STEP Reflection

Type of Project: Internship
1. I interned in the Denver area at an institutional consulting firm that designs corporate retirement plans. I interned in the performance analytics department and assisted in updating investment returns for the consulting department to use in client meetings. Overall, my duties can be summed up as providing quarterly and ad hoc investment reporting.
2. I realized how important it is for corporations to have an investment advisor such as Cook Street that has the clients’ best interests in mind and doesn’t engage in self-dealing. Cook Street has very high standards and is a 100% employee-owned, independent, fiduciary firm. Many firms that provide similar services to Cook Street do not meet this criterion and cheat clients out of money without them knowing. By working at a firm such as Cook Street, my personal values increased as well. It reinforced my belief that life isn’t always about profit. Ethics come first which is something I saw from the top-down at Cook Street.
Personally, I realized that I want to continue to work in the financial services industry in the future. I also realized that I want to work for a firm that has a collegial and open culture so that I can continually develop professionally. By being completely away from friends and family for a summer, I was able to learn what it’s like to start in a new city. It wasn’t easy, but I gained valuable experiences that I will put into practice whenever I live in a new city in the future.
3. During my first week at Cook Street, I had education sessions with one of the workers. He made it clear from the very beginning what Cook Street’s beliefs were and how they operate as a company.
Furthermore, during each of the weekly meetings, one person would present on one of the operating principles of Cook Street. I remember how one employee presented on how he noticed another employee going above and beyond to keep things as ethical as possible.
It is interesting, because in finance, sometimes certain things are legal to do, but not necessarily ethical. Cook Street goes above and beyond by taking ethically making decisions above all.
Going to the grocery store on my own, cooking for myself, developing new friends at social events were just a few of the events that led to the transformations described in #2. Initially, these experiences put me out of my comfort zone, but as I adapted to my new environment, it became very rewarding.
4. By not only hearing the importance of ethical practices, but also observing it on a daily basis, it has instilled an even stronger moral compass in myself and will help me in all aspects of life.
It will help me when I am looking for future jobs because I will be able to better spot companies who are acting ethically. I know that a lot of companies say they act ethically.
However, that is very different from actually acting ethically as a whole. I think being able to work at a company that acts ethically is very important to my development as a professional and as a person.