Tag Archive for: Finance Internship

Miriam Kim, Shanghai Internship

Great Wall portraitInterned in Finance at Gaotime, an international financial information service company, Spring 2014

Internship: Stunned by all the bright lights and skyscrapers in downtown Pu-dong, not only was I looking forward to bargaining and shopping at the “fake market” or tasting my first authentic Shanghai-nese soup dumpling, but I was also hoping to pursue an internship related to my field of interest during my time in Shanghai. I was expecting to intern at a small, start-up firm, but much to my surprise, I was given a valuable opportunity to intern at Gaotime, an international financial information service company located in the Shanghai World Financial Center, the tallest skyscraper in Shanghai’s financial district. My main projects ranged from writing industry reports for the company’s database with my team and creating PowerPoint slides for my boss (to be used abroad), to researching successful business models for potential future investment in one of China’s main industrial sectors.

I Learned: Working at Gaotime was the highlight of my Shanghai experience. I was truly able to immerse myself in the workplace culture of China, strengthen my interpersonal skills and come to understand multiple aspects of Chinese culture, including its language, business environment, economy, primary financial sectors, and potential for future growth. I became highly adaptable to any new situation as I gradually learned how to be more patient, open-minded, and emotionally balanced. But most valuably, I now understand China and its people much better than ever before. The cultural insight and knowledge I have gained from my work and travel experiences here definitely widened my horizons and made me realize that this world increasingly needs more people who understand Chinese culture and can thrive in a fast-developing, highly diverse country like China. Not to mention, choosing to study abroad in a challenging but rewarding environment like China and coming out of the experience successfully is a huge boon in the eyes of prospective employers!

What Surprised Me: As a Korean-American who grew up and lived in the States for most of her life, I admit that I was daunted by the fact that I would be living in a developing country for the first time. I expected that my new lifestyle in China could be different from what I was used to in the States and that I would have to develop an appreciation for a new set of living standards. Throughout my travels, what surprised me most was how modern and developed Shanghai actually is compared to some of its immediate neighbors. Although the average standard of living in Shanghai is not as high as that of the U.S., this experience still helped me gain an appreciation for them as well as for the exceptional circumstances that I grew up in. I saw and learned that parts of the developing world are really suffering from remnants of poverty and government corruption and need assistance from the developed world with which I am familiar.

Hardest Part: What I found most tough was dealing with the lack of order in traffic and on the streets as well as the high population density, especially in downtown areas. This was just one of the many unique aspects of China, the country with the largest population in the world, where vehicles take precedence over pedestrians at all times, and no laws prohibit bikes and motorcycles from mixing in with bigger vehicles on the streets, creating a rather chaotic environment for one not used to hectic city life. I found it a bit challenging to commute to work at times, but as long as I was careful and looked both ways twice before crossing, I managed. Also, since I like listening to music while walking, I always checked to make sure my volume was at a low enough level for me to hear whether or not anything was approaching me from behind.

Best Part: On the bright side, I was in for a treat from the moment I arrived in Shanghai. The BU Shanghai staff is very supportive, experienced, and fantastic with organizing program excursions. I rarely missed out on opportunities to learn about China’s long history by admiring well-preserved museum works, tasting different types of Chinese cuisine, and recognizing the special characteristics that define each province. Fudan University’s SSDPP (School of Social Development and Public Policy) was extremely hospitable towards us, providing us with various opportunities to go on weekend trips to nearby water-towns and villages. In terms of academics, I was fascinated and challenged by the courses I took at Fudan, which were taught by some of the best and most famous professors in China. I also loved how small and intimate my Chinese class was compared to the bigger average class sizes back at BU. The smaller classes definitely allowed me to interact more with the instructor (who was awesome!) and encouraged all of us to participate more. In terms of social life, Shanghai’s nightlife and local dishes are very affordable and easily accessible for the most part. But most importantly, I’m glad I had the chance to experience tremendous potential for growth from facing the challenges of a developing country firsthand.

