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Top 5 Tips To Implement Your Personal Brand

By Valia Glytsis

December 11, 2017

Thanks to those of you who joined us on our webinar about defining a personal brand (didn’t see it? Watch on demand!). While discussing branding is fun and energizing, putting into practice is critical for lasting momentum and success.

Below are some practical tips and mindset-based insights to help you stay on course as you navigate “what’s next” and continue to define who you are from the inside-out!

#1. Be the Boss of Your Thoughts.

Mindset is the glue that holds our personal brand together. The top invader of owning our brand is our mental chatter. This mental chatter shows up as imposter syndrome, playing small, feeling insecure, suffering from low confidence. Here are a few tips to tackle this inner critic when it decides to pop up and say ‘hello’ (by the way, it usually surfaces when you are courageous enough to take up more space and be BIGGER):

Name It.
This voice is completely normal and part of our human experience. It never goes away. However, you can objectify it and recognize that it is simply a piece of your thoughts, not an all-encompassing sense of self. Give it a name and a separate identity so you can remind yourself it is “other”.

Unravel It.
This voice gets scary when it takes a life of its own and begins to catastrophize our thoughts and feelings. It can only take hold of you if you buy into its narrative. Instead, allow it to unravel. Keep asking it: “And then what happens?” See how your worst nightmare eventually runs out of steam if you let it unwind. It can only go up from there when you realize that the worst case is actually kind of OK.

Ritualize It.
This voice can bleed into all aspects of your life if you allow it. Rather than have it consume you, give it its own ritual. During this time, journal about the voice, share what it is telling you out loud, read to it, and so on. By honoring it with ritual, you’ll realize that you can actually nurture it like you would do to a younger version of yourself (which is exactly what this voice represents – it’s here to keep you safe and secure!)

#2. Know What Your Stand For.

Our personal values are the fundamental point of differentiation in our brand. Even if you and I share similar strengths and passion, what is most meaningful to us and how we make our decisions is at the core of our inner truth. Revisit the branding webinar for more details on doing a personal values exercise – this work is paramount. Write out your personal values that are most prevalent right now.

WARNING: This work normally elicits thinking well into the future for “aspirational” values rather than “practiced” values. Aspirational values do not exist in our current reality and if we continue to strive for them in the day-to-day, we feel as if we are failing. Instead, be honest about your practiced values that are alive and honored in your current life chapter.

For example, give yourself permission to stand for “Excellence” rather than “Balance” right now. It is OK. In fact, it is truth and will allow you to make empowered choices and meaningful connections.

#3. Get Clear On What You Want.

All too often, I see women getting very vague and wishy-washy when asked what they want. This is detrimental to a brand. We think we are being “easy” by allowing more options and flexibility while, in fact, we are making it extra difficult for our audience to support us or open possibilities. Get very clear on what you want. And remember, this doesn’t mean you have to know what you want for the rest of your life. The magic words are: “for right now”.

What do you want for right now in your personal and professional path? For example, rather than saying: “I want a job in consulting”, you can specify, “I want a job in X company with a focus on digital strategy; I prefer a start-up environment where I can leverage my entrepreneurial skills. Working in San Francisco would be ideal.” The former tells me nothing about a personal brand; the latter tells me quite a bit.

Even if it feels unnatural, allow yourself to be targeted, specific, and clear on what you are asking for. You make yourself visible and allow others to be partners on the path.

#4. Ask Assertively and Own Your Space.

Nothing is more tragic than having a compelling brand (content-wise) and then shrinking completely when declaring your brand to the world! The magic tool here is assertion. There is a misconception that “assertive” is half way between passive and aggressive. In fact, assertive is nowhere on that continuum. Assertive is all about clarity. When you are clear, you speak succinctly with power and gravitas. A few pointers to clear up your verbal and written brand communication pronto:

Clear the Verbal Clutter.
That means no more filler words or hedging words like “just”, “kind of”, “maybe”. These words and phrases diminish your impact.

