Internship Experience: Perri Vimadalal, ETF & Index Investing Intern at BlackRock

In this “Internship Experience” blog post series, we will be featuring the profile and thoughts of our students from Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management as they return from summer internships.

Name: Perri Vimadalal
Graduation Year: May 2020
Major(s): Finance / Marketing Management
Minor: Political Science
Hometown: Weston, Massachusetts
Intern Company/Title: BlackRock – ETF & Index Investing Summer Analyst 

Describe your position and some of your daily tasks? 
As a Summer Analyst in the ETF & Index Investing Department (EII), I was part of a rotational program where I held roles on the EII Institutional Sales team and the EII Global Strategy Team. Gaining exposure to both departments within iShares allowed me to gain experience in client relations, hedge fund prospecting, along with consulting-based strategy and competitive analyses. 

On the sales team, some of my responsibilities included identifying and presenting custom investment solutions for single and multi-family offices, analyzing the top 30 hedge fund clients for iShares and developing an efficient way to organize potential leads for the sales team. My main project challenged me to identify particular investment solutions for client channels that demonstrate my knowledge of iShares products, particularly the benefit of smart beta solutions within portfolios. 

During my time on the global strategy team, my responsibilities were broader and more analytical as I worked with data to complete daily inflow/outflow visuals, identifying growth opportunities and analyzing industry trends. Side projects of mine consisted of creating detailed reviews on competitive investment strategies affecting the ETF landscape, particularly rising interest in robo-advisors and direct indexing. My main project gave me the opportunity to lead and present a global Invesco competitive analysis to help iShares define and support the business’s long-term goals. 

How did you land your internship?
I got my internship through applying on BlackRock’s website for the Summer Analyst role. The application allows you to pick two different sectors of the company that you are interested in, which is where I chose ETFs & Index Investing. I completed a video cover letter and was so excited to be invited for a first-round interview shortly after! There were two rounds of interviews, one being a video interview and the final interviews in the NYC office. Finally, after completing all rounds I received an offer for the internship. 

What did you learn from your internship experience?
My internship experience taught me so much about the working world, exposing me to the NYC lifestyle, along with developing my soft and technical skills. Throughout my time at BlackRock, I felt as if I was constantly pushed outside of my comfort zone, which helped me develop my networking skills, along with my analytical skills and industry knowledge. This internship hosted so many educational meetings for all the interns to learn about certain topics within the finance industry and ETF landscape. I came out of this experience with an immense amount of knowledge and confidence in who I am as a professional. 

Has your experience changed your plans or career choice when you leave college?
Yes, my experience here has changed my plans in a positive way! I was fortunate enough to receive a return offer and am working at BlackRock as a full-time analyst beginning in August 2020. I absolutely loved my experience at the company during the summer and am so excited to join the team full time after graduating!

How will your internship experience help you after graduation?
Considering I am joining the company following graduation, I feel as if my experience this past summer has been extremely beneficial. I have grown so much through my internship experience, that the confidence I have in myself will help me succeed in the future. In addition to the knowledge I gained and people I met, I know that I will be challenged to grow as a professional and be able to contribute to the success of a company I am passionate about after graduation. 

How has the Whitman School prepared you for your internship?
Whitman has helped me prepare for my internship in many ways. Beyond the course load and knowledge I have gained, Whitman truly emphasizes the importance of teamwork and involvement. Throughout my undergraduate career, I have gained experience in working on teams in almost every class and have developed my communication and leadership skills. Additionally, organizations I have been involved in through my time at Whitman has helped me pursue what I am passionate about and expand my network from students to professors and advisors. 

What did you enjoy most about your experience?
After reflecting on my summer internship, the aspect that I truly enjoyed the most was the people I met. My experience would have been entirely different if I didn’t value the relationships I made the way I do today. I absolutely loved the culture of the company and building my relationships with people through learning from them and getting to know them as individuals. 

Do you have any advice to students who are looking for an internship?
For those students who are looking for internships, I would tell them to cast a wide net and apply to several different types of roles and industries. Being so young in our careers, there is so much we can learn from any experience and applying to a narrow set of roles limits us from experiencing positions we may not know we like! Additionally, I would say apply to many positions, make every cover letter & application detailed and put in the effort you would to all roles as if it was your dream position. 

Kimmy Kimball