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A summer in finance......

Posted by Stuart on 10 September 2008

This summer has seen a complete and final transformation from my pre-MBA existence. Gone are the daily "ward-rounds" and clinics in the field hospital and in place is the daily morning meeting at 7am followed by a day of catching up with the markets, building/tweaking excel models and speaking on the phone to investors and companies.

Goodbye to the world of military medicine and hello to the world of bulge 'bracket' finance! For those thinking about the summer in this rather different cultural environment a lightning round of top tips:

  • Believe what the year above and alumni tell you. The job you will be doing in the summer is the same job that most have been doing for the 3-5 summers before you. If they say you will be working 6:30am-7pm then it is a reality. If you are looking to IBD the 3am finishes and 9am starts do happen. Think Powerpoint, Face Time and being at the beck-and-call of the MD. Of course this is second-hand information on my part (having been on the markets side all summer) but a pretty consensus opinion from colleagues the other side of the Chinese Wall
  • Make a good impression. It may seem that getting the internship is the first step on a road towards a clear offer and guaranteed career change but this is only about 20-30% of it. Be keen, turn up (just) before the boss and leave (just) after. Points win prizes and brownie points are not earned by coming in after the rest of the team or leaving before. Obvious I agree but some people forget.
  • HR can make or break you. A positive opinion from HR may not make a big difference, but a negative one will definitely count. They are your ally so treat them as well as the MDs and VPs
  • Enjoy the experience, work hard and remember the bank is also there to sell itself to you - take part in the socials, events, drinks and dinners - it is the easiest and best way to network!
  • If you have an offer, celebrate, relax but then the hard decisions really begin. Career Services have posted around 50 new jobs in the past 48h for the full-time recruiting so don't just throw the acceptance letter in just yet

Overall I am happy with my decision although the second internship is starting to bite and taking 'days off' from the internship does not go down amazing well with employers! If you really want to keep your options open then think about doing different roles completely e.g. finance/consulting. But bear in mind this is one of the last chances to have a 'proper' Summer.

That's all the words of apparent wisdom I have for now. I look forward to other's experiences and if you want to know more just remember those that have trodden the path before as they are generally a good source of independent advice!

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