Stop Apologizing.
That means no more qualifying phrases to apologize for your opinion or the space you are taking. “Sorry to bother you but…” – sound familiar?

Punctuate and Pause.
That means take your space! Watch any tendencies to rush, pile questions, end a bold statement with up-talk, etc. If you believe that you deserve your space, your personal brand will shine. If you don’t give it its space, it will shrink in kind.

#5. Connect with Why.

Move beyond “what” you want to do and into “why” you want to do it. When we infuse our brand, our values, our choices with the power of why, we compel people with emotion, not just logic. Connecting with “why” allows for human vulnerability to be the glue between the rational objectives and professional goals we outline. “Why” engages people’s hearts, including your own.

If you have a hard time connecting with your personal mission and purpose, try thinking of it this way: A purpose is nothing more than where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep hunger. Keep connecting to what matters to you and where you find meaning. The puzzle pieces of your brand will then be brilliantly obvious to you when you spot them! Your work is to stay true to the uniquely distinctive you.

 

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My Role Model is a Woman Too

By Maria Flores Gandaria

October 24, 2017

The thought of opening my own business never crossed my mind until I was a freshman in college. My mother had two failed businesses so I believe that, at first, having witnessing those experiences first-hand truly discouraged me from even trying.

Initially, I would have wanted to open a coffee shop in front of Central Park; nowadays, I want to open my own national non-profit, and event planning business (catering and photography services included, of course!).

This semester, however, I have become the best version of myself; in desperate efforts of getting involved after having submerged myself in giving campus tours and providing academic advising to incoming students for two years, I no longer knew what to do after I had to kiss my Orientation Advisor nametag goodbye.

Luckily, the answers to my pleading would be found in an organization that was tabling in front of the gym.

I joined a professional event planning organization, and little did I know that my dues would be the key to a world of networking opportunities—one of the speakers we have had in the past would offer to pay for my International Live Events Association membership!

Such “keys” grants me access to workshops with experts in the industry, and leaves open plenty of space for academic and personal growth. We are always told that networking is a skill that we should foster throughout our years in college, and that statement has been as real as ever.

During one of our meetings, I met a local business and non-profit founder, Nycia Emerson; she is the face behind She Inspires. I had just experienced a panic attack earlier that day, and I thought of missing that meeting, I am glad that I did not because I was one step closer from figuring out one of my purpose in life.

I saw pieces of myself reflected in her, not only a passion for life seems to radiate from eyes, but she is also a mother; if it is written in the universe,  I would like to become a business woman and a mother too.

Like many of us, Mrs. Emerson started her business from the ground up, and it has been a long and difficult process—through the financial and personal difficulties she has still manage to thrive and succeed. Her confidence reminded me of the importance in embracing our talents, while acknowledging our weaknesses as well.

Let’s admit it, girls. We will never be Wonder Women, as nice as flying across the globe sounds, but we DO have the power of changing communities through our unique capabilities.

Because of Nycia, and the supportive group of young college women I get to work with daily, this past week I launched my first small photography business. I assume it is official since I just booked a client for next week.


Student by day, writer by night. Maria Flores is a Social Work student at the University of Texas at Austin, she is also currently pursuing a BS in Communication and Leadership. She is an advocate for mental health, and unapologetically proud of being an immigrant. Her goals as a writer are to become a voice for the voiceless and to change the world—in accordance with her school’s motto.

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My Summer as a Finance Intern at National Public Radio

By Megha Karthikeyan

October 5, 2017

This past summer I had the opportunity to intern at National Public Radio (NPR) as a Treasury and Risk Management intern. Working at a media company and doing financial analytics gave me a unique view of business in the media space. I got my feet wet in finance as a rising second year in college and learned valuable analytical skills through various computer tools.

