10 Lessons Learned from Interning at an Investment Banking Firm
By Emily Halstenberg | August 2, 2019
Jumping into the world of investment banking as a marketing intern, with very little financial experience, felt like diving into the ocean without realizing how strong the current was – the powerful undertow picks you up and carries you down the beach, regardless of how hard you fight it. In my experience, it’s best to let it take you, then figure it out as you go.
Thankfully, everyone at 7 Mile helped me figure it out.
As a marketing intern I worked closely with the marketing team on various projects, including creating social media content, event planning, designing graphics, and evaluating social media analytics.
My fellow interns, Ryan and Will, came in with slightly more financial experience, and served as business analyst interns. They worked with various 7MA associates on developing business research, creating quarterly earnings reports, and building candidate lists for numerous projects.
Once our initial jitters disappeared, we learned some important lessons, both about life and investment banking:
1. The truth behind investment banking.
- It takes a lot of hard work, travel, and commitment to be an investment banker, but it’s completely worth it when the deal closes.
- Supporting clients throughout the transaction process isn’t a platitude, but an essential element of success.
- Networking is a vital step in the process!
2. Don’t take yourself too seriously – work hard, but play hard too.
- The “real world” will come, ready or not; that’s why it’s important we find the right balance between studying and succeeding academically, but also enjoying the down time we have now. We witnessed first-hand exactly how much free time we won’t have in post-grad life.
- (Also, apparently hangovers are much worse and happen more often when you get older … according to the 7MA team and probably science.)
3. Define what you want and don’t settle for less.
It’s important to take the time to set your priorities early on, especially when job hunting or committing to a new job. That being said, what you thought you wanted to do in life may, and probably will change; but that’s okay, that’s how life works.
4. How to prepare for an interview
- DO NOT SAY “UM”!!
- Practice, practice, practice.
- Look good, feel good.
5. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone you’ve never met for networking purposes, and DON’T be afraid of rejections!
You aren’t ruining your relationship with someone if they don’t have the time to connect with you. How YOU respond to rejection determines whether the bridge is burned or not. Plus, you never know what could happen just by sending a simple message via email or LinkedIn.
6. Bird scooters are THE way to get around a city, especially when you’re running late to work in the morning.
Plain and simple – traffic is never fun and neither is trying to find a parking spot.
7. WHO you surround yourself with is very important
- Who you surround yourself with is especially important when starting your first job; if you’re working long hours, find friends that work similar hours and who will understand if you have to stay late, so you don’t feel like you’re missing out when you’re at work.
- You are an average of the 5 people you surround yourself with, so surround yourself with people who support you and are working toward a similar goal.
8. What a resume should look like
- Keep it brief and use power words – which also applies to social media posts, blog writing, and almost all forms of writing.
- Formatting is important! You have one page to represent your career, so represent yourself well.
9. The importance of a team bonding experience
Planning work events requires some strategic thinking; you have to take into consideration how the particular event will help better the team overall. For example, completing an escape room challenge together helped us improve our communication skills by forcing us to collaborate and problem solve together. (We didn’t win the challenge, but we had fun trying.)
10. Culture is critical
When 7MA closes a deal, it is a tradition for whoever closed the deal to be passed the “M&A Champion” belt by the last deal-closer. This is an unique and exciting ritual that illustrates the importance of everyone’s work on each project. Every member of the 7MA team celebrates each other’s success, no matter the size of the task. They want to build each other up – not just so the company as a whole succeeds, but so that individual succeeds, as well.
Also, for every deal closed, 7MA gives back through an act of charity.
It is important to work with people you respect, who you don’t mind spending a lot of time with, and who want to see you succeed.
7 Mile Advisors is a team of admirable investment bankers, but more importantly, they are a group of great people. It was a pleasure interning for them this summer. Thank you, 7 Mile team, for giving Will, Ryan, and me this opportunity and for guiding us through this incredible experience!
Written by: Maggie Dougherty, 7 Mile Advisors’ Summer 2019 Marketing Intern