Don’t Eff This Up: The Complete Guide to Wall Street Internships — Part Four

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If you’ve read Monkey Business, you may imagine that life as a young financier will be filled with eating contests, power hours, pool parties with eager-to-please women, and other frat-house shenanigans. You’re already practicing loosening your tie at the bar, ordering a round of Patrón shots, and smiling rakishly as you tell the leggy PR assistant who sidles up next to you that “we work hard, but we play hard, too.”

Not to burst bubbles, but Wall Street these days — especially for interns — is more like Foxconn than UConn. Your moments outside the office will be rare, and therefore valuable. So in addition to learning where to live, how to dress, and how to act on the job, you’re also going to have to learn how to spend your nights and weekends.

Skip the Hamptons: At some point this summer, you will be invited to go to the Hamptons. If it's for any other purpose than beers with Joe Schenk, you should politely decline. Guys, the sad truth is that Hamptons women are the Seal Team Six of status-detection. As mere interns, you have nothing to offer them, and spending the night buying them $17 drinks at SL East isn’t worth getting stuck three hours away from the office when a work crisis hits. Trust us on this.

Be a joiner: If you're lucky, your bank will have an intramural basketball team, or a running club, or some other form of athletic bonding activity. Do these things. They are a great way to impress people with your youthful vigor. If you’re a glutton for punishment, sign up for a Tough Mudder with your boss. (A Tough Mudder, for those new to the concept, is a hardcore, boot-camp-like endurance event in which you’re made to climb walls, plunge into ice-cold water, run through trenches filled with fire, and oh God I need a nap.)

Don’t be the ringleader: In every summer analyst class, one guy (it’s always a guy) steps up as the unofficial social chair. He signs group e-mails “party on,” organizes beer pong and trips to 230 Fifth, and keeps a photo of his frat brothers at his desk. He also doesn’t get an offer. Don't be that guy.

Bro out when necessary: That said, building solid relationships with your fellow grunts is crucial. They will cover for you when you have a "dentist appointment" (read: free happy hour at Turtle Bay) or "out-of-town wedding" (read: your ex is in town for the night). So buy them a round every now and then. Just don’t “ice” anyone, ever, please.

Ace the booze cruise: Odds are, your firm will at some point treat you and your fellow summer analysts to an open-bar cruise around Manhattan. It’s a staple of Wall Street intern life, and by all means, feel free to drink. But don't have too many. Here’s a good test: When the D.J. plays that “We Are Young” song, do you start tearing up while earnestly contemplating the carefree hours of your fleeting youth? You’ve had too many.

Beware analystcest: We're not saying don't hook up with your fellow summer analysts (it happens!), we’re just saying be careful and extremely discreet. The guy who brags about his weekend conquests every Monday? Not a good look.

What if my boss hits on me? This is an actual Serious Thing That Sometimes Happens, and it is definitely out of our league, advice-wise. We'd suggest talking to a trusted mentor, going to HR, or trying to transfer groups. As we said yesterday, it’s not 1992 anymore — and it shouldn’t be for your boss, either.

A note on pharmaceuticals: You shouldn’t get pressured to do drugs during your Wall Street summer (if you do, see above), but what decisions you make on your own time are subject to your own cost/benefit analysis. Will some of your friends on Wall Street smoke and snort various things? Probably. Would you be able to finish an Excel model if you got called back to work fifteen minutes after doing a line in the Lavo bathroom? Probably not. So play it safe.

If your analyst class is invited to the group head’s house for dinner: Don’t ooh and ahh over his art collection or his 1,000-bottle wine cellar. Your group head didn’t invite you over to wow a bunch of 21-year-olds — it’s just easier than booking a room at Babbo.

Don’t lead with your job: When meeting non-finance people at bars around the city, don’t tell them where you work right away. It makes you sound insecure and desperate to impress. Instead, increase your mystique by holding off the reveal as long as possible. Here’s roughly what it should sound like:

“So, what do you do?”

“Oh, you know, finance.”

“Where?”

“Downtown.”

“But, like, where?”

“Energy sector. Oil, natural gas, that kind of stuff. It's pretty boring.”

“No, what firm?”

[look around, drop voice an octave]

“I like you, so I'll tell you. Goldman.”

And whatever you do: Don’t write them crazy, unhinged e-mails if they don’t return your calls. We all know how that ends.

A recap for visual learners:

Photo: iStock

Tomorrow: Landing the offer, saying goodbye. 

Also: Mailbag! Send questions to Intel or leave them in the comments, and we'll run them past our panel of experts.