The Application Process

The application to be a summer intern opened around the beginning of February and closed around the middle of March. There are about 50 interns at NPR with most of them being assigned to shows and podcasts. On the application portal, all the positions that were open were listed, and I found a few business-related positions that I was interested in, including Treasury and Risk Management. I had to submit a resume and cover letter, and then rank my preference of position from one to three (three is the maximum number of positions one can apply for). The cover letter is always important, but extremely important for a finance position at NPR. I think one of the reasons I got this internship is because of my strong cover letter which included why I wanted to work at NPR specifically and what skills and qualities I had that would make me a perfect fit for the job. I also had a very concise but informative resume that mentioned activities and skills that would make me qualified for the finance position.

After about two months, I got called for a phone interview with my future supervisor.  The main questions I was asked was why I wanted the internship and what skills and qualifications I had that would make me a good fit for the job. I was nervous because I was only a first year in college at the time and I knew that there would be many other qualified applicants who had more educational experience in finance. However, I spoke with confidence and mentioned that even though I was only a first year, I was a fast learner and had what it took to succeed in the internship. My supervisor then told me about possible projects that I would take on as an intern and how the Treasury and Risk Management internship worked. I made sure to ask him questions about his journey to NPR because this made the interview more engaging and conversational. I ended up being offered the job at the end of the call and accepted the offer a few days later.

The Internship

During the internship, I worked on a wide variety of projects including building a debt ratio database, completing an investment manager fee project, doing a credit rating peer analysis, and working with daily cash balances. I learned how to do Macros and analyzed data deeper using the graphing and charting tools in Excel. The biggest project I worked on was the investment manager fee project where I had to create a report to be presented to the NPR Investment Board about the fees NPR was being charged and the net return NPR was getting from its investments. I pulled financial data from over 50 investment managers and then input all the data into an Excel spreadsheet which I then analyzed. I also compared data from previous years and created a 5-year analysis about how NPR was doing financially. This was one of my favorite projects I worked on because I got to look at how NPR chose its investments and learned a lot about the sectors that it was investing in. I also got to learn about various investment benchmarks and how it applied to NPR’s investing strategies.

Other than the major projects I worked on, there were a few daily tasks that I assisted with like looking at the daily cash balances to make sure NPR’s reserves and working capital was strong. I also provided assistance to the accounting team by pulling audited financial data that pertained to the Treasury division. In this process, I learned more about how internal and external audits worked.

Fun NPR Events

One of the perks of being an NPR intern is being able to attend Tiny Desk Concerts. At these concerts, musicians perform songs that were produced for All Song’s Considered. One of the coolest musicians I got to see was Chance the Rapper. It was an intimate crowd of around 200 employees, so I got to hear him up close as he performed some of his most popular songs.

Being a NPR intern, you also get the opportunity to meet a lot of people in the media industry. We had weekly Brown Bag Lunches where we met with various producers and hosts of radio shows including Guy Raz from How I Built This and Audie Cornish from All Things Considered. Being able to learn about how they got into news and broadcasting was very interesting and it was a great way to network with people I may not have been able to connect with.

Tips for Future Interns

My general advice for interns, whether at NPR or any other company, is to ask questions. When I didn’t understand how to do a certain task after I had used all the resources available to try and solve the problem, I made sure to ask my supervisor for help. Asking questions not only helps you solve your problem, but it also shows your supervisor that you are involved in your work and can ask for help to make your work even better. As an intern, you can learn a lot from your managers, so asking questions early on and clearing up any confusion will save you a lot of time in the future and send a positive message to your boss.

Another piece of advice is have regular meetings with your supervisor or manager. I met with my supervisor many times to not only update her on my progress, but also ask her for input and feedback. During these conversations, we would end up talking about a new piece of technology or the news for the day. This helped me get to know my manager better, and she understood my background and interests. Getting to know you manager on a personal level is important and this can happen when you have regular meetings scheduled with your supervisor.

My NPR internship taught me so much about the treasury and finance industry and I learned so many new skills that I can use in future internships. I am very glad I got this incredible opportunity and encourage anyone interested in finance and the media to apply.


