College Success

Mind the Gap (Year): Get Ahead On Your Internship

After completing an unusual 2020 Spring semester, many of my colleagues chose to take a gap year. They wanted to wait until the fog clears up to continue school and navigate their careers.

As a rising junior, fearing I wouldn’t be able to break ground into the world of finance at the “right time,” and I was tempted to do the same. Conventionally, students interested in finance gain corporate internship experience during their sophomore summer and leverage those experiences for their junior summer internship in finance.

In the current situation, it seemed as if securing both a sophomore and junior summer internship was impossible as many economic activities were discouraged.

What Matters Most to Me?

While wrestling with the idea of taking a gap year, I asked myself if there was something I would rather do. This made me realize that I actually enjoyed my current pace in college, had classes I wanted to take next semester, and that I had a clear career interest that I am preparing for. Taking a gap year would only mean following the herd for me because I didn’t have anything I’d rather do.

I also realized that I may have an edge on the internship market if I use the summer wisely. In fact, the summer of 2020 could be an excellent opportunity to differentiate myself from others.

I contemplated the fact that many of the opportunities available that summer would be remote, and realized that this allows people to work without physically having to be in places. This is how I decided to pursue two experiences during the summer: a virtual internship and an independent research.

Leveraging My Network

Through applying for multiple opportunities, I was eventually able to join the business development team of a small firm based in New York City. Then, I reached out to one of my Economics professors at Mount Holyoke College to ask if he could mentor my independent research project.

With his help, I was able to conduct research as a primary researcher on my question of interest, “COVID-19s Impact on Consumer Behavior and Business Strategies.”

My internship experience allowed me to participate in growing a business, and my research experience allowed me to gain insight into the current situation of businesses and consumer perceptions on their consumption habits.

Setting Myself Up for Success

With my experiences, I was able to gain a deeper understanding of the current economy and businesses. This growth led me to eventually secure an internship for my junior summer in finance I got an offer in the Sales and Trading Division of one the Big Five Canadian bank’s New York office!

2020 was full of uncertainties and decision makings we never had to encounter in the past. While we continue in these uncertainties, I encourage students to focus on their inner voice and don’t fear making an unpopular decision it’s what makes you stand out!

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