When I started my first banking internship I believed that I needed to work really hard to get on the major deals and be successful. So for a good 7 weeks, that’s all I did! I worked really hard. I was at my desk cranking on something all the time. I believed that sooner or later, someone was going to notice, and that my work product would be so good that I’d automatically get put on the big deals.

That was far from the truth.

There was another intern there who seemed to never work and was always socializing. He basically walked around the floor every day and just talked to everybody. He kept getting on good projects and I thought, “What? But he doesn’t do anything!”


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When I started my first banking internship I believed that I needed to work really hard to get on the major deals and be successful. So for a good 7 weeks, that’s all I did! I worked really hard. I was at my desk cranking on something all the time. I believed that sooner or later, someone was going to notice, and that my work product would be so good that I’d automatically get put on the big deals.

That was far from the truth.

There was another intern there who seemed to never work and was always socializing. He basically walked around the floor every day and just talked to everybody. He kept getting on good projects and I thought, “What? But he doesn’t do anything!”

It perplexed and bothered me so much that I went to my analyst and I asked:

“Okay, hypothetical scenario. Let’s say you’re starting a company. Guy A is your buddy and doesn’t really work very hard. Guy B is someone you work with who isn’t really your buddy but works very hard. Who will you start your company with?”

My analyst looked at me like the answer was obvious and said:

“I’d pick my buddy any day of the week, even if he doesn’t work as hard; a buddy is someone I can trust. The hypothetical person that works hard– I don’t know them and so I can’t trust them.”

Big lesson here: if you’re starting a business, you want to do business with someone who you know has your back. If you’re the analyst and have two interns to delegate work to, would you delegate work to the intern who does a stellar job on the projects and makes the effort to reach out and get to know you or would you delegate work to the machine in the corner of the room who seemingly only cares about finishing work? The answer should be obvious.

What’s the solution? Start socializing. Get to know people. Develop relationships that transcend the pitch book you’re working on.

It may take awhile to sink in, but give this one some thought. You’re not just here to work. You’re here to build relationships that last even when work is over. Why? Because businesses aren’t built on pillars of hard work alone. They’re built on the foundation of trust with pillars of hard work to drive the business forward. Trust trumps hard work any day of the week.

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