Originally published October 4, 2016
By Samuel Alvidrez
I had a great summer in New York City. I had the opportunity to be a Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) Asset Management intern, as well as a Chief Investment Office summer analyst at Merrill Lynch. I learned plenty of new technical and qualitative skills throughout the summer that have helped me grow as a finance professional, but more importantly, as a person.
I did an intensive two-week training with SEO prior the start of my internship at Merrill Lynch. The training consisted of 100 hours of online and in-person training covering technical skills including: Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, basic accounting and finance, and professional development skills relevant to asset management. This program provided the necessary mentorship, networking and training to be a successful intern throughout the summer and to get an offer to return. This program enabled me to meet and listen to public figures such as Henry Kravis, Jamie Dimon, Joe Plumeri and many others. This kind of exposure is unmatched, and I am extremely grateful for such an exciting experience.
At Merrill Lynch, I was placed in the Chief Investment Office with the Alternative Investments Due Diligence team. The job primarily consisted of doing research, analyses, calls, meetings and administrative tasks for the hedge fund and nontraditional mutual fund (NTMF) team. I had the opportunity to get world-class exposure to hedge funds and NTMFs through meetings and calls with portfolio managers across every strategy in the platform. I never imagined I would get that kind of exposure as an intern. The team consisted of around 20 talented but humble professionals in the industry. The culture within the bank and team was truly amazing and unmatched on “the Street,” as they would constantly emphasize the importance of values, family and integrity over anything else.
Overall, I feel blessed that I was able to live this top-tier experience over the summer. I used to dream about working on Wall Street, so I can finally say that hard work paid off. However, I am sure this is just the start of my journey. My biggest takeaway was that I need to find my true passion and talent, align them and work hard every day in order to become a successful individual in the future.
I will indeed miss my commute to the financial district every morning, because it was so easy to just admire the amazing Manhattan buildings and views. However, I am confident I will return one of these days.