internships.com, which has nearly 63,000 internship listings in over 22,000 companies in 9,000 cities. Instead of telling the intern supervisor that your intern didn’t like the company, you simply say it wasn’t a good fit.

Reminding student interns how to act outside of the office

June 26, 2012 at 8:21 am | Posted in Intern Advice | Leave a comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

It may be summertime, but the living shouldn’t be easy for your summer interns—either inside or outside of the office. In its ongoing series, Don’t Eff This Up:  The Complete Guide to Wall Street Internships, New York magazine offers valuable suggestions that you might want to pass on to your student interns—whatever their fields.  In Part 4 writer Kevin Roose says that “in addition to learning where to live, how to dress, and how to act on the job, you’re also going to have to learn how to spend your nights and weekends.”  Here are some pointers from Kevin’s article:

  • Be a joiner: If you’re lucky, your bank will have an intramural basketball team, or a running club, or some other form of athletic bonding activity. Do these things. They are a great way to impress people with your youthful vigor. If you’re a glutton for punishment, sign up for a Tough Mudder with your boss. (A Tough Mudder, for those new to the concept, is a hardcore, boot-camp-like endurance event in which you’re made to climb walls, plunge into ice-cold water, run through trenches filled with fire, and oh God I need a nap.)
  • Don’t be the ringleader: In every summer analyst class, one guy (it’s always a guy) steps up as the unofficial social chair. He signs group e-mails “party on,” organizes beer pong and trips to 230 Fifth, and keeps a photo of his frat brothers at his desk. He also doesn’t get an offer. Don’t be that guy.
  • Bro out when necessary: That said, building solid relationships with your fellow grunts is crucial. They will cover for you when you have a “dentist appointment” (read: free happy hour at Turtle Bay) or “out-of-town wedding” (read: your ex is in town for the night). So buy them a round every now and then. Just don’t “ice” anyone, ever, please.
  • Ace the booze cruise: Odds are, your firm will at some point treat you and your fellow summer analysts to an open-bar cruise around Manhattan. It’s a staple of Wall Street intern life, and by all means, feel free to drink. But don’t have too many. Here’s a good test: When the D.J. plays that “We Are Young” song, do you start tearing up while earnestly contemplating the carefree hours of your fleeting youth? You’ve had too many.
  • What if my boss hits on me? This is an actual Serious Thing That Sometimes Happens, and it is definitely out of our league, advice-wise. We’d suggest talking to a trusted mentor, going to HR, or trying to transfer groups. As we said yesterday, it’s not 1992 anymore — and it shouldn’t be for your boss, either.
  • Don’t lead with your job: When meeting non-finance people at bars around the city, don’t tell them where you work right away. It makes you sound insecure and desperate to impress. Instead, increase your mystique by holding off the reveal as long as possible.

Sharing words of encouragement with your student interns

June 22, 2012 at 9:34 am | Posted in Intern Advice | 1 Comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

Summer temperatures are climbing to over 90 degrees in much of the country, and the unemployment rate is still hovering at around 8%. While some of their classmates are at the beach, your student interns are struggling to master their assignments.  They could benefit from some words of encouragement spoken by commencement speakers in the last few weeks. Though your students always appreciate your words of support, the following excerpts from speeches by well-known success stories might be inspirational:

  • Condoleeza Rice, Former Secretary of State, Southern Methodist University:  “Find and follow your passion. Now, I don’t mean just any old thing that interests you, or your career. I mean something you really believe is a unique calling to you—in other words, something that you can’t live without.”
  • Neil Gaiman, Author, University of the Arts:  “Nothing I did where the only reason for doing it was the money was ever worth it, except as bitter experience. Usually I didn’t wind up getting the money, either.”
  • Michael Lewis, Author, Princeton University:  “People really don’t like to hear success explained away as luck, especially successful people. As they age, and succeed, people feel their success was somehow inevitable. . . recognize that if you have had success, you have also had luck, and with luck comes obligation.”
  • Aaron Sorkin, Writer & Producer, Syracuse University:  To get where you’re going, you have to be good, and to be good where you’re going, you have to be damned good. Every once in a while, you’ll succeed. Most of the time you’ll fail, and most of the time the circumstances will be well beyond your control.”
  • Eric Schmidt, Google Executive Chairman:  “You are the emblems of the sense of possibility that will define our new age. Now, in the past, it’s always older generations standing up on high, trying to teach the next generation the ways of the world, trying to make sure they follow in their footsteps. Well, graduate, I’ll admit, I think it’s different today. You’re quite simply teaching us.”
  • Peter Dinklage, Actor, Bennington College:  “Don’t bother telling the world you are ready. Show it. Do it. What did Beckett say? ‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. ‘Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’”
  • Cory A. Booker, Mayor of Newark, Bard College:  “I believe in my heart of hearts that it is better to have your ship sunk at sea than have it rot in the harbor.”

