Marriott students reflect as summer internships wind down

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Marriott School of Management students at BYU compete for the best summer internships in the industry and for good reason, according to students.

Business students are interning all over the world this summer and, while their work is difficult, students and faculty alike believe the benefits outweigh any setbacks.

Taylor Stratton has spent his summer working at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Houston, TX. [photo courtesy of Taylor Stratton]
Taylor Stratton has spent his summer working at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Houston. (Photo courtesy of Taylor Stratton)
One BYU finance student, Taylor Stratton, 26, has spent his summer at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Houston working as a summer analyst in the energy and power group. Stratton still has a few weeks left at his internship but has already learned a lot.

“What you do learn is incredibly useful from a finance standpoint as well as the ability to work under extreme pressure and to create work with very little to no mistakes at all,” Stratton said.

Kim Smith, a finance professor at BYU, notices the benefits students gain from being able to apply what they learn in their classes.

“It makes what they’re learning in the classroom come alive and be more real,” Smith said.

BYU students are held to a high standard in the business world and companies hiring interns are no exception. Smith works with many others to help BYU students get into the best internships available.

“Together with other people, we meet with companies and essentially sell BYU students. We try to get more companies and really high quality companies to come and visit,” Smith said.

Stratton explained that while summer analysts aren’t expected to know everything right away, the incredibly fast pace of the investment banking industry requires that interns work long hours to keep up with their work. He even mentioned one motto he and some of his fellow interns have come to live by.

“If you’re smart and trying to get an offer, you will live by the motto ‘FILO,’ which stands for ‘First in, last out.’ You don’t want to be seen leaving the office before senior management, associates or even full-time analysts,” Stratton said.

Smith explained that ten years ago, internships weren’t taken that seriously, but today they are crucial to students’ future careers. Smith mentioned that some companies don’t even feel a need to send recruiters to campuses anymore.

“In some cases they don’t even come to campus because they’re done. They just hire their summer interns,” Smith said.

This may be why the number of interns has increased so greatly. Smith mentioned that this summer there have been more summer internships for sophomores than ever before.

Trevor Johnson, 23, is a business student at BYU and had to network to land his summer internship.

“One of the people I contacted was a young men’s leader I once had. A project happened to come up that week. Because of the relationship we had, he pushed with his boss and helped me apply,” Johnson said.

Johnson was hired as an external consultant at Williams, a gas and energy company, in Tulsa, Okla. Similar to other interns’ experiences, Johnson’s has been even better than he expected.

“I love it. I’ve been able to rub shoulders with some of the executive members of the leadership team. Just to be able to interview with the senior leaders in the company and the fact that I’ve been able to talk to them about the poaching program, it’s been great,” Johnson said.

Students are willing to sacrifice some summer fun knowing how important summer internships are to a future career in their chosen industry. Stratton emphasized the necessity of gaining experience prior to graduation.

Taylor Stratton works mostly with excel and is required to pay close attention to detail at his Houston, TX internship. [photo courtesy of Taylor Stratton]
Taylor Stratton works mostly with Microsoft Excel and is required to pay close attention to detail at his Houston internship. (Photo courtesy of Taylor Stratton)
“If you don’t have any investment banking experience then it’s incredibly difficult to get jobs in this side of the financial services industry. Most bankers go to private equity and hedge funds after a two or three year analyst program,” Stratton said.

Smith mentioned that on-campus internships, which include working on specific projects for a company can help students determine whether they enjoy certain fields in business or not.

Some students are hesitant to dedicate an entire summer working as a summer analyst or in other business positions, but when talking about the cons of summer internships, Stratton struggled to think of many.

“I can’t even think of anything besides being unable to go to the King Henry pool and play volleyball,” Stratton said.

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