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Wall Street Interns Return to the Office and Nightlife After a Year of Zoom Meetings

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Wall Street Interns Return to the Office and Nightlife After a Year of Zoom Meetings

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(Bloomberg) – Fourteen-hour weekdays of dancing late into the night at Phebe’s Tavern and Grill, the famous indoor bar. Coffee with the boss on the ground floor of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Impromptu rooftop meetings with colleagues. Analysts scream stock prices on a busy trading floor.

The Wall Street internship is back.

After a year of Zoom meetings and awkward virtual happy hours, New York’s youngest aspiring financiers have returned to the offices of the city’s investment banks, where they are making the most of in-person mentoring and building nets that they lacked throughout the year. pandemic. It is the beginning of a broader return to normalcy for New York City’s financial industry as companies battle over how to safely bring workers back.

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While the coveted Summer Analyst Program, a rite of passage for aspiring bankers, remains virtual for many, hundreds of Wall Street’s youngest recruits will work in person at JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Next week, more than 550 Citigroup Inc. interns will spend time in one of the bank’s offices, most of them in New York, according to a person familiar with the matter. And at Morgan Stanley, some remote interns work in person for two weeks, according to a spokesperson. Companies like Deutsche Bank AG also have a hybrid program.

Working in the office means experiencing the energy of a trading floor. On her third day in the JPMorgan office, Anna Albright, a 21-year-old environmental science student, learned how traders can get nervous.

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It was June 16 and the Federal Reserve had just shocked the markets by signaling two possible interest rate hikes in 2023. The seventh floor of the largest US bank was a flurry of chat pings, phones ringing. and cross yelling as analysts pored over President Jerome Powell’s press conference diction for an explanation behind the abrupt change in the Fed’s dot plot.

“It was like the Super Bowl, but much more intense,” said Albright, a summer sales and trade analyst. “We were like ‘OMG, what world have we entered?'”

For others, the reopening of New York is an opportunity to bond with other interns after work. A popular spot is Phebe’s, the downtown bar known as a “paradise for NYU kids and Wall Street interns,” according to 28-year-old waitress Lauren Ramirez. It’s clear that summer analysts have come when you see “anything from Vineyard Vines, pastel buttons and boat shoes,” Ramírez explained.

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At 10 pm on a Friday in June, interns filled a packed dance floor, shouting an electronic remix of Taylor Swift’s “Love Story,” and the line to get in was the only thing visible outside the entrance. At 10:15 p.m., the line stretched across the street, crowding the sidewalk and blocking the entrance to neighboring apartments and businesses. The black cars double-parked to let groups of young men and women out as they headed inside and took a place at the bar.

No more naps

Back in the office, interns can now work directly with their supervisors, an experience that can be essential to landing a full-time job in finance. Wall Street leaders have lamented how junior staff have missed key mentoring opportunities during the pandemic. And now, companies are divided on whether all employees should return to the office. While lenders like Goldman Sachs are taking a more aggressive stance, others like Citigroup advocate a flexible approach.

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“It has been really exciting to be here and put faces on names and be able to build a relationship other than by email or zoom with the most senior members of the team,” said Isabel Guerrero, 21, summer analyst in technology and media. and the telecommunications division of Goldman Sachs, which worked remotely at the investment bank last summer. “You walk through the building and no one necessarily knows who is an intern and who is full time, and being able to interact with the larger company in that way has been really exciting.”

It also means the end of the nap between conference calls and yoga breaks at noon. Young employees say they are motivated and engaged when they are around their supervisors and have more opportunities for feedback.

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“My manager literally sits right behind me,” said Helena Ong, 21, a credit trading intern at JPMorgan. “When I want to ask him a question about my project, or talk to him, I literally just turn my chair.”

Losing

There are still many interns who work remotely and look forward to future opportunities in person.

“A lot of times people take care of the projects they’re working on,” said Will Choi, a 22-year-old risk management intern at Citigroup who works remotely. “GroupMe messaging doesn’t exactly do it all the time. And having those kinds of events, like happy hour, where everyone comes together through that experience. So that’s probably what I’m looking forward to the most of that return to. the office “.

Some are already planning ahead for next summer. Felicity Diamond, 20, who has a summer analyst position scheduled for next year at a Wall Street bank, is taking advantage of the hot weather and crowded city to create what she hopes are connections that will fuel her future career.

“I love meeting people who work in the same field,” said Diamond, who recently met other aspiring financiers on a private rooftop patio overlooking New York’s financial district. “You could really feel the excitement.”

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