Helping your students succeed in Finance internships

June 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Posted in corporate culture | 8 Comments
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

More students seem to want internships in Finance over any other industry, which makes sense. Consider what Willie Sutton said when asked why he robbed banks:  “That’s where the money is.” Fortunately, there are lots of Finance internships. For example, Internships.com lists nearly 600 Finance internships with many of them in the New York City region. New York Magazine has published a guide to teach Wall Street interns how to succeed in their internships.  According to author Kevin Roose, “Because most of your work will consist of indistinguishable number-crunching, the only real way for your superiors to judge you against other summer analysts is on the basis of what is called, in the corporate patois, ‘fit.”’ The following excerpts may be useful to your Finance students who are currently in internships or to your interns in any field:   

  • Show up early, leave late: Most analysts and associates at big investment banks work long hours — sixteen-hour days are normal. You should, too. For much of that time, you won’t actually do anything (analysts and associates don’t, either!). But showing that you’re willing to sit in your chair until midnight is part of that elusive “fit” thing, and people will judge you if you don’t.
  • Learn “LDL”: At your internship, you’ll talk with your fellow summer analysts over e-mail and instant messages, both of which will be monitored by compliance officers whose job it is to keep you from saying stupid things that are read back to executives by members of Congress when your firm is investigated. (This is especially true at Goldman Sachs, where even typing “WTF” sends up a red flag.) To avoid getting dinged for gossiping, learn to type “LDL” — Wall Street code for “Let’s Discuss Live” — before making fun of your MD’s hairpiece.
  • Befriend the staffer: On your floor, there will be a person called the staffer. Other than your direct boss, the staffer is the single most important figure you will meet this summer. He or she will decide your hours, your assignments, and which groups you end up working with. Being in this person’s good graces can mean the difference between being a boss in FIG and toiling in PWM. (Know who can teach you what those acronyms mean? The staffer.)
  • Be a good gofer: Do everything that is asked of you faster and better than expected. (Except, like, grand larceny.) If the group head wants you to take his tennis racket in for stringing, have his overgrip replaced, too. Your associate sends you out for Shake Shack, bring back a few extra shakes. Morale on Wall Street is at an all-time low right now — layoffs, deal slowdown, and the impending implosion of Europe will do that — and any bit of joy you can bring to your godforsaken colleagues will be met with childlike enthusiasm.
  • Lose the Liar’s Poker shtick: The days of bacchanalian Wall Street culture are over. In 2012, with a few exceptions at the more old-line firms and hedge funds, no boss is going  to ask you to go to a strip club and pay in quarters, or bring him a cheesesteak from Philadelphia, or any of those legendary Wall Street hazing rituals. If you expect those things — or worse, if you ask for them — you’ll look naive and stuck in 1992.
  • Don’t screw up: Wall Street internships are essentially ten-week mistake avoidance tests. As a summer analyst, you are not expected to do well — you are expected not to do badly. At the end of the summer, when your supervisors gather to decide which interns get full-time offers, no one will remember the comps model you pulled an all-nighter on. Everyone, though, will remember the reply-all you sent about the hot Asian girl in sales. So don’t do that.
  • Master non-obvious flattery: A wise man once told us that people enter into conversations with one of two goals — either we want to make the other guy think we’re the most interesting person on Earth, or we want to make the other guy think he’s the most interesting person on Earth. Perfecting the second kind of interaction is the single most important piece of advice we can possibly give you for your summer on Wall Street. If, by displaying appropriate humility, and by nodding and laughing at the right times, you can make your analysts, associates, and MD’s feel funny, worldly, and incisive, it will remind them of the times in their lives before Wall Street, when they actually were all of those things. They will love you for it, and you’ll be one step closer to making it rain $1 bills all over Bar None.
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