A Wall Street intern's blog (not that we are allowed to blog)

In search of scandal and the high life, things didn't quite work out the way this intern planned.

Instalment 1

'First up, I'm not going to 'blog' (or do a diary entry) every day. It will no doubt be as boring for you to read it as it will be tiresome for me to write it.

But I thought that it might be a good idea to let you know what things are really like for an investment banking intern from the inside.

10 weeks, yes I'm here for 10 weeks. And it could well hold the key to my future, as there is a strong likelihood that I'll be asked back and eventually secure a full-time graduate job here (if I want one).

So, why did I accept my intern position at this firm ? Truthfully, no-one else accepted me - but only because I didn't apply anywhere else. I knew that I'd be OK; after all, I've the 'right' kind of CV (heavy emphasis on Math), and come from the 'right' background (mom and pop have done rather well - well, actually pop did well (he married into money!). I also interview well, but I'm not sure that mattered much, as my maternal grandfather is one of the bank's best ultra-high-net-worth clients.

Anyway, a group of us arrived together earlier this week (although there must be hundreds of us in different firm locations around the world), and the first few days have been taken up with a general orientation - an explanation of protocols and how the internship will work, what is expected of us, and how we are expected to fit in and behave, etc.

One of the first things the officious-looking HR person said was: 'And don't blog. We don't like it'. Oh well, they'd have to catch me first.... Aside from the long list of 'dos and don'ts (mostly don'ts actually) - don't blog, don't disrespect the firm, don't stay out late and come in unfit for work, don't make any inappropriate comments in the workplace, don't send any inappropriate emails, etc, one thing did strike me as rather odd.

We were introduced (on our first day!) to a guy from the firm's LGBT network. Proof indeed that diversity was top of the firm's long list of priorities. Perhaps, but I wondered why this guy wasn't nearer to our own age - instead, he was approaching middle-aged and portly. It wasn't until two days later that one of the other analysts explained to me that hardly anyone 'comes out' on Wall Street until either their career is almost at an end, or they have made it already; so LGBT reps, in the nature of things, tend to be a little long in the tooth.

I was also amazed to discover that, in another nod to diversity, the firm once had a room for transexuals. The idea was a good one - a discrete place for transexuals to meet and share their angst / issues / problems. Trouble was, it wasn't very discrete, as everyone on the staff knew the room was where transexuals hung out, and no-one would risk being seen coming in or leaving the room. Nice idea, but not very practical. The room was soon put to another use - it's currently a place you can go to if you feel under pressure and stressed out over work, and you need to talk to someone (a real career-killer if you sign up to that program apparently). Again, it's hardly ever used, they say.

Anyway, we start the action proper next week, when we get split up into our first business units. I'm looking forward to that, as it's when the 'competition' to find the most dumb-assed from among us begins - and looking around at my 'freshman' colleagues, competition will be fierce. God, am I really like those naive lap-dogs! ? I hope not. Not long to find out now, though'.

Instalment 2 

'OK, I admit that I was going to publish this more often, and it's been 3 weeks. But I have to tell you, it's been a bit of a drag - the last 3 weeks have been hell. I thought this whole intern gig would be 'all about me' - how wrong was I ?

I've read in the media about how I'd be working all the hours God sends, undertaking menial tasks for bankers who are up themselves, and being humiliated just because I'm young and naive. And I was looking forward to all this, hoping to best these so-called 'Masters of the Universe', and regaling you with stories of sex, drunkeness and Wall Street's debauched ways. Sadly, there's none of that. The fact is, it's pretty boring here - in fact, we're all doing very little.

I've been working with an M&A deal team these last few days, and the two of us attached to this unit have spent most of our time reading The Wall Street Journal, and arranging social events for the many interns who appear to be in the same boat as we are here - we have to do something in the evenings, as we're truly 'brain dead' during the day.

I not sure if it's the sector I'm working in, but there's not even any photocopying to do - in fact, I LONG for some photocopying to do!

And there's no chance of interacting with the members of the deal team either - they are far too distracted; no, not running around contacting CEOs, pitching ideas and picking up big fees, but planning their summer breaks, worrying about getting laid-off and concerned that their prospects for a big year-end bonus appear to be getting smaller by the day.

All the talk here is about how the M&A market hasn't recovered as hoped - and how it will affect THEM; that's all they are worried about. That's why I say this intern lark isn't 'all about me' - unfortunately it's 'all about them'; big time self-preservation. I wish they would treat me like dirt, humiliate me, or do something. But being ignored day after day is simply demoralizing. It just isn't fair.

And the other thing to point out, is that this firm is hardly pushing the boat out when it coming to throwing money at us. We thought we'd get lavish lunches, slap up dinners and a few nights on the town courtesy of the firm, but nope. Nada. We have to pay for our own coffee (unless we want to drink that crap from the vending machine), get our own lunch and pay for our evening drinks, etc, from the lousy 'pay' we are getting while being stuck here for 10 boring weeks.

And what a let-down - I've not seen one hooker, one boozed-up banker, or a shred of evidence of anything dodgy at all. I think I'd rather be at home watching paint dry'.

This article was first published last summer, but remains relevant to this day

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