As a college student, I have found that undergraduate internships often serve as the stepping stone to a successful career. Every student dedicates lots of time to perfecting their resumes and sharpening their interview skills in order to land their ideal internship. Getting hired as an intern at a firm that you admire or in a role that fits your desired career path is an exciting feeling, and you are eager to expand your network, learn from your mentors, and contribute value to your team.
It is not often that interns get the chance to come face to face with some of Wall Street’s most successful leaders. However, Clearpool gave our intern class the opportunity to join Bank of America Merrill Lynch at their New York headquarters for their annual Client Intern Day. Upon arrival at the beautiful, glass tower, 180 interns from hedge funds, investment management groups, and many other firms made their way up to the 51st floor, and were greeted with an array of snacks, drinks and desserts, as well as an amazing view!
After taking our seats, we were welcomed by Tracy Caliendo, Managing Director of Bank of America Hedge Fund Services, who gave us an overview of our day’s agenda and led us into an exercise that I’m sure took many of us by surprise: introducing ourselves to a room of over 200 people. While this exercise took some time, it was interesting to learn that the people around me possessed different backgrounds, educational goals, and career interests, yet we were all brought together for this great opportunity at BAML.
In addition to the few breaks that served as small networking sessions, most of our day was spent gathering insight from panels of Bank of America Trading, Content and Sales directors, who summarized the importance of their sectors in relation to the overall function of the firm. We also heard a panel of young analysts describe their first year at BAML, the challenges they have faced so far, and how they overcame them—an incredibly helpful and relevant portion as they were in our shoes as interns not too long ago. After each panel’s discussion, the interns were allotted time for brief Q&A sessions, which, in my opinion, were the most intriguing parts of the day. The members of each panel were open to answering all of our questions, gave honest responses, and contributed meaningful advice.
The goal of each speaker and panel was not to just inform us of how the equities industry works and what each role entails, but to encourage us to seize the opportunities put forth by our internships, and to overcome the ‘I don’t want to be wrong’ and ‘I don’t want to bother my team’ concerns that commonly overwhelm interns when faced with uncertainty. The true value of an internship is not gained from solely completing our day-to-day tasks, but from also seeking opportunities to understand more about the firm, industry or role, and building strong connections with those around us. It is up to us, as interns, to take the extra step to go beyond what is expected and make the most of our internships.
As Nogie Udevbulu, Managing Director and Global Head of Index, ETF & Flows Strategy stated on the panel, “the moment you know nothing is the moment that you know you are learning”. She assured us that making mistakes, being unsure, and asking questions are all important factors that make internships such significant learning experiences. Her message truly resonated with me as I reflected upon my first day at Clearpool, completely new to the complex processes involved in algorithmic trading. Clearpool has provided me with the perfect opportunity to apply the lessons learned from Client Intern Day and explore beyond my current knowledge. With inspiration from each speaker and panelist, I will continue to be proactive in adding to the ever-growing list of things that I have learned, not only here at Clearpool, but throughout my career as well.