Spring semester for college and graduate students ended a few weeks ago, which means thousands of our nation’s brightest minds will begin their summer internships. These young adults will have ten weeks to impress senior management in the hopes of obtaining a job in the financial services industry.
A key factor in determining who ultimately gets a job offer and who does not will undoubtedly come down to the accolades or criticisms by mentors in the written review process at the completion of the internship. At my former employer, I was very much involved in the internship program for a host of reasons, but none more so than I just enjoyed it immensely.
To those who are about to begin their first steps into our industry, I wanted to take a moment to wish you good luck and offer a suggestion on how to get the accolades that a person needs in order to achieve the ultimate goal of a job offer. Be forewarned that this suggestion is a two edged knife as it can easily result in criticism; in which case you will experience a setback. The suggestion is – be responsible for ordering lunch for those within your department. In Wall Street terms, own the lunch print. I know many of you are already thinking that taking orders for lunch is something that will make you look inferior when compared to other interns. That is a natural reaction. But there are some basic functions in taking a lunch order that can translate to an accolade in your review..Here are some of them:
Accolade #1 “Knows how to listen. Takes instructions well.”
If you can get a simple instruction like; “ham, on rye, swiss cheese, mayo, with a pickle, no chips, Diet Coke, no Pepsi” you will see this feedback on your review.
Accolade #2 “Has discipline, they’re consistent. I trust him/her”
Wall Street people are creatures of habit and want their lunch on their desk at the exact same time every day. Take the lunch order early and make sure you know how long the delivery takes after placing the order. Too early is just as bad as too late.
Accolade #3 “Shows creativity, thinks outside the box. Needs little direction”
Research other places that deliver and find a new one. It’s a risk, but one worth taking around week five of your internship when you’ve built up some credibility.
Accolade #4 “Seeks criticism and learns from it”
Ask people, how was lunch today? Did you like the new place?
Accolade #5 “Demonstrates humility and doesn’t try to fix things that aren’t broken”
Never, ever, ever order anything but plain pizza on a Friday.
Accolade #6 “He/she wasn’t the brightest one in the class, but they hustled the most and showed the most enthusiasm. I place them #1”
Regardless of whether you decide to own the lunch print or not, showing enthusiasm and hustle in all you do will close any gap between you and those brighter.
Good Luck to you all!