MARKETS INTERNSHIP DIARY: The perils of teamwork, and the bank’s dodgy computers
If the first week was all about networking and getting to know the team, this week was all about knuckling down and getting to work. I can now say hi to most people on my floor without getting a confused look back in response, and ask questions (briefly) to help cement our relationships.
Monday mornings are the busiest times of the week, except for when a significant news event happens, so the team doesn’t appreciate being distracted by me. I thought it was wise to crack on with my project and, once I had a basic framework in place, I decided to show it to my (now less busy) desk for their comments on how to improve it. I went approached one person, took their tips on board, improved the project and then took it to the next person. It was good, as it both allowed me to make the project better and also remind people what I was doing.
I still wanted to take time out to meet people, so arranged two or three meetings for each afternoon. I spent a few hours with one of the sales guys. At first, it was really interesting to hear him talk to clients, but it soon got tiresome when I realized he did the same spiel every time. It did, however, mean I learned a great answer whenever anyone asked me about the state of the market. Every cloud has a silver lining!
Four of us interns are collaborating on our project, which was set by the HR team. Somehow we’ve managed to contradict each other on every element of how it should be executed. On Wednesday afternoon, we got together, squabbled for 20 minutes and then decided it would be better to kick the can down the road and just tackle it later.
As well as the more long-term projects, I have my daily tasks, which I was becoming a little more comfortable with. One of these is preparing the morning message – this has to go out at exactly 7.30am. At 7.29, my computer froze, and I had to climb under my desk to restart it. It was nearly 7.45 by the time it went out, and I’d lost most of my body weight in anxiety-driven sweat.
My boss wasn’t happy, but he understood how dodgy the computers are here; a subject we managed to bond over a little. This is ironic considering how many millions the bank shells out on technology.
Luckily, there was no night out this week (the last one destroyed me), but I was still knackered by Friday afternoon. My boss left earlier to catch his flight, as he’s off on holiday next week, so I managed to sneak off by 5pm. I left my jacket on the back of my seat in the hope the others would think I’m ‘networking’.
I started this week with a game plan, I wanted to meet as many people as possible and work out where I eventually want to work.
Having interned last year I have seen too many people produce fantastic work but fail to land an offer because they didn’t get themselves noticed enough. With that in mind I wrote down the names of all the people I wanted to speak to, and introduced myself to them all on Monday, asking when I could return for a proper chat later in the week. Some people didn’t even acknowledge me, whilst others were really keen for me to come back, even pulling up a chair straight away.
By the end of the day I had managed to get a pretty busy schedule. I spent most of the week talking to people, asking questions, and trying to work out what was happening on all of those screens! Some people used it as an opportunity to grill me with complicated questions, and I got made to look like a fool on several occasions but I feel like I learnt more from this than anything else.
It is clear that different desks have different cultures. The more ‘exotic’ products tend to have less patience with me, whilst the ‘vanilla’ guys are way more chilled out. This does lead to a bit of a conflict between what I’m more interested in, and where I would rather work. I am far more interested in the more mathsy stuff, but I’m not sure I could work on desk for 13 hours a day and not be able to talk about the latest football transfers.
On Monday I started sending out the morning email, which proved to be much harder than it sounds! Some of the things that are said I can barely hear let alone understand, and my boss wants the email sent out before half past 7, giving me just 15 minutes to put something sensible together.
On Thursday night, my desk took me out, which was good fun. We went to a restaurant with clients then onto a club, I ended up getting about two hours sleep and felt horrendous on Friday. I somehow managed to get in on time and they seemed impressed that I was still the first in.
We had a talk that morning from the head of a different product area, and I dosed off about half way through, luckily someone in the front row was very keen asking questions so I don’t think anyone noticed.