WALL STREET DIARIES: An investment-banking intern maps out a 75-hour week filled with networking, plenty of pitch-deck edits, and late-night ice cream

ice cream cone

Summer internships at leading investment banks are some of the most desirable opportunities for early-career professionals on Wall Street.

A gateway to full-time offers down the road, they’ve also been the focus of significant scrutiny this year. Some firms like JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs have elected to host theirs in the office, while others like Wells Fargo and Credit Suisse opted for a second virtual summer.

In the case of those interns who did make a professional pilgrimage to New York this year, they’ve been busy, both at work and away from the office.

But, once successful applicants from colleges nationwide actually land an internship at a Wall Street bank, what does the highly-paid summer gig entail?

We asked an intern at a top New York bulge-bracket investment bank to document an entire week in their life. This 21-year-old investment-banking summer analyst requested that they and their firm not be identified, since they weren’t authorized to discuss private company matters, but Insider has verified their identity and employment.

They walked us through Monday through Saturday of a recent week, and told us what they expected at the time for that Sunday. 

They shared all the little details, from when they addressed senior bankers’ pitch deck edits, to how they spent their weekend partying with friends at other banks, to ice cream parties past midnight at the office.

Monday

  • 9 A.M.: Head into the office. I live uptown, but a quick trip on the express train takes me about 10 minutes.
  • 10 A.M.: Coffee with a senior banker. We’re all assigned a mentor to focus on our learning, growth, and answering questions during the internship.
  • 1 P.M.: Lunch with my intern class in the cafeteria.
  • 2 P.M.: Back to my desk. For the next few hours, I take notes on an internal call for an upcoming public offering, work on some slides for a marketing book, and receive edits from more senior people on my team.
  • 6:30 P.M.: Meet with a friend from a nearby bank for dinner.
  • 8 P.M.: Back to the office to work on some slides for an upcoming public offering for a client. 
  • 1 A.M.: Head home

Tuesday

  • 9 A.M. Head into the office, arrive at about 9:30
  • 10 A.M.: Firmwide event with our CEO
  • 11 A.M.: Meet with an associate for coffee and to talk through pointers for my final project. Next week, we’ll present our final projects to a mix of MDs and senior bankers on our team; they’re a big part of what determines our return offer. I’m making an argument about whether a company should sell itself to a strategic acquirer, and need to come prepared for questions.
  • 11:30 A.M.: Call to review a management presentation our team is working on
  • 12 P.M.: Lunch with a few fellow interns in Bryant Park
  • 1 P.M.: Meet with a separate associate for feedback on the management presentation
  • 2 P.M.: Time to turn back to my final project. I spend some time working on one of the models in my deck, and then meet with an analyst for feedback.
  • 4 P.M.: Weekly client call. Interns don’t speak to clients on calls or in person, but we do take tons of notes.
  • 5 P.M.: Meet with a vice president for comments about the management presentation.
  • 6:30 P.M.: Time for dinner — I order Seamless, and the bank covers the cost of our evening meals. I finish up by working on the VP’s comments and sending back updates.
  • 9:30 P.M.: Head home; it’s an early night.

Wednesday

  • 9 A.M.: Arrive at the office
  • 11 A.M.: Meeting to discuss recent deals that closed and trends in the sector that my group covers. Afterward, I continued work on my final project.
  • 1:30 P.M.: My vice president assigns me a new project to work on.
  • 2 P.M.: Meeting about the new project the VP assigned. I’m going to be working on some prep for an earnings call for one of our clients that we recently helped take public. 
  • 12:30 P.M.: Time for lunch. I ordered Sweetgreen while I kept plugging away on my final project.
  • 4:30 P.M.: Coffee with one of the full-time analysts. I’m mainly interested in getting as many tips as I can for how to ace the rest of my internship.
  • 6 P.M.: I order dinner from Shake Shack. The bank pays for our dinners, and I typically eat right at my desk. I worked on a market update for a client.
  • 1:30 A.M.: Finally head home for the night.

Thursday

  • 10:30 A.M.: Arrive at the office, slept a bit later than usual
  • 1 P.M.: Lunch with a high school friend who is in town this summer.
  • 2:30 P.M.: Work on a revenue growth slide show for senior bankers
  • 4 P.M.: Look over models for my final project with another intern
  • 6 P.M.: I step out to pick up dinner from Dig Inn. My friend, an intern at Goldman Sachs, recommends a bowl with chicken and macaroni noodles. 
  • 7 P.M.: After dinner, the other eight interns in my coverage group and I huddle at the office till 2:30 A.M., cramming on our final projects. We order Van Leeuwen ice cream to make the experience more bearable (and some of the full-time analysts had some with us). The oatmeal cookie dough flavor is my go-to.

Friday

  • 10 A.M.: Arrive at work. Just focusing on my final project this morning; it’s due this weekend.
  • 3 P.M.: Meet a full-time analyst for lunch. We eat in the cafeteria while my VP provides edits on my project. (This is our version of #plsfix in real life.)
  • 4 P.M.: Work on my VP’s edits.
  • 6:30 P.M. Head home. I regroup and change into my outfit not the evening: a pink polo and jeans for a fun night of parties in Brooklyn with friends. 
  • Midnight: Head to the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square, where some friends interning for Morgan Stanley are staying during their two-week visit to New York City. We’re there until about 2 A.M. talking.

Saturday

  • 10 A.M.: Head back to the office. We don’t have to come in on Saturdays, but a bunch of us are here because, with our final projects due on Monday, it’s easiest to work out of the office to get everything finished up.
  • 5 P.M.: Birthday party in the West Village with my friend who works at Goldman Sachs. He’s invited a lot of his Princeton friends and some other Goldman interns will be there.
  • 6:30 P.M.: Back to the office to finish up my project.

Sunday: expected schedule

  • 11 A.M.: Get into office. I’m spending the whole day on my project. It’s due this evening and then there are no tweaks we can make — so it’s a sprint to the finish line.
  • 7 P.M.: The project is due. Once it’s uploaded, there are no mulligans. On Monday we’ll present it in front of our senior bankers in the hopes of impressing them. Until then, it will be time to head home and get a good night’s sleep.

Are you interning at an investment bank or financial-services firm this summer? Contact reporter Reed Alexander via email at ralexander@insider.com, or the encrypted app Signal at (561) 247-5758, to share your story.

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Reed Alexander July 28, 2021 at 02:36PM

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