STEP Reflection

My STEP Signature Project was a 8 week long internship that took place in Sydney, Australia in the Central Business District. I worked at a company called Altair Asset Management and I was an Equity Research Analyst intern for that company. During my internship I analyzed two stocks and then gave presentations about the two stocks to the investment team at the company. Apart from my internship, I also got to explore the beautiful city of Sydney!

The biggest change that occurred to me as I completed my internship was my confidence. Going into the internship, I was unsure of what exactly I wanted to do in my life and I was doubting my choice of majors: Finance and Economics. I also did not understand what Equity Research Analysts actually did. I assumed that they looked at various stocks and their financials and see which one was the best, but they did so much more. There was so much creativity involved when deciding what to actually analyze a stock and no two analyzers actually had the same methods. I soon came to realize that I loved what I was doing and was so excited to learn everyday from some of the best Equity Research Analyzers in Sydney.

People always ask me why I am studying both Economics and Finance and my answer is always that I just like both the subjects, but Altair showed me how interconnected both fields are. When analyzing stocks, you have to understand what is happening around the World which is where macroeconomics comes into play and there were senior economists who worked at the company to make sure the analyzers were always up to date. This reassured me that there was actually a purpose for me to study both Economics and Finance and that Economists were super cool to have conversations with!

All my life, I have never described myself as creative, but after this summer I can definitely say I am a creative person which boosted my confidence. I always imagined someone creative as someone who was good at art or creative writing, but would never have thought that stocks were creative and if that was in the job description, I don’t think I would have even applied. I realized Equity Research Analysts have to be creative when I realized that no two analyzers every analyzed stocks the same way which really forced the investment team to think about all aspects of a stock. Being a young new intern, the investment team was excited of what I would come up with during my analysis. This emphasis on creativity also left me to do a lot of work without any guidance at first. They would give me a stock and then let me do whatever research I though would be fit. After looking at what I would come up with, they would guide me further and ask me questions to think about how I could look at other variables and look at the stock in a different way. This meant that every day was something different which made me excited to work.

I always knew that my ideal job would be a job where I could have a lot of interaction with people and I realized that Equity Research Analyzers actually do interact with people a lot. Research is information and information is people. So, the more people you know and are out talking to, the better. I saw that a lot of the analyzers in the investment team would be out catching up with people that they thought would have an useful opinion or information that they had not known yet about the company they were researching. Furthermore, there was also a lot of conferences, lunches and presentations that the analyzers would go to in order to have the best knowledge. A job that I thought would be at my desk looking at numbers all day ended up being such an exciting and lively job!

This gain in confidence is really important to me because I have changed my major multiple times and I never got the reassurance that I was on the right track. I was afraid that hours slaved away studying would amount to me not being good at my job or not even getting a job. I now know what jobs to apply for and that I made the right decision about my majors. I learned a lot about the work life and what I like doing, how I learn and what I am good at. I now have a goal internship that I want to get for next summer and I am so excited to get back to school and start my classes.

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