Intern Q & A

Dabin Shin - 2020 Intern

Summer 2020 being remote was certainly unique, what did you enjoy or what did the WIO do particularly well to make the remote experience a positive one?

Working remotely was’t easy but, the team did several things to help ease the transition.  They gave the interns group projects to help familiarize ourselves with the tools of remote working. The WIO team placed tremendous faith in our autonomy yet, never failed to guide us in moments when we were unsure. They were always one call away and checked in routinely to make sure we knew what we were doing.

Who would you recommend this internship to and why?

To anyone who has an interest in a career in finance and is hungry to learn. As an intern in the WIO you are given a solid introduction to the world of investing. You get to explore different areas and roles within the industry. The knowledge and perspective I gained was pivotal in helping me decide my next course of action.

If you had to pick three adjectives to describe the WIO culture, what would they be and why?

Encouraging. I was surprised to be included in meetings/calls with fund managers. The WIO team encouraged interns to ask questions and get involved.

Fun. I have fond memories of after-work trivia! 

Compassionate. Everyone in the WIO is very caring and understanding. There was one time during the internship when I lost power for nearly a week, which forcibly put me in Bronze Age. However, the team was incredibly accommodating, and with their help, I was able to get back on track in no time.

Anna Yeo - 2020 Intern

Can you tell us a little about your long-term project and the process?

I looked at impact investing as an emerging asset class for my long-term project, focusing on the place it could have in a university endowment portfolio. Wesleyan is a very socially minded community. I was interested in relating our mission statement to possible pathways for increased responsible investing in our endowment. I discussed other universities’ approaches to impact investing in their endowments. I also talked about general challenges in redirecting capital towards impact investments. Matt was my advisor for the project. We had a lot of great discussions about responsible investing, and he gave me helpful direction during the research process. He also introduced me to some individuals working in impact investing, and it was really interesting and informative to talk to them.

For someone coming in without any background in finance, what advice would you give to others thinking about applying from a similar position?

I'm a Film Studies and Economics double major. Prior to the internship I had a limited understanding of investment finance. It is daunting to apply to something that you have no experience in but, if you are curious about investing or the endowment, and you're passionate about learning, don't let feeling unqualified stop you from applying! The WIO values curiosity and a willingness to learn more than knowing everything, and during the internship, they will teach you everything you need to know. It is an excellent way to jump into the world of investment finance. You will get a lot out of the experience.

If you had to pick three adjectives to describe the WIO culture, what would they be and why?

Generous, warm, and driven. The team is so generous with their time. I always felt like there were multiple team members available at any given time to answer my questions or talk to me about the work I was doing. I felt supported and a part of the team. Everyone works with enthusiasm and purpose, and it was a great environment to be in. The WIO really cares about Wesleyan, the student body, and what they do.

Kai Marcos - 2020 Intern

Can you tell us a little about your long-term project and the process?

My project involved evaluating investment opportunities in Japan. I worked with a member of the WIO team who met with me weekly to discuss my research progress. He provided me with materials and gave me opportunities to speak with individuals pertinent to my project, which made for an enriching learning experience.

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice to yourself prior to starting the internship, what would it be?

I would tell myself to extract every bit of knowledge from the WIO team members. Everyone is so knowledgeable and approachable.

If you had to pick three adjectives to describe the WIO culture, what would they be and why?

Up-beat, encouraging and everlasting. The WIO is a fast-paced environment and there is a lot to learn but, the team is always very supportive of your learning. The skills you gain from this internship will be with you forever.

Tsun Lok Kwan - 2019 Intern

What does training and mentorship look like in the office?

The WIO team are very hands-on with training and mentorship. I still keep in touch with the office and I feel confident that I can reach out even now to ask a question or clarify my knowledge. 

Who would you recommend this internship to and why?

Anyone who is interested in investing. The WIO internship covers everything to do with investment - why invest? what types of investments are there? How does one decide what to invest in?  

Looking back, what resources should students take advantage of and focus on during their internship?

Attend as many meetings as possible, read through the memos and investor letters, pick the brains of everyone working in the office as much as you can.

Alex Tripp - 2019 Intern

What attracted you to the Investments Office?

As an incipient finance worker, I was hooked by the Investment Office’s capability to provide a survey of all types of asset classes and funds for the finance dilettante. The office invests in all sorts of assets, and over the summer I hope to spend time learning about every category. The WIO also puts a priority on your learning and growth as an intern, and I know the office will be an incredible resource for my own financial bildungsroman.

What do you hope to learn from your internship?

Though I’ve worked in private equity real estate, I feel I only glimpsed half of the world of finance. It’s rare for an internship to be afforded the perspective of the funder, and I’m excited to learn more about investing from this side of the bargaining table. Funds are eager to bring on Wesleyan as an investor, and I hope to learn about the different qualities they bring to the table.

What makes the Investments Office a great place to intern?

When I applied for the internship, I met with every person in the office. Though at the time it was tough on my schedule, I grew to understand that the WIO places so much trust in every one of their employees, and will only make a decision if the entire group is comfortable. Beyond the educational experience, the WIO is a group of accomplished, whip-smart, humble people with whom anyone would be lucky to spend a summer.

Andrew Daggon - 2018 Intern

In your opinion, what qualities make a successful intern in the WIO?

A successful intern should be both intellectually curious and self-motivated, because the internship is what you make it. If you put in work outside of the office like reading the recommended books and learning about different asset classes and areas of finance, it is a much more rewarding experience.

