Finance internships are known to be famously brutal, and a leaked email from Wall Street has only served to confirm this. Justin Kwan, a second year Analyst at Barclays, sent out an email to the bright-eyed young college graduates about to join the company for its internship program. Ominously titled “Welcome to the jungle”, the email lists the 10 commandments that an intern needs to follow if they wish to succeed in the cutthroat world of investment banking.
The email, which is often tongue-in-cheek (Commandment number 9 is – Have a spare tie/scarf or two around. You never know when your associate will run out of napkins), nevertheless makes it apparent that investment banking is not for the faint of heart.
Predictably, the email stresses on the long working hours that an intern must endure if they’re to bag a coveted full-time position. “We expect you to be the last ones to leave every night…no matter what. That’s what good summer analysts do.”, announces Kwan.
And it’s likely that the analysts won’t be leaving at night at all – Kwan says that it’s very likely that they’ll need to do sleepovers at the office. “I recommend bringing a pillow to the office (yoga mat works as well). It makes sleeping under your desk alot more comfortable.” Breaks aren’t encouraged either. “When you need to leave your desk there will be a sign out sheet outside your cubes. Please fill it out including where you went and for how long. This is important come the end of your internship.”, says Commandment number 3.
The email is unapologetic about the demands that the field places on the young interns. “It won’t be easy. If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen.” The rules around the internship are harsh – Kwan goes on to talk about a former intern who’d wanted a weekend off to attend a family reunion. He was told he could go, but was also told to “hand over his Blackberry and pack up his desk.”
The email could have passed off as just another instance of jock tribal behaviour, had its timing not been so unfortunate. Just last month, an analyst at Goldman Sachs was found dead after having complained to his father of working “100 hour weeks”. Last week, Thomas J. Hughes, a 29-year-old banker at Moelis & Company, was found dead with drugs in his system after falling from a building in Manhattan. In August 2013, Bank of America intern Mortiz Erhardt passed away after reportedly working consecutive all-nighters at the bank’s London office. Last year, a trader in a Hong Kong bank had jumped to his death off JP Morgan’s headquarters.