My Tips: Keep an open mind and attitude, be bold with your Chinese inside and outside class (try to stretch your limits in using the language), and travel during weekends even if you’re busy! China has extraordinarily beautiful landscapes and so much to see and experience, so take advantage of the close proximity to major UNESCO World Heritage sites while you can! China boasts the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, rural villages, gardens, lakes, mountains, canal towns, and countless other natural sites. China also offers excellent transportation systems like high-speed rail, subway, and trains that travel to nearby towns such as Hangzhou, Suzhou, and Nanjing. If you are considering traveling to Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Macau, make sure you apply for the right visa—the earlier the better. Install BU VPN before leaving to ensure smooth communication with friends and family back at home, but don’t indulge in it too much while you’re abroad. Keeping in touch is important, but this is your time to explore new grounds and grow as an individual, so don’t invest too much time in activities that you can normally do in the States. Instead, take photos or start a blog; save the usual Skype or Facebook for when you’re feeling really homesick.

Reserve Bank of India – Second Week

A sweet, subtle petrichor suffused the Pune air, heralding the arrival of the much awaited monsoon. The monsoon has one of the most transformative effects on a landscape in the world, changing it from barren fields into a lush green carpet. Moreover, its arrival is eagerly anticipated across all social strata. In many respects the Indian economy relies wholeheartedly on weather that we very much take for granted back home. Though the monsoon has not yet built up to its notorious tumult, we have seen glimpses of its infamous power.

Undaunted, we ventured out from Pune towards Aurangabad on a 700 km whirlwind adventure, taking a path northeast of Pune deep into the heart of Maharashtra. On a winding and bumpy ride traversing ridges, earthen planes and sprawling metropolises, the threat of wayward bovine herds nonchalantly wandering down busy highways was a very real one. Forts, medieval walls and minarets sprung up out of the scrubland and stood dauntingly atop steep hills, dominating the skyline and presiding over the fields below. After stopping at Windsor Castle, the hotel at which we were staying, we again set off with the promise of caves and a very familiar building.

Set high in the hills, the monolith at the Ellora caves is truly a marvel of human dedication and determination. Created without modern machinery–just centuries of toil, architects, artisans and labourers–the magnificent rock structure emerges from the mountainside, adorned with images of deities, elephants, histories and stories. The other caves hosted a mixture of Buddhist and Hindu imagery, including an enormous effigy of Buddha with his usual peaceful countenance.

RBI Mountains Enhanced-300x224On the journey back, the bus driver pulled over to an isolated shop touting a frenzy of coloured marvels. With considerable excitement, we descended on a small fabric shop where haggled for and eventually purchased 10 pillowcases adorned with camels, elephants and landmarks, 5 scarves and a sari.

When we arrived back in the town of Aurangabad, we were taken to the, perhaps unfairly dubbed, ‘mini Taj Mahal.’ The real name is the Bibi Ka Maqbara and, in honesty, it is a rather impressive spectacle. It certainly scores highly on architectural marvel, but low on originality given the fact the actual Taj Mahal was built by his father some 40-50 years earlier.

That night, a brief respite from a heavily curry-based diet was granted by the kind chefs of the Windor Castle. Previously the only non-Indian food we had had was an enormous steak, lamb and chicken combination from the madhouse grill. After dinner, we enjoyed a fairly subdued night of card playing.

The next morning, three of our group were struck down with a mysterious illness, but they managed to rally for a second day of exploring caves, roads and monkeys. The Ajanta caves were discovered by a group of British soldiers who were on an excursion to hunt tigers. They came across a series of caves carved out of a horseshoe shaped hill. Built over two thousand years ago by Buddhists before the religion mysteriously left India to be replaced by Hinduism. Our group explored the valley and the wonders that lay within. The caves were a rich depiction full of colours and images of Buddha and his life including his many reincarnations.

