Congrats! You’ve landed the internship and your frantic search for something to do this summer is a thing of the past. Now, it’s time to focus on how to make the most of your 10-week taste of the working world. To help you do that, I’ve written a list of tips I’ve come up with this summer on how to contribute, make a difference and most importantly, learn something, in your private equity internship.
- The most important thing you should do, starting day one, is ask questions. If you don’t, people will assume you understand everything and you’ll be in over your head before you know it. If you do, your coworkers will happily take the time to explain things to you. These people enjoy what they do and they enjoy teaching it. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t hire an intern who’s never worked in private equity.
- The next most important thing for surviving your internship is to listen to the answer when you ask a question. The only thing worse than not asking questions is asking a question, receiving an answer and proceeding to do something incorrectly that was just explained to you. It wastes time and you don’t learn anything. Bad combo.
- Another thing I’ve learned this summer is that volunteering to help on a wide variety of projects makes for the best learning experience. Even if it’s a task you’ve never done before or a project that you don’t fully understand, ask for instructions and work alongside your coworkers. Being engaged in different types of projects is the best way to take advantage of your internship and gain valuable experience.
- Next: never eat lunch alone! At Watermill, everyone eats lunch together in the conference room and there’s no better time to get to know people around the office. Talk to your colleagues about their backgrounds, last night’s game, the phone call from that morning… really anything at all. Part of this is building a network in a field that you ultimately want to break into but it also saves you a lot of boredom if you can talk to the people around you.
- If there’s one thing I’ve learned at Watermill this summer, it’s that you should never be afraid to speak up in meetings and offer your own insights. There’s obviously a time and a place for this, and you’ll get a feel for when and where that is, but you were hired because you showed the potential to contribute. Don’t go the whole summer sitting quietly on the sidelines!
If you follow these tips and bring a good attitude, you’ll build great relationships, learn a lot and have a rewarding experience that will serve you well in the future.
By: Henry Connon, Watermill Summer 2017 Intern