Megha Karthikeyan is from Vienna, Virginia and attends the University of Virginia. She intends to double major in Economics and Commerce at the McIntire School of Commerce with finance and information technology concentrations. Megha will graduate from UVA in 2020. She hopes to work in the finance industry as a finance or risk analyst, but is also looking at working in investment banking.

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From Extern to Intern at Bloomberg

By Aury Cifuentes

September 19, 2017

I think we have all heard about how important the junior year internship is in terms of job prospects, but the truth is you can never start too early. In my case, I was exactly a year away from the all-important junior summer internship when I walked into the Bloomberg Princeton office.

My journey with Bloomberg LP officially began during the summer right after my sophomore year.

As an extern, our first day started with an introduction to the company values and where we would fit in within the culture of collaboration. The absence of cubicles and clear glass meeting rooms literally created an open environment—not to mention the number of people meeting in the pantry over an array of snacks.

The key purpose of day one was “Terminal 101.” Being comfortable with the terminal was significant for not only my time as an extern, but as an intern working on thesis and capstone plans over the summer. Out of the thousands of functions, the more you knew the better, as they could be used in conjunction with several layers of analysis simultaneously.

The second and third day prepped us for public speaking and the amount of teamwork needed at the firm.  At the end of the third day, an intense interview was scheduled with the top performers of each department for a chance to land an internship for the following summer.

My interview went well as I demonstrated that my interests aligned to where the company is rapidly making a mark. Technology, whether through coding, machine learning, or otherwise, is providing a faster way to not only understand client needs but create even more value within the firm.

My summer was an extension of externship in the sense that I was within the forecasting department. I spent the last month of my summer working extensively with my intern team of four engineers to launch a proof of concept for our final project that would transform one of the most popular functions on the terminal.

Overall, my advice for anyone who is tempted to start early in the recruiting cycle is to take chances and apply, apply, and apply!

Additionally, any tech skills today will transform your tomorrow so take advantage of all the great free resources online. Even if it is basic Python or C you will now be able to understand more in meetings, product launches, and networking opportunities—making yourself available to even more opportunities in the long run.

Aury is a very bubbly senior at The College of New Jersey. As an Economics major with a concentration in Social Justice she is happily working on a capstone project, internship, and thesis this year. When she isn’t studying, Aury is actively participating in the community through the Bonner Service program and working closely with her E-Board as president of Women in Business this year.

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Top 10 Communication Tips for Women

By Kelly Decker, Decker Communications

July 14, 2017

What’s the best way to get noticed, get into the up-and-comer pipeline and start to win more leadership roles earlier? Start by fast tracking your communication skills now—don’t wait for that big opportunity to project confidence and polish up your presence.

Before we dive in, an important disclaimer… men will benefit just as much from the advice below. We direct this to women to combat the stereotypes that can plague their progress.

1.  Speak with Purpose and Vocal Conviction

Women can boost their authority with their voices. The three key areas to consider are pitch, projection and pace. In a business environment where the male vocal range is dominant, sing-songy voices can get steamrolled in important meetings. With naturally higher voices than men, it’s helpful for women to push into a deeper register (read: lower their pitch.)

How do you do that?

  • Push your voice out. Think about activating your core—just like in Pilates. Be careful not to push it up, where it sounds like you might be screaming at your parents or sibling. It’s hard to slip into upspeak (ending sentences on a higher pitch as if there are question marks at the end of each declarative sentence - sounds unsure and tentative) or vocal fry (the low, creaky voice that sounds hesitant and faux-raspy) when you are projecting your voice.
  • End sentences at the same or lower tone than they begin.
  • When it comes to pace, pause to add emphasis. Don’t rush through your content quickly moving from one idea to the next. Instead, pause to let each idea sink in. Remember, it’s “Bond. James Bond.”

