Dane Holmes: My "Killer B’s" - Advice to Make Your Summer Internship a Success

26 JUL 2018

Dane Holmes, Global Head of Human Capital Management at Goldman Sachs, shares his list of "Killer B's" for making your summer internship a success.  

By Dane Holmes

When I was growing up down South, summertime to me mostly meant sweet tea (by the gallon) and the type of freedom only a bike and a late curfew could give you. Unfortunately, as we get older – things change (thankfully though I’ve still got my sweet tea). For some, summer signals more than lazy days and fun nights – it means the internship season is here.

This summer, Goldman Sachs is welcoming around 3,000 new colleagues for a 10-week internship experience. It’s an extraordinarily talented group of people that comes from almost 500 schools, represents more than 50 different areas of study, speaks dozens of languages and includes inventors, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, artists, athletes, authors and even a sommelier. This diversity reflects both the range of skills we seek out in recruits as well as the broad set of opportunities we offer as a firm. Regardless of a person’s background or experience, the question I’m most often asked by interns is - what advice do you have?

Of course, any enterprising intern is focused on being proactive, collaborative and willing to work hard and learn. But let’s dig a little deeper. Some 25 years ago when I was an intern, I recall telling myself – take initiative and whatever you do, DON’T hit the snooze button. While that advice still stands, here are a few more that are baked in actual experience. I call them my Killer B’s.

  • Be in the moment. It’s easy to look ahead and wonder whether you’re going to convert your internship into a full-time gig. But have the discipline to focus on the present, to make the most of what’s immediately in front of you and to trust that things will turn out as they should.
  • Be yourself. Don’t try to be anyone else. You got the internship for a reason, build upon that. Stay true to who you are and share your personality and interests. Doing so will not only tee you up for success, it’ll also help you figure out what you want.
  • Be positive. Perhaps your internship doesn’t start out the way you expected. Or maybe somebody else got the project you wanted. Whatever your internship is or isn’t, focus on the positive. The journey has just begun, there is so much more opportunity ahead.
  • Be well rested. New city, new job, new friends – there’s no way around it, you have a lot going on, but keep first things first. If you don’t take good care of yourself then you’re not going to perform at your best level. Now, I’m not saying don’t have fun, but nothing says “this isn’t working” faster than slumping over asleep in your seat (oh, it has happened).
  • Be humble. You got your internship because you’re really talented – but, that’s going to be true about everyone around you. In your career, you’ll only be truly successful (read: fulfilled) if others are willing to help you and invest in you. I’ve learned that humility is one of the greatest facilitators to achieving that. See every task, no matter what it is, as an opportunity to do awesome work and to make things possible.

My final piece of advice doesn’t exactly jive with my “B theme”, but it’s important. Up until this point, you’ve largely been given a formula – study hard, go to college, get good grades, land a great job. But once you start your career – there isn’t a playbook on what to do next. And so my guidance is this – forget the formula. There are infinite paths to success. And that’s because the test has changed from a series of questions, to a series of situations. So, exercise good judgment, think with an open mind and act with purpose.

Enjoy the summer and make the most of your internship!

This article was originally published by Dane Holmes on LinkedIn on June 7, 2018.