Wall Street internship guidebook: How to nail a summer analyst program — from the dress code to leaving with a full-time offer

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In a few weeks, the investment banking industry’s youngest ranks — summer analysts — will descend upon financial firms for one of the biggest trials of their young lives.

Snagging a summer internship at a leading investment bank is not just a fun summer job — it’s often the starting point for a career on Wall Street. How interns perform, therefore, can be extremely consequential.

“This is a 10-week extended job interview,” Steve Sibley, a professor at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, explained in a 2023 interview. “It’s a 10-week test drive or trial run for the bank with you as an employee, and also from your perspective, it’s a 10-week trial of the bank as your employer.”

Wall Street internships are not easy to land, as BI has previously reported. The acceptance rate at top firms can be stiffer than an Ivy League university’s. Goldman Sachs, for example, accepted just 1.5% of candidates into its 2022 summer internship class out of more than 236,000 applications worldwide.

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But these internships can also open doors to good-paying jobs. Interns who perform well tend to be offered a full-time job as an entry-level investment banker upon graduation. This can lead to a career as an M&A banker, or a corporate fundraiser, or wealth manager, or trader. It can also lead to recruitment — sometimes within the first few days on the job — by a private-equity firm, as BI has previously reported.

Given the high stakes, Business Insider has pulled together a comprehensive list of everything a Wall Street summer analyst should know to be successful, from how interns spend their days to what they tend to wear post-pandemic to the secrets of standing out to your manager and scoring a return offer. We have advice from executives at top firms like Goldman Sachs as well as former interns on how to prepare for and make the most of the Wall Street summer internship.