If you had to pick three adjectives to describe the WIO culture, what would they be and why?

The culture is very collaborative because the whole summer is a learning experience and there is always someone willing to help walk through an idea. It is also committed, because the mentorships and friendships last beyond the summer. Finally, the culture is very rewarding, because you really get out what you put in.

What was your favorite part about the summer you spent with the WIO?

I really enjoyed any time we had in-person fund manager pitches and meetings because you get to hear investment professionals talk through their theses and philosophy in depth. The exposure to these first-hand ideas across all asset classes is incredibly insightful, especially with the WIO team asking probing questions.

 

Miki Yang - 2018 Intern

Can you think of a time when the team either challenged you or helped you improve?

WIO is a place that encourages interns to ask questions. Coming from a non-finance background, I faced a steep learning curve. Data crunching and financial analysis were akin to foreign languages to me.

The lovely part of WIO was that my lack of experience did not discourage the team at all – in fact, they were excited to teach and help me develop. The team were always willing to pause what they were doing to coach me, often recommended relevant books, and were always happy to answer any question that I peppered them. As long as you come in with the right learning attitude you will come out of this internship with a strong sense of fulfillment!

In your opinion, what qualities make a successful intern in the WIO?

First and foremost is the attention to the smallest of details. The foundation of any high-level portfolio analysis is the quality of input data – and one of the tasks that you will be doing as an intern is to update the database for WIO’s annual portfolio reviews. I think a successful intern is one that is able to take ownership of basic things like this. Doing basic tasks well helps to build our colleagues trust in you to handle more independent or complicated projects.

And of course, we cannot forget teamwork. WIO is a small, close-knit family where one’s actions and demeanor can easily affect the rest of the office. So, having a team-first attitude is the cornerstone of a successful internship!

What was your favorite part about the summer you spent with the WIO?

When I reflect back to my time spent at WIO, the first thing that comes to my mind are the meaningful, long-lasting relationships that I formed in the office. From fun events like the “Office Olympics” and the summer retreat, to the serendipitous conversations over the course of each day where I got to know my colleagues on a deeper level.

Monique Reichenstein - 2017

What attracted you to the Investments Office?

I’ve always known that I wanted to go into business but was never sure to what capacity. What attracted me most to this internship was the opportunity to learn more about investment management while working on behalf of Wesleyan at large.

What did you learn from your internship?

As an intern, I was encouraged to sit in on existing and prospective manager meetings. I gained exposure to a variety of investment strategies, which will serve me as I continue to develop my investment judgment. Most of my efforts as an intern went towards preparing for the annual portfolio review, which was a great hands-on opportunity for me to apply what I’d learned in classroom settings to an ongoing project. By the end of the summer, I had a better understanding of portfolio theory and asset allocation.

What made the Investments Office a great place to intern?

Interning at the investments office is an amazing opportunity to gain exposure to a variety of asset classes, to learn about investment management as well as the manager due diligence process. I think what distinguishes the Wesleyan Investments Office is its culture of learning. Everyone at the office is accessible and open to questions and dedicated to helping you understand the work at hand. This close guidance and support make interning at the WIO an engaging and fulfilling summer experience, one that I would readily recommend to anyone interested in investment management.

 

Veronica Lumbantoruan - 2015

What attracted you to the Investments Office?

As an economics major, I was interested in exploring the financial sector, which could have led me to a lot of different options. I stumbled across the Investment Office intern listing on Wesleyan career site and decided to explore a section that I wasn't familiar with: asset management.

What did you learn from your internship?

I learned a lot about various aspects that go into managing financial assets for a higher education's endowment. More specifically, as an Economics student, there were a lot of financial-specific terms that I got a better understanding of through various projects that I had to work on. On a more general level, a lot of the projects that I worked on required a lot of attention to detail, at a level that I didn't need for my college coursework. This is definitely a skill that was especially important when I graduated from college and got my first job.

What made the Investments Office a great place to intern?

One, the people. The Investment Office has the most helpful people I have ever worked with, which helped me learn so much while I was there. It is a small and close-knit team, which leads to a level of openness between all employees that I found very refreshing. Even as an intern, I regularly talked to and received constructive feedback from everyone in the office. It was very easy to feel welcomed in the office and helped me grow a lot professionally through my internship there.

Second, a lot of my projects had a direct impact on the office. As an intern, I didn't spend my day photocopying documents or grabbing coffee for everyone. Instead, I worked on a database for real estate private equity, did research on various fund managers that the Investment analysts actually use during their meetings, etc. To see firsthand how my work is used in the office is something that interns often do not get to experience and was such a confidence booster, especially when I moved into the workforce as a full-time employee.

What are you doing now? 

I am now a brand manager for a toy and games category at SCS Direct, a product development company in Trumbull, CT. My main responsibilities include managing the overall vision of each of my brand and direct how my brands' visions will fit within their respective markets, both in the retail space and e-commerce platform.

 

Gang Chen - 2012

What attracted you to the Investments Office?

A collegial environment, knowledgeable mentors and the office’s mission to support an institution of higher learning.

What did you learn from your internship?

A broad understanding of the money management industry, strategic asset allocation and value investing.

What made the Investments Office a great place to intern?

The generosity of Anne and team with their time and knowledge, plus a healthy dose of humor from Katia.

What are you doing now?

I joined J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. after graduation and am currently at Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO).