Many financial analyst interns find their summer experiences disappointing. It is true that some financial institutions offer excellent structured programs. Because of the steep learning curve, I believe that summer is too brief a time for any interns to be assigned an important role.
Summer internship is an excellent opportunity to learn about financial career opportunities because you're already in the door. For 8 weeks, you can be in daily contact with the people who can give you important advice.
It is very helpful to see the internship from a positive perspective. Look beyond your assigned duties, no matter how unchallenging or unexciting they may be. Just like cold-calling, if you see beyond it as being a “dreadful task", cold-calling can be the most powerful training in sales.
Learn about the career paths. Work on getting to know as many people as possible. Ask to meet with their connections in related fields so you can learn about the various career paths. Be curious and ask plenty of questions.
Learn about what each of their typical day is like, what their major challenges are and what are some possible ways of addressing these challenges. You'll be able to gather lots of insider insights to better determine which is the right direction for you.
Build relationships. The more people you meet, the more connections you'll establish. This is also an excellent opportunity to practice “people skills". Learn their lingo and observe how they interact.
Social skills and relationship building are two important skills often overlooked by the young financial analysts. Being successful requires a lot more than just crunching numbers. Who knows, some of these connections you make during the summer may open doors for you when you graduate.
Set your goals on a few things you would like to accomplish during the summer. Even if they are not under your assigned duties, make your requests. Some possible ideas are:
*Sit in at a client meeting and observe a senior financial analyst in action
*Join a corporate meeting and watch a CEO present the latest news
*Observe and learn how the valuation models are constructed if you are assigned some basic task of data entry
The possibilities are unlimited. It's really up to you on what you make of this experience.
Decide from the very beginning that you are going to have fun with it and make it worthwhile!
Corinne Lor teaches financial analysts how to have greater success in their careers. Visit Financial Analyst Blog to learn more.