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What is some advice you would give to a high schooler trying to get into the business and finance world?

I'm currently a sophomore in high school with plans to double major in economics and finance. I'm actively looking for internships and job opportunities that can help me gain some real-world experience before college. #business #finance #entrepreneur #internship #networking

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Matt’s Answer

Hi Rasya, when I was in high-school, I had the opportunity to intern at a local community bank, specifically in the area of small business lending. I found this experience to be invaluable as I was exposed to lots of different people at the firm (bankers, accountants, loan underwriters) and also so many interesting business leaders + owners in the community. In my opinion, the knowledge you gain from understanding how small business lending works in your community will set you up extremely well for the coursework you'll take in college. Even if you don't intend on working at a bank, the experience can open your eyes to what it's like to work as an entrepreneur, sales person and even understanding how economists think. Hope this helps and best of luck.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! I'll definitely try looking for some internships at local banks. Rasya
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Anand’s Answer

Great question! I graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in Economics and Business. I am now a Software Engineer at Twilio. I wanted to give you two pieces of advice:

1. Try and learn new things outside of business and finance. Business is broad, and it's a discipline that I believe is best learned on the job. A lot of what you learn in school is theoretical. I strongly believe specializing and developing skills outside of business and finance can help set you apart. Before I transferred to engineering I was heavily involved on the business side, and that experience has helped me become a better engineer. The converse is also true! By learning new skills that you are interested in, outside of business and finance, it can help you on the business side as well!

2. More broadly, your career aspirations will probably change. It is likely that you will have multiple careers in sectors that you didn't imagine you would be interested in while in college. :)

Best of luck!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! Rasya
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Conrad’s Answer

Hello Rasya, hope you and family are doing well. I did economics/finance in undergrad and master in business and administration, excited to know you want to enter this world as well!

1) **** GOOD GRADES!****
Since you are in still high school, you have a lot of time, and first, don't forget to focus on the basics: try to be a very good student and get amazing grades in general and even better grades in quantitative classes, for example math, physics. This will bring you a lot of benefits in the future.

2) ****READ****
Try to start reading more about finance & economics in newspapers. You can read from multiple sources, one I love is THE ECONOMIST. I think you can have at least 5 free articles a month, and perhaps there is a free student membership?

3) ****VOLUNTEER****
It is not easy to find a finance internship right away in high school, but love that you are trying, so as Matt said, contact local banks and other finance companies. BUT ALSO, seek volunteering opportunities in which you can help in areas related to finance. I am sure you may already have ideas in mind, but FOR EXAMPLE:
- How about help fundraise to specific non profit organizations you relate to their mission (even to your school or local community)? You can understand their budget and help get them raise money creating them a website, etc. Or there might be other opportunities to help their accounting team, contact those entities and see if they need help, normally they do! Dont be shy, e-mail and call them directly. Also, see if you know someone that knows someone there for you to chat and get advise.
- At your school you may also find interesting things, are there finance teachers who may need help do specific type of research or help grade exams?
- And to be honest, even if your volunteering work is not related to finance and economics, it will also help you A LOT get an internship, you will show you are a great citizen that worries about other people and not just think about other people, but invest your time frequently to solve society problems!!!!

4)**** Your own business****
How about thinking about ways you can make a bit of money? It foes not need to be a lot, but the experience can be very valuable. When I was 8 years old I learned to do a cake with my mom and I would sell to my neighbors. You are already in high school, are there things that people want and you can help?

Hope some of this is helpful and looking forward to seeing your name in the news soon when you become a finance/economics guru!!! :)








Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for the advice! It's nice to see that someone has successfully accomplished the education path I want to take. Everyone keeps telling me it's going to be difficult, but what's life without a few challenges :) Rasya
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Mark’s Answer

I would start to research internships now that will be relevant for you in the coming years so that you can begin to explore and learn. It would also be helpful for you to subscribe to as many publications as possible in the field that you are looking to embark on so that you can gain as much knowledge as possible in order to differentiate yourself for when the time comes. There are free publications out there as well as paid subscriptions that can help.

You should also work with your high school and any other affiliated organizations to see what they recommend for the fields you are interested in. There are likely some "clubs" or extra curricular programs that will serve you well now and in the future. The good news is that the business and finance world is broad and there are so many job that you can take on even as an apprentice right now as a high school student that will lend well your goal here.

Finally you should consider volunteer work in this field. While we all want to be paid for our services, this is a meaningful way to learn and expand your skill set while giving back to society at large. I respect your eagerness to get started.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! Rasya
Thank you comment icon Anytime and Good Luck to you! Mark Tina - M.B.A.
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Yousuf’s Answer

Rasya!

All of the answers mentioned above are amazing suggestions, and I believe you must inculcate in your life. However, I 'll add a few things in my opinion that might help you.

1. Specific to business
Explore the world of business. How? Go start reading the most unconventional and authentic sources of knowledge (reports, articles, books). Mckinsey, financial times, Bloomberg, economist, world bank, world economic forum, etc. Moreover, read case studies and try to come with your own solutions to it, and then discuss your solutions with any expert you find in the field. Volunteer, and intern in dynamic roles and industries. That way you will be able to understand the business more. Last but not the least, start your own venture. If you fail, you will learn a lot. If you succeed then great Job!

