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The Internship That Wasn’t

November 18, 2013

I’m not sure I know what a normal internship is… I’d heard stories from older friends who spent their New York summers getting coffee for the office, sitting around for hours on end waiting for busy work, and for their boss to leave so they could too. During my Bloomberg “internship,” I was constantly surrounded by close friends while learning financial concepts from colleagues with decades of experience. I strengthened my presentation skills, fostered new relationships, and soon forgot the meaning of “busy work” in favor of something called a “work-life balance” – seem strange yet? It gets weirder… I spent ten weeks working for one of the most dynamic, successful and innovative tech companies in the world, all the while living and enjoying everything New York City has to offer. But (there’s always a “but”) it really hasn’t ended.

I spent the first few weeks of my summer scratching the surface of the equity, fixed income, foreign exchange, and commodities markets. Many of my fellow interns weren’t business majors in college and I quickly realized that intelligent, resourceful liberal arts majors with a strong desire to develop new knowledge could tackle the same, seemingly difficult, concepts and emerge unscathed. Plus, I was learning all of this in the context of its application on the Bloomberg terminal, the dominant resource for financial information and a tool used by over 300,000 finance professionals world-wide… no textbooks needed. I had two mentors throughout the summer who helped me reinforce certain concepts and prepare for presentations in front of management and my peers. I was then aligned with a Sales team where I learned the ins and outs of prospecting, analyzing client trends, proactively sustaining client relationships, and visiting many clients in person (yes, as an intern). I worked with colleagues who didn’t hesitate to capitalize on my potential as a valuable contributor to the team and to our bottom line. My work directly resulted in new business for the firm, both during and even after my internship, including some new Bloomberg terminals.

GETTING TO WORK: Peter Townsend, David Barry, Zayan Pereborow, Eric Schwartz, Margaret Eldred, Maureen McMahon, Jonathan Dubin are part of Bloomberg’s crack team of analytics specialists available to answer questions from clients worldwide.

On one of my first sales visits, my mentor and I headed to a large, sell-side firm to do some new hire trainings. We arrived at the office and I was soon introduced as “my colleague, Eric” rather than as “my intern” or “what’s your name again?” I was excited to see how my mentor tackled the trading floor and somewhat anxious about my own knowledge level, having just been introduced as an equal. Naturally, the new hires were nowhere to be found and my mentor was quickly pulled into an upper-level account discussion, leaving me to fend for myself amidst the cacophony of high-intensity trading activity. Without even the chance to feel nervous, I was quickly summoned to traders’ desks for this issue or that issue, clarification on one thing, and questions about another. Unsurprisingly, my training provided me both with the basic market knowledge to respond with solutions as well as with the problem solving skills to be confident in my interactions. I was able to assist some of our clients right then and there while for some others, I promised to get back to them once I had the chance to research further. I’m still not sure if my mentor knew I’d be left to my own devices, but she trusted me to represent her and company… I was just happy to still be in one piece.

Here’s a relevant disclaimer: I turned my internship into a full-time job and had the privilege of working with our interns this summer. I’ve seen what happens behind the curtain and I like what I’ve found – who says that learning has to stop when you step outside the classroom? Why should you work in the most incredible city on Earth and not get a chance to enjoy it? I have the time to take full advantage of New York’s robust restaurant scene, museums, bars, and festivals, often with co-workers. As a full-time employee, I’m still surrounded by incredibly close friends and my appetite for new knowledge, skills, and personal growth remains insatiable. Who knows, maybe I’m still an intern, or perhaps I never really was one in the first place… that concept remains a mystery.

Contributed by Eric Schwartz, former intern and full-time Analytics Specialist.

You can apply for full-time positions in Financial Product Sales & Analytics in New York.

You can also apply to become a summer intern in Financial Product Sales & Analytics next summer in New York.