NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Did getting an internship on Wall Street this summer feel like you just won the lottery? It should. You are one of a few very fortunate members of an elite group of students. Competition remains keen for these coveted positions that are often the start to long, successful careers in finance. And if yours happens to pay a salary, you have yet another reason to celebrate.
Despite an uptick in hiring on Wall Street, finding a plum summer position continues to be elusive. There are fewer financial institutions with internships and many other firms have scaled back their programs.
Getting one can be extremely valuable, however, both as a resume-builder and as a professional stepping stone. But getting the job is only the first step. Now the real work of making sure the summer is a success begins. How will that be measured? You receive an offer to join upon graduation; or, you get a terrific reference; or, the company asks you stay on in a part-time capacity during the school year.
Here are eight tips to help you make the most of this terrific and potentially life-changing opportunity:
1. Get a head start. Call or e-mail the person who will be overseeing you and tell her that you are hoping to get a head start. That person is either your manager for the summer or the internship coordinator. Ask if there Is there anything you can prepare, read or research in advance. Or, if there is an important transaction about to happen, offer to begin the internship early.