Members of the 2018 Summer Analyst and Associate classes from around the world share what they learned about career and life that will stay with them, as they head back to campus.
What's it like to work in Financial Services? Every year, hundreds of Summer Analysts and Associates from around the world join Morgan Stanley for an intensive 10 weeks of training, networking, and lots of hard work. The first thing they learn? Most of them will never set foot anywhere near the actual Wall Street.
The rest is all about what it takes to thrive at Morgan Stanley, where competitive spirit reigns alongside a culture of collaboration and teamwork, and raw talent is enhanced by perseverance, self-discovery, and the knowledge that long-term relationships with colleagues and clients are at the core of a successful career trajectory.
Here are some of the lessons they learned:
During a welcome session in our first week, Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman emphasized the equal importance of self-exploration and determination when it comes to our careers. To be introspective and honest with ourselves about what our strengths and preferences are and, once established, to give our best efforts when pursuing and performing in a specific role—I took this to heart when learning about the Investment Banking division and my role in it. Now, with greater perspective at the end of my 10 weeks, I see that it can be applied beyond the workplace: in the course of one’s life, one can have a definitive sense of purpose and remain true to it.
—Danielle (Investment Banking, New York)
My summer has been an incredible opportunity, not just through my training on the Institutional Equities desk, but also through the camaraderie of some of the best and the brightest in my class. Working beside such talented people is a privilege, as well as edifying and a bit humbling. Sooner or later, we all naturally hit limits. It’s at that point where perseverance needs to kick in, so a tough situation becomes a stepping stone to a valuable learning experience, rather than a weight around one's neck. I know that invariably happened to all of us, and to see everyone’s support for each other, as well as our own determination shine through during challenging moments, was incredibly gratifying—to know that we were all there as a committed and talented team.
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Interning in Field Strategic Services, I saw how the firm works to improve “process efficiencies” to fix pain points in the field and overall. That brought home two seemingly disparate points: the importance of technology to stay efficient and ahead of the game, and how imperative personal relationships are, especially when building and retaining a client base. Morgan Stanley handles capital around the world electronically, every second, every day, but all of those transactions ultimately come down to human interaction. This interdependency has given me a whole new respect for how people and technology together form the basis of Morgan Stanley’s business and success. For me, it’s reinforced how having an understanding and affinity for technology and the “soft skills” of relationship building can provide an incredible advantage over the course of a career.
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Over the course of my internship, as I was given greater amounts of responsibility, it was up to me to reach out to colleagues, even to those outside of my division, to obtain the information necessary to arrive at a solution. With all of the experienced professionals here at Morgan Stanley, there’s more than enough institutional knowledge available; it was just a question of finding the right people and getting their insight. Now, I view self-discipline and resourcefulness as two important muscles to build and maintain, so they’ll always be there when necessary.
—Lucas (Investment Banking, New York)
When encountering new people in different divisions and offices, I learned the value of introducing myself to as many people as possible to get a sense of what they do, and how their roles fit into the larger Morgan Stanley puzzle. I wanted to learn as much as I could about the firm, and speaking to new people daily, however intimidating, was a grassroots method of attaining that goal, above and beyond required training seminars. This was also a way to cultivate proactivity, which for me has become essential in terms of successfully contributing to team projects as well as managing a busy workday.
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Being immersed in Operations for 10 weeks provided a sampling of so many important subdivisions, namely Fraud Operations, Cash Settlements, and Futures. At the start of the summer, I was fairly convinced that I wanted to focus on Futures for the duration of my internship, but through shadowing different colleagues in the division, I was exposed to so much more of what makes up Operations, and ultimately took an interest in Syndicates. Simply put, it was really through keeping an open mind and being more flexible to different areas of the firm—many of which I wasn’t even aware of—that lead me to a fascinating new area of study that I’m now adding to my financial knowledge base.
—Timothy (Operations, Baltimore)
Prior to starting my internship, I had some reservations as I hadn't worked in an investment bank before. I reassured myself that all would be well if I worked hard, but once I started, the team and the people at Morgan Stanley genuinely wanted to get to know me and immediately put me at ease. This inclusive environment encouraged me to be my authentic self and, in turn, has allowed me to thrive. I've also learned that differences are considered strengths at Morgan Stanley. The diverse perspectives of my team in terms of background and course of study enabled us to come up with creative solutions to challenges that inevitably arose over the course of 10 weeks. These two takeaways alone have proved how enriching a workplace can be when everyone is respected and admired for who they are and what they can contribute.
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While working on the Fixed Income Sales & Trading desk this summer, the pace was nonstop. My team constantly had to process information coming at us from all sides: market movements, new trade ideas, and regular morning meetings where we discussed important strategies for the day. For me, this was an exciting part of the job that, over the 10 weeks, gave me the ability to quickly absorb information to hit the ground running, which is invaluable in work, school, and life. The low-tech aspect of this takeaway was keeping a journal to consolidate all that I had learned by day’s end. I would typically spend 10 minutes organizing my thoughts and jotting them down in a notebook, and as a result, I now have 30 entries’ worth of Fixed Income knowledge that I’m certain will serve as a great foundation, as I pursue a career in finance.
—Zi Hao (Fixed Income, Hong Kong)