Tuesday, September 16, 2008

West Coast Summer: Adventures of a Summer Intern

This summer I interned in San Francisco with the technology group of a bulge bracket investment bank. I feel very fortunate to have been selected for the internship and I recognize that I couldn't have secured the position without the help of many. In return for the help I have received, I hope to pass along the favor to all those that frequent this blog.

Regardless of the fact that I come from a non-core recruiting school, in today's hiring market, I believe that it's difficult for anybody (target or non-target) to receive an IBD summer internship offer. This submission, along with those that follow, are aimed to give a glimpse into the life of a IBD summer intern. I'll include information that would've been helpful to know coming into interviews and the internship generally. If there is anything that you're particularly interested in hearing about, please leave a comment. In addition, let your friends and associates know about this blog if you think they might benefit from reading it.

#1 Preparation and Training

The preparation to-do list for investment banking interviews is endless; there's no such thing as being "too prepared". This blog (together with many other resources) offer suggestions on the most fundamental items you should be focusing on. I recommend you read up on those items as you start preparing. Once you have interviews lined-up, the trick to converting the interviews into a summer offer is in the little things that separate you from your competition. A truism that you will hear after you screw-up your first pitchbook or trading comp is: "The devil's in the details". Every bit of additional understanding, market knowledge, and Excel experience will improve your chances of landing that internship offer and the full-time offer that follows.

Modeling and Accounting

Unfortunately, most summer IBD interns don't get a ton of modeling experience. Your primary work as a summer intern will be PIB (Public Information Book) creation, spreading comps, presentation formatting and printing, and infrastructure projects. Anyone with common sense can create a PIB and format a presentation (it goes without saying that some people are faster and better at it). Spreading comps takes a bit of time as you familiarize yourself with the specific adjustments your associate wants (but this isn't "rocket science", either). In later posts I'll explain these tasks in detail so you can speak intelligently about your role as a summer intern in interview situations (definitely something that would have been helpful for me).

Even though you won't be "modeling" per se, you will however be using Microsoft Office Excel, Word and PowerPoint night and day. On day one when you start spreading your very first comp it will be that much easier for you to distinguish yourself if you're already "fluent" with these programs (it should also be said that not knowing how to use these programs will set you apart as being slow or incompetent). Something prior to the internship that helped prepare me was the DealMaven financial model training online course. In addition to teaching me how to navigate Excel effecitively, the DealMaven training forced me to understand the actual item flows between the three financial statements. In retrospect, having completed the DealMaven course prior to interviews would have prepared me that much better.

In addition to DealMaven, I suggest you purchase and complete Adkins Matchett & Toy's accounting workbook: Adkins Matchett & Toy's Accounting Workbook
Although it may be a review for you, this workbook breaks accounting down into the most simple principles. Our recruiters suggested this as extra study material prior to the internship and I'm really glad I completed it. If you're a non-business major this workbook is a must (I'm a Economics BA and really benefited from it).

Setting yourself apart from your competition in today's market is more important than ever. By working through a DealMaven modeling course and completeing the accounting workbook your chance at landing your dream job is that much closer.

Stay tuned for the next post as I talk about my experiences as a summer intern on the West Coast.


David Calder said...
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Interesting news