Intern Hunger Games in Full Swing With VC Shop’s Public Rankings

The summer interns at Insight Partners are learning the firm’s number one value — “hunger to win” — the hard way.

(Bloomberg) — The summer interns at Insight Partners are learning the firm’s number one value — “hunger to win” — the hard way.

The New York-based company, known for taking early stakes in ventures like DocuSign Inc. and Shopify Inc., publicly ranks its investing interns using metrics like their phone calls, emails, and meetings, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The rankings are displayed on a so-called leaderboard for the firm, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak about it. Some full-time employees are also ranked, they said.

The ranking isn’t an automatic ticket to getting a job. It’s one of many data points taken into consideration, including participation in meetings and attendance at “lunch and learns,” according to a person familiar with Insight’s hiring practices, who said interns are told not to worry about their ranking. 

Still, for some, the leaderboard is top of mind at the beginning and end of each day — though the pressure to rank highly is dependent on the specific team an intern is on, said one of the people. Insight has 18 investment summer analysts, according to a post on Instagram, while its 2022 class had 15 summer analysts.

Insight’s investing interns are expected to research and reach out to as many startups as possible in order to pitch a few at their team’s weekly “pipeline” meeting, according to the people. That means sending upwards of 150 emails and making dozens of phone calls a week, they said. All of these metrics are tracked on Saleforce’s leaderboard software, which is advertised as providing “a gamified view of your community.” 

Insight Partners, which managed $79 billion as of the end of 2022, declined to comment on the matter.

Financial firms are vying for top talent at a time when many ambitious college students are disillusioned by the layoffs hammering the tech industry. Interns at private equity firms now make about $60 an hour on average, according to finance career site Wall Street Oasis, which used 81 self-reported salaries. 

Generally, Wall Street’s intern culture “has evolved” since the 2008 financial crisis, according to Scott Rostan, founder of Training The Street. Previously cutthroat and obsessed with hours worked, the financial industry’s entry-level jobs now emphasize a work-life balance, he said. 

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But in order to be a successful venture investor, it’s crucial for a firm like Insight to find people who can contact a high volume of startups and build as many relationships as possible, said Todd Carson, who advises MBA students at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. That will ensure they have a seat at the table at whatever fast-growing company becomes the next Facebook, he said.

“You don’t want to miss anything,” said Carson, whose specialty is private equity and venture capital. 

So while it’s likely common for a VC firm to track employees’ performance and have interns indirectly competing against each other for a full-time spot, “whether they put that on a white board in the office is another story,” he said.

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