Young wannabe investment bankers are descending upon Wall Street for their summer internships.
Many are going in with one main goal: secure an analyst position at the firm at which they are interning.
Scott Rostan is the founder and CEO of Training The Street, a company where aspiring Wall Streeters can pick up financial skills. The former Merrill Lynch banker has been teaching finance-training courses to interns and analysts at some of Wall Street’s top banks, including Blackstone Group and UBS.
So he knows what it takes to get ahead on the Street, and how summer interns can position themselves for future success in the hyper-competitive financial services industry.
Rostan shared with Business Insider five tips for a Wall Street wannabe to get the most out of her investment banking internship.
1. Keep in mind that attitude is more important than aptitude
“Some of my clients’ best bankers are not necessarily Ivy League or elite MBA program graduates. Much of their early success can be attributed to an exceptional attitude: being a team player, finding ways to positively contribute, good old fashioned work ethic, and completing tasks on time while exceeding expectations. Maintaining a ‘can do’ attitude and not getting discouraged are key for your internship success.”
2. Learn from every experience
“Don’t just complete each assignment, or listen at each meeting; instead, try to actively learn. An internship provides you with many opportunities to learn, and you should pursue each one that you can. Managers, peers, and even those dreaded ‘lunch-n-learns’ are all great opportunities to learn best practices, including how to be more efficient and productive. Remember to learn not only from successes, but also from your mistakes, including your own and those around you. And therefore you won’t make the same mistake twice.”
3. Be a good listener
“You will be surrounded by bright, experienced people. Listen to their instructions, listen to their advice, and listen (and learn) from their prior knowledge and experiences. Think about what they are saying with an open mind, but also professionally and respectfully challenge assumptions and analyses that you disagree with and have a unique perspective on.”
4. Think of it as a summer-long-interview
“Landing the internship was just the first part. If you are looking for a full-time position after the internship, you have to think of it as a multi-week interview. Yes, it’s exhausting, but that mindset can pay off. And ask yourself some key questions: Does the bank like you? Do you like the firm? Are others happy with you around? Can you see yourself growing and developing there in a full-time position? And always be on your toes, even if you are having coffee with someone. It’s all part of the summer-long interview process. Even at a happy hour – have fun and relax, but keep it professional.”
5. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint
“Banking is exhausting. Your internship will be similar to the demands of a full time professional, so pace yourself. Work hard, but not to the point of diminishing returns due to fatigue. That means you have to be efficient with your time, keep moving, and fully dedicate yourself to the task at hand. But remember, you are human, and you need to take a moment to come up for air, or at least for some sleep and nourishment.”