Intern in the News: Matthew Robson

Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson:

Two weeks ago, Mr Robson was pretty pleased at being one of half a dozen London schoolchildren to secure a work experience placement at Morgan Stanley’s Canary Wharf offices.
Such positions usually go to the friends and family members of well-connected bankers. In Mr Robson’s case, the networking was done by his whippet, Rudy, who dragged his mother into conversation with the wife of one of Morgan Stanley’s media analysts while both walked their dogs in Greenwich Park.
After a week of presentations by senior staff, the Kidbrooke comprehensive school pupil felt he had grasped the basics of banking, and was looking forward to a secondment to the European media research desk.
Many a teenage internship has been spent fetching Starbucks orders and being otherwise ignored. But Mr Robson struck lucky when Edward Hill-Wood, the head of the team, asked him to spend a few days pulling together an account of his friends’ media and communications habits. Mr Hill-Wood’s decision to publish the three- page report Mr Robson handed in has made the 15-year-old the world’s most famous intern since Monica Lewinsky.
The report made for stark reading for the bank’s clientele. His peers see advertising, the struggling sector’s congealing lifeblood, as “extremely annoying and pointless”. They “cannot be bothered” to read a newspaper, never buy CDs or use yellow pages directories, and generally try to avoid paying for anything other than concerts and cinema tickets.
While mobile phones are central to their social lives, the friends he canvassed (by text message) avoid expensive handsets for fear of losing them, do not use the mobile internet as it costs too much and prefer games consoles for free chat.