But seriously, I have trained many interns and junior traders and turned them into superstars. Today, I also serve as a trading mentor to aspiring Wall Street tycoons. So, you want that full-time offer after your internship is up? Here are MY commandments:
1. Get lunch orders correct. This is the most important commandment. Getting lunch right won't make your career but it can DEFINITELY break it. How are you ever going to be trusted to handle responsibilities with millions of dollars at stake, if you can't correctly order a steak? Attention to detail in lunch leads to attention to detail in life — and, hence, attention to detail in winning trades.
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They say that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Well the way to a Wall Street offer, is through the trader's stomach.
2. Dress like your idol. Find your idol and ask him where he shops. If everyone on the desk wears a suit and tie, then wear a suit and tie. If they are business casual, don't wear a suit and tie. Don't have your own "style." You don't want to remembered for your outfit — good or bad. The key is to not look like an intern.
If you are unsure of where to shop, stores like Pink, Suit Supply and Saks are good places to start. Only shop at Old Navy if you are looking to get a full-time offer to work in the cafeteria.
3. Nobody cares about your opinion. This is hard for most titans in training to stomach because they are used to being the smartest guys in the room. Remember, you are the least valuable person in the room!! You know less about the business than the admin. After all, he or she is the one who is falsifying the expense reports.
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Put your head down and only ask thoughtful questions, but be smart about when to ask. Don't ask during peak market hours, when a trader is talking to a hot summer intern or when he lost more money in a trade than the GDP of Cameroon.
4. Never ask about your hours. Good traders think about the market 24/7, so never ask how many hours a week does your boss work. However, get in before he does and have things ready for him. Have his bacon, egg and cheese on his desk, his computer turned on, and risk reports printed out before he walks in the door — especially if he is reeling from last night's "client" dinner.
5. Learn how to get around the city. Since you don't have any real responsibility, often you will be tasked to run an errand for your idol. Now don't take this as an insult and say something like, "I came here for a Wall Street job, not a job at Uber Rush." In fact, do the opposite. Learn the subways to get the job done as quickly as possible. Don't use the time away from the office to go to Central Park to stare at girls in bikinis. Do the task and go the extra mile by picking up Cronuts for the desk. It's all about speed and execution. If you show you can get this done with speed and flawlessness, she will notice you have the mindset to be a good trader.
6. Use your connections if you have them. But don't ever volunteer something you can't deliver on. That is career suicide. Don't say I can get us a table at the hot new club and when you arrive, the doorman laughs in your face. Nothing upsets Wall Streeters more than being misled. However, if you sister is a model and can get your idol into the Fashion Week after parties, your brother plays for the Mets and can get you onto Citi Field, or your father is Preet Bharara and can get your boss's insider trading allegations to disappear, then use these connections to your advantage!
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7. Read up. Before you start working on Wall Street, read as much about it as you can. However, just because you read something, don't say things like, "So last night I was reading Apple's annual report…" You sound phony and like a tool. However, be clever. If you want to bring up what you have read, use books that are crowd pleasers. "Reminiscences of a Stock Operator," "Liar's Poker" and "The Art of War" are good ones to reference. Likewise, there are books to never reference because it will make them angry. Definitely avoid "Too Big to Fail," "The Communist Manifesto" and anything that Bill de Blasio endorses.
8. Don't mention other offers you have. We know you are lying. If you were so in demand, you wouldn't be here. It's about as big a turnoff as saying you are on Wall Street to help people. You are on Wall Street to make money. If you want to help people, become a nurse.
9. Don't get drunk and act stupid at networking events. The reason most senior people are at these events are free booze, to make fun of how clueless the interns are and free booze. Even though you might have liquid courage, don't use this as the time to settle a score with a fellow intern or hit on someone from HR. Keep it together. Don't challenge your idol to a chugging contest. Instead ask her to play a friendly game of Liar's poker, where every player takes a dollar bill and then players guess the number of times a particular digit appears in the serial number of all the players' bills. By all means, try and win the game, or at least make the other interns look like idiots. Remember in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
10. Re-read No. 1.