How to use a contact?

Through a professor I have been given the contact details of the head of a global bank branch, should I: a) Email asking the contact straight out for an internship, or b) Ask to meet him to talk about the firm, services, positions etc, and then ask about an internship position. Any suggestions or personal experiences would be much appreciated.

Send an email and introduce yourself and who referred you to him. Close with a suggestion to meet for coffee or the like.

Better if the professor introduced you face to face and said some great things about you. That is the strongest referral you can have. If you didn’t meet the global bank branch guy face to face, I’d have the professor call the head of global bank branch and say some good things about you. You need to piggy back your professor’s relationship with the global bank branch. The more work your professor does for you, the better the referral. By the time to speak to the head of global bank branch, you won’t even have to ask him for an internship. He’ll know what’s up.