In the summer between my 3rd and 4th year of university (2004), I worked as an intern at one of Canada’s big banks on the Stock Loan/Prime Brokerage desk. While this is intended to give you a flavour of what you can expect, I by no means think that my experience was typical.
The hours: In the first few weeks, I arrived each day at 8am. One day, my boss challenged me to arrive at 7 the next morning. Being somewhat competitive, I of course showed up on time. And continued to arrive at 7am each morning for the rest of the summer. This is an ‘achievement’ I’ve come to be quite proud of (especially considering that I was out most evenings!)!
The environment: I worked on the 65th floor of the office tower, surrounded by the Institutional Sales and Trading teams. The analysts sat on the same floor on the other side of the ‘Chinese wall’. Looking back, this was a great and unique experience and opportunity.
My team sat on both sides of a row in the corner of the 65th floor. Most people on the team were on the phone for most of the day and there was lots of chatter. Definitely not a quiet work environment (which I loved).
The actual work: I was the first intern on the Stock Loan/Prime Brokerage desk at this particular bank, and so they didn’t have anything set in stone for me. I learned the most when I was sitting near the traders. Just picking up on the way the business worked and occasionally helping with paper work. I also spent a lot of time making power point presentations and…reading the news online.
The work/life balance: Like I said, I arrived at work at 7 each morning. But, when I look back, I don’t remember being tired. Instead, I remember always being busy and having some great experiences throug work (cruise on Lake Ontario, Dinner at some very cool restaurants, networking at patio drinks, etc).
Bottom line: Working at a large bank was a great experience not only for the actual work but for the social opportunities. These social opportunities doubled as networking opportunities and, in my case, led to a part time job with the same bank when I lived in London, England.
Feel free to share your own experiences or ask any questions below.