Monkeys seem to be scattered fairly liberally around cave and religious sites. They look friendly from a distance but–as it transpires–they are mostly just thieves.

Reserve Bank of India – First Week

Arriving in Pune, the first cultural difference to hit you is the impossibility of crossing a street. Returning to our new home at the College of Agricultural Banking in Pune after standing as naïve westerners on the pavement for half an hour, we realized we were far from the comforts of working traffic lights, orderly queuing and unnecessary apologies. We were immediately thrown into research on financial inclusion, micro-enterprises, foreign exchange and currency management; receiving lectures from experts within the faculty. Our first week has involved experimental yoga classes, new insights into the Indian banking sector and curry for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We were also given the privilege of attending a field trip along with faculty members of the college.

‘There are five principles of humanity; pure thought, pure action, strength of character, sacrifice and humility’

These were the words spoken to us by Anna Hazare, an Indian social activist who led movements to promote rural development and increase government transparency. He is considered the ‘new Gandhi’ and is regarded as a national hero, who has transformed Ralegan Sindhi (the village of liquor) to Ralegan Siddhi (a village who has achieved its goal). A sole survivor of a Pakistani assault, which killed all his comrades, he returned to his home village dedicated to devoting his life to social reform and engaged in projects to conserve water, stockpile grain, develop new dairies, plant trees, end caste divisions and build schools and training institutes. It was almost overwhelming to witness the constant stream of villagers flocking to the temple to kiss his feet and pay respect.  Yet Mr. Hazare has his critics. As interns, before attending the field trip we engaged in the standard Wikipedia search of Anna Hazare to find some drastic policies on the flogging of village drunkards. As Newcastle students partial to the odd treble, the idea of a public thrashing for being caught in Sinners appealed to none of us, and it was tempting to disregard him as an authoritative extremist who used fear and intimidation. Yet on meeting Mr. Hazare, you cannot deny the economic transformation he has achieved in what once was one of the poorest villages in Maharashtra filled with hopelessness, illiteracy and alcoholism. He sincerely regards the entire village as his family stating that although he has ‘forfeited a family’ by devoting his life to the village and his work, ‘he has gained an even bigger one’ considering the villagers as his own children. Mr. Hazare’s methods may not work in Western society; however, his achievements in Ralegan Siddhi include increasing literacy rates to 100% in the village and raising per capita income of the villagers from Rs. 225 to Rs. 2500. One principle he does share with Westerners is that you must ‘lead by example.’ At the beginning of his journey to achieve social reform, the village was unsanitary, and people would defecate in the streets for lack of infrastructure. Every day Mr. Hazare would clean the streets until others began to join him and eventually worship him.

Our field trip also took us to meet five self-help groups working with an NGO to help provide financial support and growth for the community. We were welcomed with coconuts and told about the benefits of the group in teaching the women new skills such as making incense sticks, which provides wages. The group has proved essential in times of need such as when one of the member’s daughters fell ill and had to pay 10,000Rs for treatment. The mother was able to take a loan from the group immediately with a 2% interest rate. A bank is unlikely to issue such a small loan and a money lender would have provided the loan at a much higher interest rate, making the self-help group undeniably beneficial. We were also given the opportunity to visit one of the only successful co-operative banks in India, The Ahmednagar District Central Co-operative Bank. Welcomed with roses, tea and our own plate of biscuits, we discussed the performance report and learned that establishing trust with your customers is one of the key components to success in co-operative banking.

Overall, we have had a great first week and look forward to future challenges, experiences and rickshaw rides in the next five weeks.