Who does this well:  Ginni Rometty, Kat Cole, Oprah

Who not to mimic:  Gigi Hadid, Kim Kardashian, Rachel Zoe

2. Skip the Filler Words!

Like, um, uh, ya know, actually, just, so, honestly, truly, literally… the list goes on and on. These pesky little words get slipped into our narratives, descriptions, presentations and daily conversations. All of us have at least one filler word, even if we don’t notice it, ourselves. It won’t take extra time to cut them out – it will just take extra effort.

Here are two easy steps to cut out your filler words:

  • First, find out what your fillers are. You can’t change a habit until you realize it’s there. Record a voicemail to yourself and then play it back. Take notes on what fillers you hear. Common fillers to watch for: “like,” “just,” “um,” “uh,” “actually,” “you know,” “honestly,” “literally,” and – of course – “so.” Chances are, you use some of the same filler words as people around you.
  • Then, practice pausing. When you pause, you’ll naturally drop the filler words. Record another voicemail, and be intentional about pausing. Challenge yourself to pause for longer than it feels comfortable. The average pause is only about half a second. Try and stretch that out to 2 – 3 seconds.

3. Own Your Space

Show that you own the room by taking up more physical space. Women have the tendency to want to look smaller and take up less space by crossing their arms and legs, hiding their midsections, and keeping everything close together. Instead, use purposeful gestures that take up space and draw attention to key content points.

How do you do that?

  • When you’re standing, drive home a point using big gestures, where your elbows are fully extended. It might feel outrageously big, but these large gestures will add authority if you use them with purpose, for example, when comparing and contrasting.
  • If you are seated at a table, move your weight forward, and keep your arms resting on top of the table.

Who does this well: Wendy Clarke, Sheryl Sandberg, Glennon Doyle Melton

4. Be Direct

We work with many women who have so many ideas that they come across as scattered. But what’s behind the scatter? They’re just trying to prove their credibility. By including their analysis, their research, their findings, rehashing and recounting their play-by-play… it quickly ends up being a message about them. It doesn’t have anything to do with the person to whom they are speaking. Instead, be declarative and direct.

How do you do that?

  • Get straight to the main point. Then, be brief, be bright, and be gone.

Who does this well: The writers of The Skimm.

You can do this with help from #5, below…

5. Bottom Line Up Front

What is the one thing you want your audience members to take away? What’s the big idea, the main point you want everyone in the room to walk away knowing, the goal of your entire presentation? This is your point of view. It’s the biggest change in how you want your listeners to think about or act on an idea. It’s the “ask” without showing your selfish ambition.

How do you choose your Point of View?

  • Find the lead of your story. Boil everything down to just one thing. Often, it’s a challenge, but you have to choose just one main idea and ruthlessly edit the rest.
  • That way, you can be declarative and direct. Your audience will walk away knowing your main point. 

Who does this well: Elizabeth Gilbert, Meryl Streep, Misty Copeland

6. Lead with Warmth

Women excel at connecting one on one. According to social psychologist and Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy, “Warmth is the conduit of influence: It facilitates trust and communication and absorption of ideas.” Women have an opportunity to leverage warmth and trust to connect with individuals. Leading with warmth and connection is a different brand of leadership than men traditionally use.

How can you add instant lightness?

  • Smile. It’s the gatekeeper to likability.
  • It doesn’t need to be a plastic ear-to-ear grin, but do turn up the edges of your mouth.

Who does this well: Gwen Stefani, Michelle Obama, Alicia Keyes

7. Open Conversations for Discovery

Including all viewpoints and perspectives is a core strength that women can leverage in times of discovery. Economists have found that women are more collaborative than men.

Gathering information is an important part of the persuasion and planning process. When collaborating on a project or developing a solution for a product, conversations for discovery can be especially helpful. They also allow for increased connection, which allows for more trust. It’s also a great way to share empathy. Empathy is the ability to imagine yourself in someone else’s position and to intuit what that person is feeling. Research shows that empathy comes naturally to women. Conversations for discovery and empathy are great tools for building connection.

