As the summer nears, many juniors at Haas are beginning to worry about their summer internship and how to do well. I know there were many instances in which I freaked out before last summer, and I’m sure many of you have the same questions:
How do I get an offer? Are the hours as long as people make them out to be? Am I going to sleep under my desk? Are people going to be mean to me?
So, I thought I would shed some light on my summer internship experience – keep in mind that because I did banking, this will be more relevant to ABC (accounting/banking/consulting) internships, but I think all of these tips can be applied to any job! Here are what I think are the few most important things you should keep in mind going into this summer:
- Get the offer.
Your job this summer is to get a return offer. There are a few reasons why this is true. First, if you decide that you want to continue doing investment banking, or consulting, or accounting after graduation – then you will have a job lined up one year in advance. That is an amazing proposition, and will make your senior year an absolute blast.
However, beyond that, getting offer is crucial to proving to future employers that you performed well enough that a company wanted to hire you back. Remember, the internship is essentially a 2-month interview. If you don’t get the offer, it signals to future employers that perhaps there was something wrong with your work quality, or that you simply did not perform well – that’s definitely something you want to avoid! Getting an offer, even if you decide you want to work somewhere else after graduation, is highly important.
- The little things matter.
This is so cliché. But it’s absolutely, 100% true. Being on time, being presentable, communicating effectively. These are the things that will get you an offer. You were hired because you are a good culture fit for the firm, and because they believed that you were capable of doing the work. And at most firms, the offer is yours to lose. However, if you become known as the “habitually late” intern, or are a poor communicator and your boss has to hunt you down for his work, then you will surely not receive a great review for your internship.
Over-communicate. Ask your boss if there is a hard deadline when they give you an assignment. ALWAYS take notes when they are explaining a project or task to you. And be on time – I cannot stress punctuality enough.
- Relationships matter.
People don’t believe me when I say that being a good culture fit is equally as important as being a good worker. At Berkeley, you already know how competitive it is. Most of your peers are capable of doing the work of an investment banking analyst, or an entry level consultant. At the end of the internship, your colleagues are going to sit in a room together and decide whether you should return for a full-time position. It will surely reflect well on you if:
- Everyone in the office knows you because you’ve worked with them/grabbed coffee with them/had a friendly conversation with them
- People in the office genuinely like you
Therefore, make sure that you talk to your co-workers! Don’t bury yourself in your work all the time. Walk around the office, ask people to grab coffee, ask questions, and try to make friends among your intern class and your colleagues. It will not only make your experience more enjoyable, but also help you come home with that offer.
And at the end of the day, remember that this is just an internship, and the path to a return offer shouldn’t be ambiguous. As long as you are diligent, communicative, and friendly, it should be yours.
Good luck everyone!