Alexis Chin, Sydney Internship

Sydney_SkyDivingInterned in Finance, Editing, and Film with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Spring 2013

Internship: I worked at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (or The ABC) which is the only public, national broadcasting network in Australia. For my internship, I moved around the company every week, shifting from one department to another in order to gauge a better understanding of the company as a whole. I worked with the financial department, looking over various reports and accounts; with news editing, where I assisted in editing raw news stories using a software editing program Aurora; and with the news field crew, where I went out on location to report various breaking news. I also assisted with camera operation for television shows, with ABC Radio, with Master Control (the central unit of the company responsible for putting shows on air etc), with Promos where I helped create various short videos to advertise television broadcasts, and with setting up cameras and lighting for interviews.

I Learned: I had never been employed at such a large national corporation before, so getting to be a part of it was mind-blowing! It was great observing how each department carried out their separate tasks and then brought them all together to produce the final output for television and radio.

In terms of Sydney itself, before arriving there, I never realized what a cosmopolitan city it really was! There are so many cultures and ethnicities that make up the bustling city, and the people all manage to live their daily lives in such harmony. I learned that Sydney is not just about the Opera House and the beaches. There is so much history behind it starting from the very first settlement with the Aboriginals to hosting the Olympics!

Comparing/Contrasting My Work Experiences: The approach to work is a lot more relaxed in Australia, but work still gets done efficiently and on time. The dress code is also a lot more casual.

Australians have a strong belief in the equality of people regardless of job ranking. Their attitude towards interns was very new and refreshing to experience. They give you way more responsibility in the workplace rather than just using you to fetch coffee. As a result, they make you feel like an important asset to the company. Australians always make time to laugh and chat. They are extremely friendly and want to know what you want to do rather than just dishing out work to you. Another important fact: Morning and Afternoon Tea are mandatory for the Aussies!!! Make sure you sign up for gym membership with all the cookies and Tim Tams you’ll be eating!

Hardest Part: I honestly don’t have anything to say for this. I had the most amazing experience of my life and worked with some of the friendliest and most welcoming people! I would return in a heartbeat!

Best Part: Getting the opportunity to be in studio and actually use one of the cameras on set to film a t.v. show, despite my lack of experience, was probably the most fulfilling and career-changing experience for me. Also, meeting Jason Mraz as ‘part of the job’ was just another one of those unexplainable, unbelievable experiences that I still can’t believe happened.  Meeting new people from fellow co-workers to backpackers and hearing their life stories was always exciting. Each new person I met gave me the inspiration to want to see more of the world. Furthermore, being in Sydney gave me the opportunity to travel in and out of Australia to see some of the most breathtaking places I will ever see in my life. From Melbourne to Adelaide to the Great Barrier Reef, Port Stevens, the Blue Mountains, Auckland, Queenstown and Fiji, I definitely had the most action-packed semester of my life!

It would also be remiss of me if I did not mention the amazing Aussie cuisine. Meat pies are awesome. Make sure you try a Tiger Pie! You will also become a coffee connoisseur with the 5,000 types of coffee they have available.  Lastly, I must say that being in Australia has turned me into a complete adrenaline junkie. From scuba diving to sky diving to climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge to cage diving with Great White Sharks, there are so many opportunities to get your adrenaline pumping, and each experience just kept getting better and better!

Simon You, Dublin Internship Program

Interned in the venture capital field, Spring 2013

I Learned: I learned that it’s pretty difficult to break into venture, so working at a venture capital firm abroad really increased my understanding of how that industry worked. I also learned more about the country of Ireland and its amazing culture.

Comparing/Contrasting My Work Experiences: One difference was that the businesses in Ireland had more casual hours; they also have a big tea culture. Other than that and their cool accents, I found the businesses to be rather similar.

Hardest Part: The hardest part of my experience was getting adjusted in the beginning of the program. I didn’t know many people, but that soon changed as the classes and field trips started.

Best Part: The best part of my experience was the traveling. Ireland’s a small island, so I got to see a lot. I traveled to Northern Ireland, Southern Ireland, and Western Ireland.

