The Intern

Last week rising seniors came to Wall Street to begin their summer internships. The goal is, of course, to try to obtain an offer by the end of the summer in order secure a full-time gig post graduation. The field for front office jobs is highly competitive as the industry remains cautious and somewhat apprehensive about hiring. You want to rise above and stand out amongst your peers. Always try and be memorable for the right reasons.

This brings me to my first point:

1. Create a professional image. This includes how you dress which should be a well pressed suit with a tie that doesn’t have mustard on it. Be punctual, actually no, be early.

2. Be part of the solution (not part of the problem). Your role as an intern is not only to complete the tasks that you are given, but also to make your manager’s life easier. Look around and see how you could add value to the entire team, then take initiative to get it done.  If you don’t know how ask one of the junior guys for some guidance.

3. Be curious. If you don’t have an interest in the job and the industry then you are in the wrong place. I don’t think that I’ve ever known anyone who succeeded who wasn't passionate about business, markets, or the economy.

Expand your curiosity to include people. Learn to develop the most valuable of all soft skills - relationship building. Learn to connect on a human level, be genuine and inquisitive about the lives of others.

4.  Be polite and always say please and thank you. I’ve long felt that common courtesy isn’t so common, which is why I think it needs to be explicitly stated. Be mindful before jumping on the group think ban wagon and hazing the one weak intern who seems to be the bud of every joke. One day that intern could become your boss.

During the summer, a number of senior managers will speak at your events and will share their own personal stories with you. Give them proper attention and show them respect and gratitude. They are busy and they actually don’t have to participate, so be grateful for the time they have given and the insights they share. Send them a thank you note (email). A note well written with sincerity will make and impression.

5. Keep an open mind. Remember your career is a marathon and not a sprint. All that you are doing in setting yourself up for the long run. Try looking beyond the short term out towards a longer horizon, because opportunities will come your way. Sometimes the better path is one you never dreamed of - but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it.

Well, that’s all I got for now as I am boarding a flight to London. If you are a manager who is hiring interns, please share the expectations you have for your interns or share some tips for success. I’d love to hear some other insights. Leave in the comments below.