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What it’s like to intern at a trading firm…

Over the past two weeks I interned at a Trading firm called Belvedere Trading. Going into this experience, I had no idea what to expect. I wasn’t exactly sure what they were going to have me do, if I was going to be the only intern, what to bring, or how much they expected from me. The first day I made sure I was prepared for anything. I packed my bag with things from paper and pens to a mini stapler (no, as it turns out, I did not end up needing the mini stapler, but it is always good to be over-prepared). When I arrived, there were about 10 other intense-looking interns. We were all instructed to sit and wait until we were brought up to a conference room for orientation. I was so intimidated by all of the other interns because I was the only high school student there, but I was pleasantly surprised when all of them treated me as an equal.

After orientation, I was brought to the Business Intelligence team, where I worked the whole time. The first thing I learned is that adaptability is essential. I learned this lesson on the go as my manager familiarized me with the projects I was about to attempt (very little of what he said I was able to comprehended). No matter where you go, every company is going to speak a different language. There will be terms and phrases that would only make sense to someone in that company. I thought that I needed to go into this experience completely prepared, yet there are certain things that you just cannot prepare yourself for (and I learned that that’s ok!). Being prepared mentally for whatever is to come is where you can be prepared.

The second thing I learned is that people are more willing to help than one might think. I was so nervous that I would be given a task and would be expected to know exactly how to do it right away. I realized no one is  expecting you to know everything, and as long as you try your best to solve the problem on your own first — maybe do a quick google search too – most will be happy to answer any leftover questions that you have. After all, you’re there to learn. One of the projects I was given involved coding, and I have never coded before… As you can imagine, I started panicking a little because I was nervous that they expected me to know how to code. I was sent a link to learn SQL, a code for collecting and processing data, to teach myself in order to complete my next project. I was surprised to learn how important technology and coding could be within a trading firm and the business world in general so learn to code, it’s the future! And more generally, use every opportunity you can to expand your knowledge. Throughout my whole experience, my preconceived notions were constantly being proven wrong. When going into a new situation don’t overthink it.

If you’re walking into an internship, or any new, unfamiliar situation, just remember to be prepared (mentally), be your best self, make connections with new people, and make the most out of every opportunity you get! And finally, remember that things will probably turn out completely different from what you thought that they would be.

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