My Summer at CFA Institute
Tell us about yourself.
I’m from in Rye, NY, and am a rising junior at Princeton University where I am majoring in Economics and minoring in Chinese. Last summer I worked at Merrill Lynch and have been really happy to apply the skills and knowledge I learned there to the work I’ve done these past ten weeks!
Describe your typical day at the office.
I usually get in around 8am and leave around 5pm. On my way into the office I’m checking most of the major news outlets to see what’s happened over night, and at my desk the first thing I’ll do see if there’s anything in the queue – comments and/ or articles – for the Inside Investing blog. Aside from that, no two days have really been the same. I split my time among three areas: immediate projects for my managers Will Ortel and Bob Stammers like doing research for conferences or interviews, editing the weekly podcast or reading reports and articles we get from contributors, and longer-term projects like a comparative analysis of various nations’ pension schemes or presentations for upcoming conferences. Also, don’t forget writing! I love to write and by nature of this internship, in addition to doing a lot of research and reading, have actually had the opportunity to be published myself!
What’s your favorite regular part of being the Investor Education intern at CFA Institute?
I’d say that my favorite part about being the Investor Education intern has been the broad nature of the ‘Investor Education’ label. I’ve done projects and research on everything from long-term care insurance to neuroeconomics to municipal bonds to bitcoin. I’ve gotten to learn a lot about a lot which is something that made this internship exciting every day.
What was the highlight of your time here?
One of our chief goals this summer was to expand the Inside Investing blog in all capacities: more contributors, more articles, more readership, and so on, which is no easy feat! Probably one of the most rewarding experiences during my time here has been those moments when you can see that what we’ve put out there is having a real impact and making lasting impressions on people. Whether it’s a comment on an article, seeing a post syndicated, or having a great interview, it’s exciting to watch other people enjoy what you’ve put out there as much as we enjoyed producing it!
Perhaps, the other highlight of my summer was being published myself. I really loved doing the research for each piece and learned so much about the process of taking a few abstract thoughts on paper to a final, finished product. My favorite piece was entitled ‘Are Municipal Bonds Still a Safe Investment?’ with a focus on Detroit, and barely a week later, Detroit declared bankruptcy!
Is there anything you wish you knew before beginning your internship?
I wish I had known more of the history of CFA Institute. When I was applying for the position, I was most familiar with the CFA exam. What I didn’t know was the long history of the organization itself. CFA Institute was founded in 1947 on the heels of the Progressive economists who sought to professionalize the financial services industry and has advocated for more ethical, standardized markets since. It seems like only very recently there was this ‘new’ focus on financial regulation and ethics when in fact it’s been part of CFA Institute’s mission since inception. I think that’s pretty cool and wish more people knew that! For a more comprehensive history, check out this video. I didn’t see this video until training but it’s great!
What advice would you give to those seeking an internship at CFA Institute in the future?
I would say to ask as many questions as possible. There are so many different arms to this organization and so many smart people here that if you didn’t take the time to learn from them, you’d be missing a really valuable opportunity. Although I was the Investor Education intern, I did work on a number of projects outside my department and learned completely different things by doing so than I would have had I just followed the guidelines of the original job description.
Do you want to get your CFA Charter more than when you started, or less?
Definitely more! I was interested in the material covered on the exam before interning at CFA Institute and already familiar with the CFA Charter. What I hadn’t realized was the scope of CFA Institute globally and the huge international network it offers! Especially since I’m thinking about pursuing a career overseas, I think the CFA Charter would be an invaluable asset.
What do you want to do next?
Probably the best part of this internship has been the opportunity to combine my interest in finance with my passion for writing and publishing! I’m not 100% sure what I want to do next but hopefully something that will let me simultaneously pursue these interests.
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