Dear Summer Interns and all Full Time Jefferies Employee-Partners

We are thrilled that 166 analysts and associates from over 84 different universities are joining Jefferies today for our 2018 summer intern program. These immensely driven and talented undergraduate and graduate students were individually selected after a rigorous and demanding interview process. We started with over 3,500 applicants and the young future leaders walking into our global offices today represent the best of the best.

The first thing we would like to do is to welcome and congratulate every one of you and thank you for choosing Jefferies for your summer intern analyst or associate experience – it is a big deal! Every one of us “veterans” will do all we can to make sure your summer experience is positive, educational, productive and fun! While this is a temporary internship, the goal for Jefferies is to determine whether or not we feel you are a great fit for full time employment with our company.

At the same time, we will work hard to make you feel mutually excited about picking us as your first “full time real job” once you graduate next year. Your first full time job out of school is important for many reasons and in some ways, it can establish the foundation, direction and tone for your long-term career (and happiness). With this in mind, we thought we would share with you our thoughts on what led us to decide on our first “full time real job” after the two of us graduated from school and entered the “real world”.

Now it was a VERY long time ago when we graduated, but we still remember like it was yesterday what we were looking for as we entered the “real world” for our first time:

1. Flow: You want to be at a firm that has an enormous amount of action. Deals, trades, complexities, ideas, problems, solutions, commotion and liveliness. The only way to truly learn is to be plopped right in the middle of everything, which at times may appear to be a mess, but in reality is more politely referred to as “organized chaos.” You will be around people who are doing productive things at a fast pace. You should observe them. If you don’t understand a decision/strategy, ask someone (perhaps not in the heat of the moment, but once things calm down). You metaphorically should put yourself in the shoes of the people getting things done. You have the opportunity to understand motivations, reactions, strategy and goals. It is one thing to conceptualize all of this in a classroom or in a theoretical conversation, it is another to find yourself smack in the middle of the action and be required to figure out how to swim. By the way, you will get water up your nose and that’s OK. Learn to deal with it.

2. People: You have to be excited about the people you met during the interview process and all the ones you are going to work with this summer. Tremendous flow is wonderful and educational, but without the right people around you it will be very hollow. They don’t have to be your close friends or adopted parents. But you should ultimately pick a firm whose people: you respect, truly care about your career, spend the time to teach, are long-term committers versus short-term mercenaries, have a sense of purpose and direction, have true integrity, value relationships, value and appreciate life balance, are philanthropic, are fun and in many ways you would like to emulate in your future. You won’t get along with everyone and even the best of people have the worst of days. The bottom line is that you have to put yourself in a place with people you want to surround yourself with for most of your waking hours, because that is what you will do.

3. Mission: You need to pick a firm that has a mission and a purpose that truly aligns with your goals and excites you. You will be joining a firm and fighting in the trenches with the rest of the team in hand-to-hand combat to achieve difficult and complicated objectives. It’s great to have a strong flow of challenges with people you care about beside you, but you also need to believe in where you are going and what you are fighting to achieve. This is the special ingredient. This will make the needed sacrifices easier because you’ll be excited about staying up the extra hour or travelling the extra mile to help make sure your team succeeds.

4. Integrity: This was true in our day as well, but it is even more clear today in our fast-paced world of instant transparency – finding a firm with true integrity is a “must have” and not a “nice to have.” No matter how tired you will be when you put your head on your pillow after a long day’s work, you will only sleep well at night if you know everything you did to manage your tremendous flow with the people you respect to execute the mission you believe in was done with complete honesty and integrity. No fight is worth winning if you can’t win it fair and square. True pride comes with succeeding and being able to hold your head high knowing that no corner was ever cut or compromised. This is not only the core foundation that great careers are built upon, but it is the cherry on top that will result in pride, fulfillment, and true happiness and success. 

Welcome every one of you to Jefferies on the first day of your summer internship. Please use whatever part of our list resonates with your own opinions on what you are looking for once this summer is long over. Hopefully there will be a great alignment with most of you and we will be fortunate to have you join Jefferies upon graduation for your first “full time real job” as you join the rest of us in the “real world.”

Wishing you an amazing summer,

Rich and Brian

Richard B. Handler
Chairman of the Board and CEO

@handlerrich Twitter | Instagram 

Brian P. Friedman
Chairman, Executive Committee