When it comes to a career in software engineering, quantitative research, or trading, internships are an integral part in establishing your skillset and discovering which paths you might want to follow over the coming years. As summer internship season will soon be upon us, we asked Citadel Securities’ talent development professionals for advice on how you can best utilize the months before your summer internship officially begins. Use this guidance to prepare for your upcoming internship and steer you towards a successful, long-term career in financial services.
Distill Your Personal Learning Goals
First and foremost, congratulations! At this point, you’ve made it through several rounds of interviews and are clearly one of the best and the brightest students with your particular background. It’s your career that is coming up and you should own it. Owning your career begins with identifying what you want to learn from your upcoming internship. While the firm will provide you with specific project goals, you’ll want to have a point of view on what you want to learn. Here are some example “personal learning goals”:
Write three to four of these goals down and prepare to have a conversation with your manager about them on day one. Try to convey your commitment to continuous learning. Some of your peers may state their goals in a too-forward and selfish manner. Frame your goals as a way for you to learn about adding value at the firm.
Take Your Understanding of the Firm to the Next Level
Between the time that you’ve accepted your internship offer and when you officially start, you’ll want to absorb as much information about your organization as possible. Examine your firm with both a macro and micro lens.
From the macro lens, you should take time to consume more information about your firm’s role in the broader financial system. Check out your firm’s blog and see if they have explanations about the type of impact they make in the world. For example, our own Donnie Phillips explains the role of market makers.
From a micro lens, you should reach out to your future manager with some preliminary questions. We at Citadel Securities provide you with the contact information for your manager and potentially even a mentor prior to your first day. The act of sending along preliminary questions will show your passion to tackle complex challenges and take on significant responsibilities during your internship. Potential questions to ask include:
With this prep work complete, you’ll have laid the foundation for a successful and exciting internship.
Approach Your Internship as a Full-Time Career
At Citadel Securities, we empower interns with responsibilities and learning opportunities that are almost indistinguishable from those who are full-time team members. Similarly, you should approach your internship with the same level of passion that you take to anything that you may do for years and years. Specific ways to prepare in advance to consistently apply your passion include:
We put a lot of thought, passion, and energy into the structure of our internship program. To make the most of any internship you have coming up, you should also put thought, passion, and energy into the preparation that will allow you to come out of the internship as a winner in your own career.
Learn more about our internship programs.