How do you do this?

  • Ask each person in the group for her/his perspective on the problem or issue.
  • Try not to solve right away. Listen – and discover – more.
  • Determine how this impacts each person personally, and try to put yourself in their shoes.

8. Be unapologetic.

“I’m sorry.” “Oh, sorry about that.” “Are you okay?” Does this clip seem familiar? Women have a tendency to over apologize.

Saying “I’m sorry” too frequently doesn’t come across as overly polite. Instead, it weakens your overall message and presence. And at times, it can have an even bigger cost. If you’re asking for deadline extension, additional resources or even a raise, the last thing you want to do is start your pitch with an “I’m sorry.” While sometimes an apology is necessary (like if you spill coffee on someone during a meeting), most decisions and actions in business don’t need an apology. Instead, move on.

Here’s what to do:

  • Instead of relying on “I’m sorry,” say what you really mean. Try it out in a low-risk situation – like the next time your order comes out wrong at Chipotle. Instead of, “I’m sorry, but I ordered the chicken burrito, and I got the steak,” drop the “I’m sorry.” Try, “Can you fix my order? I ordered the chicken burrito, and I got the steak.”

9. Separate your reaction from the response.

Women often get cast as “too emotional” when they don’t separate their reaction from their response. Too often, our reactions are not influential in the way we want them to be. When we react, we jump to an emotional conclusion, triggering anger, disappointment, resentment, frustration or something else.

Here’s what to do:

  • When it’s time to respond— which might be right away—stick to the concrete details and action steps. What happened? What do we do now? (Save the “how do I feel about this” for another time.)
  • Don’t get defensive, and don’t blame someone else.

Who not to mimic:  Hope Solo, Paula Deen

10. Step up.

Don’t defer to someone else! Giving away the opportunity to speak, lead a meeting or present your work only gives away your power. Seize the opportunity to let your behaviors and content shine. Visibility leads to more opportunities.

Start Now.

Communication can win leadership roles, so make it a focus and a priority. Don’t wait for the opportunity to find you—get discovered!

A leading expert in the field of business communication, Kelly Decker is president of Decker Communications, a global firm that trains and coaches tens of thousands of executives a year. She coauthored Communicate to Influence: How to Inspire Your Audience to Action, which shares real-world stories and tips from the C-Suite that apply to us all. Kelly holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business and a BS in psychology from California Polytechnic State University.

 

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Rock Your Summer Work Wardrobe

By Siyu Wu

May 18, 2017

Upon first glance, the most noticeable difference between college campuses and finance firms is what people wear – gone are the sweatshirts and jeans, replaced with full suits, blazers, heels, and more. A daunting, but often overlooked, aspect of starting a summer internship in the corporate world is making sure you have the right clothes for the job. Here are some things to keep in mind as you begin preparing your summer work wardrobe!

Figuring out workplace expectations

Before you go out and buy several full suits, first reach out to HR or a mentor to learn about their expectations for how you dress. Some firms will require business formal every day, other firms allow business causal between Memorial Day and Labor Day. You want to make sure you don’t underdress or overdress, so knowing what other people at the firm will be wearing will help make sure you start your first day strong.

What is or isn’t appropriate? There are no hard lines, but do remember that the corporate world is a bit more conservative than what many college students are used to. Err on the side of caution in terms of skirt/dress length, how tight/lowcut your clothing is, and the degree of casualness of what you wear. Some clear no-no’s for most firms include spaghetti strap tanks, jeans (unless otherwise stated), clothing with rips, sneakers, and short shorts.

Getting the basics

It may be tempting to buy statement pieces when heading into the store, but first focus on getting some of the fundamental pieces for a business wardrobe. To start off, one of the most important items is to get a fitted black blazer – this is something you can put over anything and everything to make your outfit look a bit more formal. Beyond the black blazer, some other key items include a professional black dress/skirt/pants, work-appropriate shoes, and white blouse. These are essential for days when you might have a particularly important meeting or presentation.

