Finding Success Amidst Uncertainty: An Intern's Reflection
First Day Jitters
I walk into a massive building lined with glass on Lexington Avenue, New York City. I arrive 30 minutes early, dressed in business casual, hoping to be able to make a good impression. The revolving doors take me around to a big beautiful lobby with security waiting at the front desk to check me in. Extremely nervous and intimidated, I walk up shyly and ask to be helped. After calling upstairs, I was told to go eat breakfast and come back when it's time. Slightly deflated, I go to a coffee shop nearby and wait there. Losing track of time, I arrive back 2 minutes late after all the other interns have gone in. With thoughts racing through my head about how I’ve already failed, I walk up to sectioned off elevators, with touchscreens instead of buttons. Walking off the elevator and into the office, I realized how established and successful the company seems, perhaps even too much for me. After being collected by my boss with a big smile and brought to the room with all the other interns, I settled and finally began to relax.
Background and Responsibilities
Unfortunately, this lack of confidence and feeling out of place preceding big opportunities was familiar, and I would experience it several more times. Eight weeks later, however, I completed my first internship at GoldenTree Asset Management and feel more confident than ever about my professional skills and development. The internship was provided by EWAAB’s Summer 2021 Professional Program, and I was the intern for the Human Resources and Legal and Compliance departments. Working for multiple people in two departments took a lot of time management and communication. For human resources, I was managing the other interns' progress. This involved organizing their involvement in group seminars and helping them with any issues or questions. I also assisted human resources with their daily tasks for company employees. For legal and compliance, I completed several projects, performing multiple reviews and cross-checking necessary approvals required by employees for things such as: personal trading statements, political donations, investors, brokers, allocations, etc. As a physics major interested in mathematics and astrophysics, I wasn’t sure what to expect from an internship at a finance company and how my skills could be utilized best there. In spite of this, I wanted to approach this opportunity with an open mind and see where it led me.
This work was outside of my comfort zone and yet I was surprised how frequently I was able to utilize my experience. The first surprise came when I realized I could utilize a lot of the skills I obtained outside of academics and physics. Communicating with others, prioritizing tasks, and a good work ethic are things that I have learned from the many restaurant jobs I’ve had in the past and served me well at GoldenTree. In an internship, it’s important to be open with your mentors and communicate expected deadlines, progress, and any questions you may have about an assignment. Everybody there should be aware that you are an intern and have little experience in the field and most likely to help you succeed in any way they can, they just have to know what you need in order to be your best. Be open, communicative, and honest in all interactions!
One of the skills that I developed while at GoldenTree that I had not anticipated came from networking with established professionals. About once a week or so, a speaker from the company would come talk to the interns about their job and professional experience. I made sure each session to stay engaged, ask questions, and follow up with the speakers. This, and making sure to establish good relations with my bosses led to me developing over 10 connections throughout my 8 weeks. I was taught how to best communicate in meetings, over emails, and in calls in order to get the most out of every conversation.
There’s a lot more to your first internship than making sure it's in your desired industry and learning everything there is to know about your tasks and company. Sure, perfecting your excel skills and learning specifics about your internship sector, such as securities and hedge funds in finance, are extremely important and useful, but there are so many other opportunities to gain and develop essential skills. The most useful lesson I learned at GoldenTree is that no one takes a straight and planned path to success with perfect execution. Everyone goes through moments of uncertainty, doubt, and failures – even the most successful people you idolize. What’s important is that you approach the uncertainty with an open mind, compensate for any doubts by being prepared, and reflect on successes and failures, always looking at how you can improve for the next time. What’s most important is that you take every opportunity that comes your way and try be the best version of yourself. People will notice, and you’d be surprised how uncertainties may bring on the best experiences of your life.
EWAAB collaborated with GoldenTree Asset Management for its first ever Summer Professional Program. If you are interested in joining one of EWAAB's programs as a student click here. If you're interested in hosting one of EWAAB's students as interns click here.
Lidia Haraszti is a third year Physics Major at Stevens Institute of Technology. She is specifically interested in Pure and Applied Mathematics and Astronomy. She is passionate about studying the big unknowns in astrophysics and helping others in her communities any way she can. She is an ANY Fellow and involved in leadership positions in Sigma Delta Tau | Delta Nu. In her free time, she likes to read, paint, and enjoy outdoors with friends.