Over the summer of my Junior year, I had a summer internship with Bank of America for 10 weeks, from June.3rd to Aug.9th 2019, in Charlotte NC. I applied for this internship program in August 2018, interviewed through September and received an offer in December. This project fits into the Internship category of the STEP program, and I’m glad to be able to finish the internship with the intellectual and financial assistance I gained from STEP.
The preparation of my STEP project, which in my case is the applications to internships, exerted a very profound impact on my understanding of myself and the American working environment. As an international student, gaining an internship opportunity is a very hard objective under the increasingly strict immigration regulations. Over the entire first semester of my junior year, I had been constantly applying for internship opportunities and doing interviews with companies. It was a very stressful time mentally and even physically. Overtime, I applied to nearly 200 roles from the financial, IT and consulting industries. Filling out applications, revising resumes and receiving rejection emails was an everyday sequence to me at that time. In fact, I believe most of my job applications were rejected due to the visa sponsorship issue, which made me even more disappointed. Nevertheless, I never gave up and kept looking for the tiniest opportunities. Fortunately, thanks to my affiliation with a CSE-related major (Data Analytics), I was eventually able to secure an internship with Bank of America.
Through the process, I had been constantly in touch with my STEP advisor, Dr. Minru Li, who supported me a lot mentally. In our conversations, we discussed how to better express my personality and capabilities, and more importantly, how to convert my identity as a Chinese student from a cultural disadvantage to a unique advantage over other candidates. Specifically, we discussed similarities and differences between the Chinese and American cultures and philosophies, and how to take advantage of my understanding of these ideas in conversations. Also, the four Professional Development Co-Curricular Programs I participated during my Sophomore year also supported me in various aspects, such as enriching interview experiences and effectively communicating with Data. Moreover, I really benefited a lot from the living off-campus session, because I was able to negotiate with my landlord to rent me the apartment for merely three months, which was unusual for the area I eventually lived in.
My role in Bank of America is Global Technology Analyst, and over the summer I have focused on project management, data remediation and database automation to support the bank’s technology developments and operations. This was indeed a very solid internship: I learned a lot about the American working culture and etiquettes; the projects I’ve been involved with were intellectually interesting to me; I enjoyed the working environment in the bank’s technology space. The only downside for this internship is that it was not quite related to my dream job, which is a quantitative analyst/researcher. Influenced by my major background of Finance and Data Analytics, I wanted to deal with the financial markets and the modeling side of the bank. However, most quant jobs either require a master’s degree from applicants or do not sponsor applicants’ visa for undergraduates, both of which make me ineligible. Although this was a hard truth for me to swallow, it strengthened my belief to take things slow and take advantage of my work after graduation as a gap year before pursuing a graduate degree. I think not rushing to get a graduate degree will definitely make my thoughts clearer and prompt me make a better decision regarding the graduate programs I eventually would apply to.
Besides my job duties, I was able to network with my colleagues extensively across Bank of America, especially with the OSU alums and quantitative analysts in the bank. It was my first time actually networking with professionals, and I was thrilled to find out how kind and friendly people could be in terms of helping the youngsters if we could show our modesty and desire to learn. Moreover, this was the first time I lived in a city other than Columbus within America, and I was amazed by the Buckeye alumni network and how the bonding could start just by talking about High Street. More importantly, from my coffee chats throughout the summer, I gained a decent overview of different functionalities and job requirements within the quantitative field of the bank. Besides banking knowledge, I heard a lot of their life stories and career choices and started to actually picture my own life and career plans.
After graduation, I will return to Bank of America to continue working as a Technology Analyst for one year or two, go to graduate school to learn more about Data Science or Financial Engineering, and then rejoin the American workforce. I’m currently planning to stay in the US at least for the next 5 years in my life, because I found myself a fit for the American working culture. I’m glad that I have independently come up with this plan based on my experience and knowledge. It is truly something special in my life.
This summer was the most transformational one for me in my life, because I lived by myself far away from my parents and friends, earned salaries and initiated connection with the real society, not just the campus. Also, I had an awesome experience as an intern and has planned out my future. Growing up as the only child in my family, my parents had more influence on me than everything else; also, from primary school to college, I have always been a good student, and thus everything happened seemed to be so natural and pre-determined. Although I really loved my childhood and teenage years, and I am satisfied with most of the decisions my family made in terms of schooling, I had never actually made a decision 100% independently. This internship, from the fierce application to the workplace adaptation, from living alone to extensively networking with others, really boosted my confidence to find a good living upon graduation. My parents, my friends are all proud of my accomplishment, and I can’t wait to share my experiences to help others make better decisions.