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What kinds of extra curricular activities and/or jobs or internships do you recommend I get while in college to best prepare for a career in investment management?

I want to be sure that I'm doing everything I can in college to make sure I get a job right after graduation. What are some things I should be aware of and prepare for to be sure I don't fall behind the competition? #college #finance #internships #financial-services #investment-management #investing

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Cheryl’s Answer

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Great question! Employers ultimately want to see that you have used your time in college wisely by participating in internships relevant to your desired career choice, and gaining proficiency in skills or programs that will help you in your career.


When I receive resumes from college grads, I look at their GPA and what types of internships they held. Did they accomplish a certain project during the internship and have specific examples of what they worked on? Did they go above and beyond to become certified in certain skills like participate in workshops or seminars while in school or learn a specific program like excel or Bloomberg training? I like to see that besides school, they were involved in clubs or internships that show they are passionate about finance and investment. Holding an officer position in one the clubs looks great because it shows leadership and commitment rather than just being a member. I also like to see an applicant has experience working well on a team, and can mention specific examples of group projects they worked on.


I would also recommend utilizing your college's career center and try to set up interviews while you are still in school. You cannot wait until after graduation to get into the recruiting process because it will be too late. Typically companies will start to come to college's to hold career fairs in the fall. When you are a sophmore and junior in college your goal should be to land internships out of these career fairs. You should come prepared with your resume and be prepared to talk about why the company should hire you. Collect business cards and make sure to follow up via email to thank them for meeting with you at the career fair, and express interest in an internship.


Once you are a senior, you might want to continue on with one of the companies you interned with, should you receive an offer for employment after graduation, or you may need to participate in the recruiting process once again. Companies often come to college campuses to meet with seniors at career fairs and schedule interviews with students they feel will fit what they are looking for. You may even be able to schedule an on campus interview if you're lucky. The interview process is different for each company, but typically consists of many rounds where you will meet with different sets of people each time. I recommend interviewing for as many positions as you can handle, because in the beginning they are not only interviewing you, but you are interviewing and gathering information on the company to make sure the job will be the right fit for you.


In the end, it is competitive to receive an offer from a financial firm, but as long as you are prepared and passionate about the industry you should at least be able to get your foot in the door. Good luck and please let me know if you have further questions.

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Ron’s Answer

Michael, the first thing I would be doing is getting a job, any job, where you need to utilize your talents to sell a product or service of some type. This is where you will hone your skills to be successful. This is the time where you can make mistakes and learn from them and they will not be so costly. I would challenge you to have people you respect to come and observe your performance and critique your work. Besides this type of work, please get into public speaking classes and debate or speech clubs that will mold you into a very articulate, well prepared, well versed and knowlegible presenter that can garner the attention of anyone that is listening to you. These couple of things will give you a huge advantage over others coming out into the job market place.
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Chuck’s Answer

First check out if there is an investment management group at your college. A number of them have actual money that they invest so if you can join them you will learn, make connections and show your interest to a potential employer.

Second as has been mentioned check out the career center for internships. Sell-side firms such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are major players but there are probably 40-50 firms (and maybe more) that you could check out. There are hundreds of buy-side firms (companies that actually invest money) so research them especially if you need somewhere geographic for a summer job. Then there are venture and buy-out firms that may take on summer interns but a lot of those jobs will probably go to business school students between their first and second years.

The career center or another organization may be able to help you find alums in the business so contact them.

There are also a lot of FinTech (Financial Technology) companies. The industry is going through a huge transition with the sell-side and buy-side firms I mentioned trying to find there way. Going to a company that is disruptive (also think BlockChain and not BitCoin) could be very worthwhile.

If you feel that you know enough about a stock or company think about writing and submitting articles to Seeking Alpha. Anyone can submit and they go through an editor. That demonstrates your analytical thought process but if you go down that path read a number of them (you can read some of mine or what I write on Forbes.com) to get a feeling. If you do make them lengthy as you will want to have substance to them.
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Alexandra’s Answer

Hi Michael

Internships and volunteering activities are quite good. They give you experience, show recruiters that you are dynamic and interested in the business world and the community and also allow you to know better what the job is about and if you actually want to pursue that kind of career.

In terms of getting a job, I believe interview practice is key. You need to practice as much as you can and try to remember the questions you get so you can think about them at home after the interview.
When I was looking for my first job, I would have lists of questions and answers that I would look at to prepare an interview.

You might want to think about what you learned in internships and various activities that could be useful for the job you are looking for, as well as your strengths and weaknesses.

You also need to research the companies you are looking for. Interviewers will want to know why you are interested in their company rather than others and if you actually know what the company does and how they are performing against competitors.

Good luck!
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