2. Specific to finance
Reading still stays there. Learn financial skills such as creating financial statements, creating cashflow predictions. Learn about financial terms, such as beta, NPV, ROI, ROE, debt-equity and their ratios. Once you learn them, apply them to your daily money management. Create financial plans for any new business ideas. Learn about the stock market and maybe try investing in a few just for the sake of learning.
Know that finance is not like accounting, in fact it's a language of business.

Hope this helps!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much!! Rasya
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Frederick’s Answer

My quick answer is this....I have a 4 year college degree and by far the two most important classes I ever took...were TYPING in high school and PUBLIC SPEAKING in college. When I went to college I was about the only person I knew that actually typed the correct way and it helps when you have to write papers and obviously helps me everyday as my job as a banker. And I was shy and so afraid to stand in front of a crowd and speak so I forced myself to take public speaking in college. And believe me, that has helped me immensely. I am able to be a speaker at any event using the skills and practice I learned in that class. In the world of finance being well spoken and being able to speak in front of a crowd is essential. Good luck!
Thank you comment icon Thank you!! Rasya
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Richard’s Answer

Read everything! Corporate strategy, news, etc. the best thing about finance is virtually no knowledge will be wasted; anything could potentially give you an edge. Try the economist maganize, Damodoran's blog, and history/finance/macro books for a start.
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Rasya
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Katrina’s Answer

Hi Rasya,

It is wonderful that you're already thinking about opportunities to set yourself up for success in college and beyond. I would recommend that you look into internships that could give you some experience in data analysis and working closely with customers. When it comes to data analysis, I would focus on any resources you might find that could help you practice working with the different tools. Many finance careers require employees to have knowledge of the different programs that can be used to visualize and work with large quantities of data, and if you're already somewhat familiar with this it will help you a lot. I also found it very helpful during my first internship to take every chance I was given to communicate with customers/clients, as this is a skill that takes time and requires some practice. If you can get a head start on best practices when communicating professionally, it will set you apart and make you much more confident when you find a job out of college.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for the advice!! Rasya
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Nandita’s Answer

I think something that definitely helps may be something later on - when you are in your first year of college, you should try to join as many clubs related to economics or finance to learn more about the majors and the older students who are majoring in the same things. Being able to talk to these older students in the majors will help you understand more about the classes, the difficulty levels, the potential career paths after graduation and help you establish connections that you can reach out to with more questions in your career journey.
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Sean’s Answer

Hi Raysa,

I believe working to gain relevant work experience is a skill that can help set you apart while validating the type of work matches your interest. I would seek out both paid and volunteer opportunities for businesses and non profit organizations that might have openings where you can gain some business experience. The other option is to start your own small business (example: lawn care, dog walking, child care, tutoring, etc) where you will get relevant work experience across many facets of business (marketing, accounting, customer service).
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! Rasya
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Erin’s Answer

I would try to do some informational interviews/site visits/walkthroughs about career options. Maybe your business teachers at your school could help connect you with local business people, or even your relatives. It's good to learn about different career options, and going to the office and seeing what the person does on a daily basis is useful. Hopefully they could help connect you with someone at the entry level so you could get a better idea of what you would do starting off at that company, too.
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Arkadeep’s Answer

First of all thanks for your question.
++Please atttend some business summit taking place around you.
++Work on your idea that you want to give a model of a business.
++Try to think on some real life prolem solving that you observed around you, it could help you to get some idea.
++Think upon how you could make an impact to the society surrounds you, with your business idea.
++Discuss with your seniors and your known faces who are already into this field.
++Nowadays we have so many social platforms that are getting built in our social networking sites, make use of it.

Hope that helps!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! Rasya
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Simeon’s Answer

Networking is incredibly important. If you are able to get an internship, I'd highly recommend making connections while you're there. Make a good impression and try to go to social activities if possible. You could very easily find people that will want to get you hired into their company eventually.
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Mike’s Answer

Good question! It's important to take time to understand the landscape of finance. There are investment professionals, corporate finance professionals in large companies, accountants, people in finance technology and many other types of finance professionals. Think about the day to day experience in each of these roles and how that fits with your personality and goals. The experience you'll have in finance varies greatly depending on where in the landscape of finance you are. After you've determined the areas of most interest, then network with leaders in those areas and offer to do projects for free. Remember to keep checking in and asking for advice. Smart leaders can help you avoid costly mistakes by taking their advice.
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Richard’s Answer

My son works in finance (entry-level, investment banking), and I spoke with him about your question. There are plenty of hard skills necessary: in order of importance least to greatest, you will want to be decent with excel, understand how companies and industries work and how to analyze them, know what bankers/FAs do/what your firm does, and be up-to-date on news and industry trends. Reading news and completing vault guides is great preparation for interviews.

If you aren't well connected, it might be challenging to get work too early, but try looking for search funds in your area! He worked unpaid for 1 search fund for 2 months before swapping to a different, paid search fund. Cold email like crazy! Finally, read, read, read, Economist WSJ books
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice! Rasya
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