Nice summer weather, a panoramic view of the bay through the big office windows, guiltiful ice cream time in the afternoon at Embarcadero, coffee run and morning walk with my colleagues, happy hours with GSM alumni who work in the city… My three-month internship at State Street Global Advisors in San Francisco leaves no regret to me in this summer.
Three months go quickly. Now I am in the second last week of my internship. Afterwards, I am going back to Davis and continue my second year of my MBA education. It is hard to say goodbye to my friends here, to the delicious food, to the nice weather, to the decent pay, to the view of the bay bridge and the ferry building. However, I have so many takeaways, and those takeaways, I am sure, are going to boost my second transformation at GSM.
State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) is the second largest asset management firm in the world. I work with its global marketing team, and directly report to the head of Global Channel Marketing, a marketing team responsible for segmentation. My boss is a successful marketer. She holds an MBA degree from GSM, and graduated several years ago. At SSGA, I have received tremendous help from my coworkers and my bosses. Unlike some other internship experiences I had before, at SSGA I feel that they invest their time and energy in my future career growth instead of milking my intelligence for a short term.
My internship opened my eyes to a new industry, financial services. Every day, I work in the same office with portfolio managers, financial product researchers, and economists. I listen to investment discussions between people from Boston, London and Hong Kong. I participate in meetings of product innovation with insurance companies. Interestingly enough, it is not a peaceful summer for this industry. Greece, China, all you can recall… For me, this summer has taught me to better understand the global economy.
To fulfill my responsibility as an intern, I interact with marketers with different expertise: branding, segmentation, direct marketing, web marketing, marketing technology, and advertising & creative. I have interviewed more than 30 colleagues to understand their roles, responsibilities and challenges. My interviewees include my peers, heads of marketing, vendors, and financial experts the marketing team supports, such as sales, Chief Investment Officer, and traders. Now, I have a much better grasp of how to work cross-functionally and with different marketing teams in a global organization.
An absolute high of my internship is the trip to SSGA’s global headquarters in Boston. I was amazed by the SSGA-owned skyscraper in downtown Boston; I was excited by the open communication between different floors in this building. I visited a trading floor, which has more than 1000 trading terminals working at the same time. I met senior people from the investment team. I sat next to product strategists. Additionally, lobster rolls and cocktails used to be on my every day dinner menu. I enjoyed the walk with my boss along the Charles River, where the MIT campus and Harvard campus locate.
And of course, I also work hard at my internship. I came in office at 7:00 AM to attend global video conference calls. I woke up at 4:30 AM to dial in an investment discussion. Once, I stayed late in the office in a Friday evening to finish a project report, rewarded by the view of the beautiful lights on the bay bridge. Finally, I want to show SSGA that as a GSMer, I can deliver the best quality of work.
My value has been recognized by the team. Multiple times, I was invited to give presentations to the team, to share my findings and recommendations. A lot more times, at one-on-one meetings, the other part appreciated what I brought to the table, my insights, my creative ideas, my empathy and enthusiasm. Through those conversations and feedback, I am much more mature and confident in a professional setting.
As a result, a manager who worked with me is making an effort to keep me as a contractor after my internship. Some other coworkers told me that “Please let me know if you are back to SSGA. I would like to work with you.” The result of my 360 assessment wasn’t surprising either. But they all sound less exciting than the compliment I received from a senior industrial leader who left SSGA during my internship. She said: “Please let me know if you need any help in the future. I would like to work for you.”
I thought an internship was only the opportunity to hone the business skills you learned from GSM. Now, I have realized, an internship is also an opportunity to visualize how GSM can prepare you to be a global leader.
If you are interested in hearing more stories about my internship, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be happy to share my stories and cheer you up for your next mile stones.
Blogpost by Elizabeth Liu – Class of 2016