Brent Donenfeld, London Internship Program–Management Track

Interned as a Governance and Control Analyst at Barclays, Spring 2013

I Learned: From my experience at Barclays, I learned to deal with cultural barriers that exist in diverse workplaces and grew to find cultural differences as competitive advantages.  Additionally, I learned to balance a myriad of professional commitments, as I was enrolled in studies, traveling around Europe and working nearly full-time.

Comparing/Contrasting My Work Experiences: The major difference that I noticed while working abroad was the large amount of diversity that existed in the workplace. I worked with people of different ethnicities, professional backgrounds, and countries of origin which really enhanced my learning experience in the workplace.

Hardest Part: Overcoming cultural differences that existed between the US and UK office place.

Best Part: Meeting life-long friends, traveling around Europe, and refining my professional interests as I look to enter the full-time job market.

Will Maness, London Internship Program–Management Track

Internship doing investment banking for J.P. Morgan’s European, African and Middle Eastern Rates Product Marketing Middle Office, Spring 2013

I Learned: Working at J.P. Morgan and living in London taught me how impactful cultural differences are upon behavior.  I also learned how valuable cultural diversity can be in the work place, especially in Europe.

Comparing/Contrasting My Work Experiences: In my experience, the work place environment in London is more diverse and inviting than similar institutions in the States.  Nevertheless, having worked at this multinational corporation, it was easy to see that the management and tasks were more or less consistent globally.

Hardest and Best Parts: My hardest experience at J.P. Morgan was presenting the culmination of my research and reporting to the New York office. Setting up and executing a meeting with people of significant authority as an intern is a daunting task but also an incredibly gratifying one.  This small success of mine, and the celebration of my leaving with wonderful and supportive co-workers made interning at J.P. Morgan a wonderful experience.


Erica Kurtzman, London Internship Program–Management Track

Internship doing executive recruiting for the finance industry, Spring 2012

I Learned: I learned how to travel. It may seem silly, but when you are on your own in a new city or cities without your parents, it takes trial and error to learn how to make the most of the short time you have in any one location.  Each city has its own unique offerings and I enjoyed learning how to dive into the attractions, arts, and especially cuisine of each one I visited.

I also learned how to manage work and fun.  Although this has been the challenge of my whole college career, studying abroad escalated this.  I knew I only had four months to cram as much of London and the rest of Europe into my Facebook albums, but sometimes I had to stop and remember I was still “studying” abroad.  I  learned when it was time for a new adventure in London and when I had to still write that paper.

Comparing/Contrasting My Work Experiences: My office in London was a lot more relaxed than an office in America.  They were more lenient about lunch breaks and the office was a lot more social.  They often side-tracked and talked about outside work during the work day.  My current office still goes out for happy hour, but we save social interactions for outside work hours. I have not decided if the “European way” is more or less productive, but it is definitely different.

Hardest Part: Never being settled.  Although I loved my dorm and friends, I was constantly packing, unpacking, traveling and doing something new.  I would not change that if I did the program again, but it was hard sometimes never having a week or two of doing “nothing.”

Best Part: London was and always will be the best part of my study abroad in London.  I loved traveling to new cities, but I absolutely fell in love with London while I was there.  The sheer number of attractions there are to take advantage, paired with the culture and history of the city make it the best part of my study abroad.  I still feel that I need to go back just to appreciate the city itself again.

Emmily Hu, London Internship Program—Management Track

Intern in Finance at Venn Group, Spring 2012

Internship: Billings & Account Management and Credit Control Intern at Venn Group (www.venngroup.com)

 I Learned: Concentrating in Accounting and Finance at SMG, I never thought about taking a class on the E.U. All that ever mattered was the American government. Learning about another system really opened my eyes to methods other than “the American way” (similarities, differences, pros and cons, etc). Also, the class trip to Brussels was an amazing experience that introduced me to the E.U facilities and allowed me to listen to first hand accounts on what working in the E.U is like.

