- My STEP Signature Project was an internship with Copper Run Capital. Copper Run Capital is a boutique investment bank in Columbus, OH that provides buy and sell-side advisory services. My role included helping build target list and evaluate investment opportunities for their clients.
- During my experience, my understanding of myself and assumptions of the investment banking industry changed. The major transformation I underwent was understanding how to work in a corporate setting. I learned how to balance a variety of projects coming from different supervisors. I had to prioritize certain projects based on when they were needed by and their importance. In addition, I learned a lot of information and skills necessary in the industry. I also learned from a few employees that were in my shoes a few years ago on important things to take away from my time in college. They all stressed that the necessary skills and information could be taught on the job, so what was important was forming connections and building the necessary soft skills. The experience transformed me into a person that is able to effectively manage multiple tasks at once and navigate the investment banking industry.
- The best part of the internship was the size of the company. The company is small and only has roughly 10-12 employees. This was really valuable as it gave me insight to all of their roles and I was able to hear perspectives of newer employees up to the Partners. Interning in a small company was extremely valuable.
The company had two other interns. Both of the other interns started in May, while I started in August. When I arrived, they already knew how to perform their tasks and be successful. Asking for their guidance when needed was important in getting myself up to speed and understanding the office dynamics. Working together on different tasks made it a lot more efficient and stressed importance of team work skills.
The company had four analysts/associates. They were all essentially my direct supervisor. Whenever, their plate got full and needed help to complete some of their responsibilities they would reach out to me for help. Working on projects from different people, I had to learn each one’s different preferences and the correct way to do something for one person might not be the correct way for another. They also provided valuable career advice as they were in my shoes just a few years ago.
The company had five VP/Partners. I was able to interact with them on a near daily basis. Seeing how their role compared to the analysts and associates was beneficial. Also, it was rewarding to see how some of the work I did made their life easier. Also, just having normal daily interaction with them showed me that even senior level executives are “normal” people.
- This experience was valuable to me as it gave me a step in the door in my ideal career. Not only is it an important resume builder, but it also confirmed my belief that working as an investment banker would be something I would enjoy. I enjoyed the work I was doing on and was impactful on businesses and people. I loved my internship and hopefully it will lead to a full-time position in the industry.
My role with Ohio Student Association was multi-faceted. It was titled the Cincinnati Regional coordinator. My main job description was to run the student portion of the get out the vote campaign for issue 1, while also trying to build long term commitment to community organizing. Another aspect of my job was to leverage my technical skills in computer science to build a functioning website that would better serve the needs of the organization and make it easier to connect to students.
My understanding of my limitations and capabilities shifted in this position. Whereas I walked into the position nervous about my ability to run the Cincinnati campus campaign by myself, I walked away from the experience having learned a lot about my strengths as a leader and my ability to pull people together around a cause. I also learned a lot about the best ways to build a new community on a campus. My perception of what working for a non-profit would be like also shifted. I used to see it as bureaucratic positions with drudge work that killed your passion for helping people, or at the very least burned you out.
In large part because of how small my non-profit was, I think that good leadership played a strong role in my perception of the organization and my changing perception of what working for a non-profit might look like. Because there were few employees stationed in Cincinnati, my ideas were formative to the plans made. My boss also gave me access to the decision making process, making me feel like my thoughts and considerations really mattered. In turn, I felt a lot of responsibility to the organization and to the cause, as if the decisions I made would impact how the campaign in Cincinnati played out.
I also had a lot of autonomy in how I scheduled my day and how I worked. This gave me insight into how burnout tends to be a combination of work pressure and personal habits. At the beginning of my internship, because of the thin separation between personal life and work life at this job, I felt like I was in a constant state of being on the clock. Much of my work flowed throughout my day, along with meetings being scheduled at any time of the day. Although I enjoyed the work, it was really difficult for me to make time for myself and take care of my personal needs. I knew that in a position like this for the long-term I would need to start practicing setting personal boundaries. I worked to start scheduling the time that I spent working and the time that I spent not working, and though I still felt unintentional pressure from my boss to keep working past those boundaries, I began the process of learning the most efficient way to work and still give myself time off.
Another thing that stuck out to me about the experience was about how different non-profits that we worked with had their own systems. Ohio Student Association, with its own funding sources and small ladder of command made it easier for me to interact with my boss and boss’s boss. At times, the person who ran the organization would come to see the work I was doing and we would get to talk about the future of the organization. At one point he and I had a conversation where we got to discuss what future employment with OSA might look like and a vision of the future of the organization. Other organizations with bloated structures and less personal interactions didn’t seem to have the same personal level of mentorship and as a result lacked in the personalized development opportunities.
This was a really important experience for me because it gave me an opportunity that I wouldn’t otherwise have to experience a field that is relatively separate from the world that computer science majors generally enter. Before we enter college, and sometimes throughout, we are fed a narrow definition of what success is and what job stability is, and the fear of failure makes it difficult to take opportunities that are off the beaten path. OSA and its incredible culture allowed me to see a non-profit opportunity that could combine my relevant skills with my passion for community organizing, and that’s an experience I will always be grateful for.