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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 so much! I'll definitely try looking for some internships at local banks. Rasya B.

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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 so much! Rasya B.

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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 so much!! Rasya B.

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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 so much! Rasya B.

Anytime and Good Luck to you! Mark Tina - M.B.A.

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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 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 B.

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Reema’s Answer

Hi Rasya,

Great question! I commend you for your passion and focus. When I was in high school I did not know what career path I wanted to go. Here are some of my suggestions - some of which are already mentioned in other answers -

1. I would see what activities you have in your high school. Are there any clubs you can join? I know FBLA (future business leaders of america) was a club in my high school. This can be a great way to get exposure to this field. Are there any electives in your field?
2. I agree with others that a internship in finance during high school can be challenging. I would see if maybe you can shadow someone in the business field. Maybe you can start by talking to your parents or family friends or guidance counselors to see if any of them would be open to this type of arrangement. Don't be afraid to reach out to the people around you.
3. Keep an open mind. Even if you cannot find a finance internship - maybe you can get some sort of exposure to the office environment. Being able to tell your first employer after college that you have office experience is very valuable.


Good luck!
Reema

Thank you so much!! Rasya B.

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Analise’s Answer

Hi Rasya - It's so great that you already have an idea of what you would like to do with your future! As a business student myself with an interest in finance, I think I may have a few helpful tips.

1.) Read up on the business world and financial markets. There are various different websites: Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Fortune. There are also various podcasts and daily newsletters to keep you up-to-date on what's going on in the world. I personally enjoy The Morning Brew newsletter or their podcast, Business Casual, and Snacks Daily podcast.
2.) Start to learn about the stock market. You can find various websites where you simulate investing in the stock market, and they are great learning experiences.
3.) Stay focused on school and get involved! Make sure to do well in your classes and get involved not only in business clubs at your school but in other things that you may be interested in. Its important to be well-rounded and do things you are passionate about!

Hope this helps!

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Justina’s Answer

I would say be a great student, maintain you’re grades and learn as much as possible. In addition look for internship and volunteer opportunities. Also talking to teachers & professors, to share any resources that can help you find that internship / volunteer opportunity to start building the practical experience.

Thank you!! Rasya B.

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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!

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Diane’s Answer

Hi Rasya,

I think you are on the right track with exploring internships. Volunteering is also a great way to find your interests and may put you in touch with the right individuals who can mentor you along the way. You should look into networking/industry groups as well.

Good luck!
Diane

Thank you!! Rasya B.

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Madisen’s Answer

Great question! Here is what helped me get my foot in the door when I was starting out:

1. Narrowing my interests (example: projects & research business vs. people-facing business)

2. Found a local company that specialized in my specific interest (personal finance).

3. Contacted the office, told them briefly about me (elevator pitch), told them I am passionate about what they do (praised them), and asked to shadow for a day. Be observant while shadowing to see opportunities for you to help them.

4. Say THANK YOU! Follow-up and see if they have any opportunities. If they don't, can they connect you with someone who does?

You are on the right path. Asking the right questions and listening is essential to growth. Wishing you the best!

Thank you so much for the advice!! Rasya B.

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Nikki’s Answer

It's great that you have a very clear focus on the career you'd like to be in! As mentioned in previous answers, focus on achieving excellent grades in order to get into a good finance program in college.

It's also a good idea to start building on the foundational skills that will make you stand out, such as a good familiarity of Excel. One way you can do this is by practicing to keep track of your own personal budget on a spreadsheet. Other good skills to learn is data analytics and playing with data to look at trends.

Be curious about the business world and the market trends that are impacting our current economy. Listen to business news or read the business section of an online news outlet.




Thank you so much!! Rasya B.

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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!! Rasya B.

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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 so much! Rasya B.

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Diane’s Answer

Hi Rasya,

I think you are on the right track with exploring internships. Volunteering is also a great way to find your interests and may put you in touch with the right individuals who can mentor you along the way. You should look into networking/industry groups as well.

Good luck!
Diane

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Heather’s Answer

Focus on good grades, be involved - whether through work, school activities, clubs, local community and/or volunteering; challenge yourself to get exposure to different experiences. Look for opportunities within your network where you could perhaps shadow or work to hone in on certain skills.

Thank you so much!! Rasya B.

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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.

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Karmi’s Answer

I think you are doing the right thing in looking for some real-life experience before college so you can start setting yourself up for your career path. However, as you gather these experiences, I would keep your mind open as you might find something that interests you even more along the way. It is good to know yourself and what your interests are currently, but I can tell you I did not know that my chosen career path even existed when I was in high school. I've spoken to many college sophomores/juniors that are still deciding between finance vs. accounting vs. other "business" majors and their minds are changing as they learn more about what those job possibilities look like 5 or 10 years after graduation.

A form of finance/accounting exists at every business, so use your network and think creatively about how you can gain exposure even if it is not an advertised "finance/accounting/economics" internship. As you progress in your future career, your "finance" role may become less Excel modeling and more overall business partnering and management, so think about how you can get exposure to that as well. That will ultimately give you the best picture of what your career could look like and also provide you with experiences that may set you apart from your peers.

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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 so much! Rasya B.

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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

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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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Jackie’s Answer

Hello!

I would suggest for someone looking to go into the business field to start off with something small such as and internship, as it may be hard to find business jobs that are hiring students 16 years of age and older because most are 18 years.

Talk to your high school advisor about opportunities around you, and if not keep and open min about job titles such as dog walking, mail delivery, babysitting, just so you get a feel for how the business world works.

I would also focus on your school grades as business schools look for higher grades in high school economics, government, and mathematics. Also, the more involved that you, the more likely that you will grab the attention of an employer looking for new hires.

Thank you so much for the advice!! Rasya B.

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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 so much for the advice!! Rasya B.

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