Additionally, working with British locals, allowed me to experience the different methods they use to carry out what may be the same tasks as in the States and to get a sense of what they consider humor. (They can be very blunt sometimes. I learned to not take anything too personally or offensively.) Working with the Brits was a blast. (Believe it or not, I started to pick up the British accent!)

Comparing/Contrasting My Work Experiences: The Brits like to take their time and check things over and over again. I feel like when Americans are given tasks, we would like to finish it as quickly as possible, get things done, then move on to whatever comes next. Also, the technology where I worked was not as fast as I experience in the States. (I once had to wait a good ten minutes for a program to start up, only to have it freeze in the middle and have to restart my computer.)

Another thing which I noticed at the office where I interned was the level of friendliness. Everyone was very comfortable with each other and top level managers were not hard to reach or “scary” at all. I met the CEO of the company my first day there, and the CFO sat at his desk 10 feet from where I sat. If someone had a question, he/she would simply ask the question out loud and whoever had the answer would just shout out the answer.

Another unique aspect was the amount of motivation provided by higher level managers to the employees. The last Friday of every month a party would be thrown from 3 to 5pm at the office. At each party, there would be a competition between four groups of employees put together randomly. One competition, which I judged, required each team to invent a mobile device from everyday household items. Whichever team created a device that could travel furthest across the office floor won a free lunch with our CFO and 50 Vennture points, company points that could be redeemed for prizes – movie tickets, weekend trips, etc. Although everyone was very competitive (they bribed me with sweets and coffee), people laughed and mingled throughout the party, which included free cheese and crackers and champagne. Where in the States can you find something like that happening?

Hardest Part: Being so far away from home for such a long period of time. At the beginning, I would listen to my roommates complain about how homesick they were, and I would not understand why they would want to go home when they just got to London. By my 3rd month there, I couldn’t wait to come back to the States. Although I Skyped with my family once a week, I still missed them greatly. I still do not regret going abroad for a semester. It was an experience of a lifetime!

Best Part: Getting a chance to explore not only London but also some of the amazing cities in neighboring countries as well. I traveled to Brussels in Belgium, Paris in France, Barcelona in Spain, and Rome, Florence, and Pisa in Italy. Seeing and experiencing the different cultures and historical aspects in all locations was priceless. Going to all these places while studying abroad was only a taste. It made me promise myself that I would definitely go back to experience all the other things which I did not have a chance to due to time limitations.

Tianfeng Sun, London Internship Program—Econ & Finance Track

This is how, where and when you fall in love with London.

Intern in Finance at Omerta Group, Summer 2012

Internship: In London, I did my internship in the Omerta Group. As an intern, I had several tasks during my tenure including researching candidates, looking up information online and on Bloomberg, answering phones, creating organizational charts, attending candidate meetings and assisting with projects.

I Learned: The first of the two important things I learned from studying abroad is that being humorous is very important in the office, at least in the company that I worked for. Seriously, you should occasionally tell jokes to make people laugh in the office; otherwise, your co-workers will get mad at you. (No, that’s not true, just kidding.) The second thing I learned from work is that initiative and creativity are more important than I thought. Before I did the internship, I thought that as an intern, I just needed to listen to my boss and do my jobs as directed. The truth proved that it was a very wrong assumption. The projects my boss asked me to do required a lot of my imagination. For example, one project was to organize foreign exchange candidates. Since there weren’t pre-established models to analyze the data, my boss asked me to create some straightforward and effective templates that were useful for foreign exchange candidates.

Comparing/Contrasting to Other Work Experiences: I used to work for a real estate company in China and the biggest difference between these two companies was the environment of the office. There was less tension in the English office. In contrast, the staff had more restrictions and rules in the office in China.

Hardest Part: The hardest part of my experience was holding conversations with people from different backgrounds.

Best Part: The best part of my experience was having a drink with my co-workers after work and talking about everyone’s stories. In the end, it is really awesome to walk on a central London Street with a hot Shiwama in your hand at midnight. You have to try it once!