Aside from these business formal pieces, it might be helpful to do some outfit planning to figure out how to coordinate a few basic pieces to create several different outfits. It is challenging to wear business dress everyday while having some variance. Keep it exciting by adding a splash of color or unique accessory to every outfit – but make sure not to go overboard!

Business dress on a budget

While there are some pieces that are worth spending money on (for example, a high-quality blazer can last you a long time), it may seem preposterous to spend a hundred or more on a single pair of pants or dress. For simple blouses and other items, there may be no need to spend a lot of money, especially at the start of your career. There are some stores that offer relatively inexpensive options – TJMaxx, Marshalls, Banana Republic, Express are all great places to look. Even Forever 21 and H&M have some budget-friendly selections!

In addition, during end-of-season sales at Ann Taylor, Ralph Lauren, Loft, and other similar stores, you’re often able to find some great deals for high quality pieces.

Ultimately, it’s not necessary to spend a lot of money on creating your summer internship outfits. After getting the basics at the beginning of the summer, set aside some money from each paycheck for buying new outfits to refresh your wardrobe. And remember, it’s always worth it to spend a bit more on buying high-quality timeless pieces that can last you several years!

Siyu Wu is from Colorado and attends Princeton University, pursuing a degree in Economics and certificates in Finance and East Asian Studies. Siyu will graduate in 2018. She hopes to synthesize her interest in China and East Asia with her passion for finance to eventually work in a career related to international finance and Asian capital markets.

 

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I Am A CFP® Pro: Brittney Castro

Meet Brittney Castro, CFP®, and hear why she loves her career as a CFP® professional.

Learn more about becoming a CFP professional.

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Get Ready For Your Summer Internship

By Danni Ondraskova

May 1, 2017

As April turns into May, it’s likely that internship decisions are coming at you faster than you can process them. Hopefully, all of your hard work has paid off and you’ve found yourself accepted to the internship of your dreams. Maybe you’ve been accepted somewhere else but are still awaiting your top choice with bated breath. Or maybe you’ve hit a rough patch this year and have only received offers from places you aren’t overly enthusiastic about.

In any case, you need to prepare wisely in order to make the best of your situation. Here is some advice that applies well to any situation in which you find yourself.

Be humble.

Chances are you’ll be interning at a place that coincides with your academic and/or personal interests. Because of that, you’ve probably gained indirect exposure to the skills and concepts you’ll be using for our internship through the classroom, your on-campus job, or a hobby. Maybe you’re even interning for the same institution for the second or third year in a row!

Whatever situation you find yourself in, keep in mind that even the most menial or administrative of internships offer an abundance of learning opportunities. At the very least, you may be working under a new supervisor who has different expectations of you; adjusting to those expectations is a learning process in itself and a very useful skills for “real life.”

Be curious.

If you’re interning in a field that is your sole passion, curiosity about the internship will likely come easily to you. If you aren’t excited about your future workplace, keep in mind that even the most seemingly boring places have interesting people and stories.

Maybe you’re having a hard time learning a skill but become close friends with someone in an adjacent cubicle. That person may teach you to consider the skills through a different lens or teach it through a more engaging process.

Either way, there are always sources of wisdom you can mine to meet your potential and become more interested in your work in the process.

Learn about your field.

Chances are you’ve parsed your job description while preparing for the interview and did additional research on your firm and field. Or you’ve been combing through your internship packet. If so, you are well on your way to being intellectually prepared for the internship.

If not, use the tools of the Internet, your professors and friends, and your career services office to do more research. If you really are unable to find anything, contact your intern coordinator for details. They’re usually pretty friendly and promptly respond.

Danni Ondraskova will graduate in 2018 from Wellesley College. Danni plans on earning a dual degree in law and business and dreams of working for JP Morgan’s Global Investment Management division.

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