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: Sydney Levy
Graduation Year: 2020
Major(s): Finance and Public Relations
Hometown: Port Washington, NY
Intern Company/Title: Citigroup – Summer Markets Analyst (Sales and Trading)
Describe your position and some of your daily tasks?
As a summer markets analyst, I gained exposure to what it will be like to work with different teams and financial products by completing three rotations on trading floors. Over my 10-week internship, I rotated through FX Institutional and Cross Asset Sales, Structured Products Solutions, and U.S. High Yield Credit Trading. My daily tasks involved shadowing sales and trading professionals, pitching trade ideas, preparing emails to update teams about current events, and participating in intern-specific events.
How did you land your internship?
I landed the internship through the Whitman alumni network at Citi. I met a few alums in Citi’s markets division by attending networking events hosted by Whitman in New York City. Giuseppe Castelli ’16 and Matteo Nadalutti ’18 were exceptionally helpful. They saw the potential in me before I even saw it in myself, and I am very grateful that they invested time and energy in mentoring me because they truly made me understand what it takes to excel in this industry. They also introduced me to other Whitman alumni in sales and trading, as well as others involved in the recruitment process. I researched the company and prepped for the interviews as much as possible, but the Whitman network at Citi were consistently there to help me prep by conducting mock interviews with me.
What did you learn from your internship experience?
I refined my qualitative and quantitative skills through this internship experience. Having strong interpersonal skills is crucial. Learning how to approach people and when to ask questions was important. I also focused on my analytical skills through the projects that I was assigned, such as working on individual stock pitches and group case studies. The salespeople emphasized the importance of knowing who the clients are, understanding their investment preferences and highlighting the most relevant information for them to make investment decisions. The traders stressed the significance of taking risks to profit and avoid losses on their trade positions. Overall, it was fascinating to see how the salespeople and traders collaborate on the trading floor to execute orders for clients like hedge funds.
Has your experience changed your plans or career choice when you leave college?
I had a positive internship experience, which led to a job offer. I accepted because I realized the internship, company culture and people completely exceeded my expectations. I am looking forward to returning to Citi as a full-time markets analyst after graduation. Being able to go back to school and appreciate senior year with a full-time job is an incredibly rewarding feeling, and I am very thankful for the ongoing support from the Whitman alumni at Citi, because I know that I would not be in this position without them!
How will your internship experience help you after graduation?
The internship helped me learn more about the types of tasks that I will perform as a full-time markets analyst. I was able to observe and learn from the first-year analysts, which was helpful because I will be in their position next year. It showed me what will be expected of me once I am licensed and working on a particular desk.
I am glad I had this internship experience because it exposed me to the resources and skills that I will need to continue to familiarize myself with. It was also beneficial to be trained and use the Bloomberg terminals because it is the major software that sales and trading professionals use to access news and communicate with each other.
How has the Whitman School prepared you for your internship?
Whitman does a great job of preparing students for internships through the rigorous curriculum, between the core classes and major electives. My education has helped me figure out how to manage my time under pressure, by meeting deadlines for group projects and presentations while also studying for exams. Whitman’s intense course load makes students amazing multi-taskers, which has allowed me to thrive in dynamic industries, such as the financial services industry. Specifically, as finance is becoming a more automated field, Whitman has been on top of responding to these changes by introducing coding and analytics classes that I am currently taking to help me sharpen my technical skills.
I feel like Whitman students have an advantage over other interns who were not business majors, because I felt a little more comfortable with the language and concepts being used. However, outside of the classes, it is also important to stay up-to-date with current events by watching and reading the news. Additionally, I am fortunate enough to have had some of the most phenomenal professors who have inspired me to major in finance and encouraged me to pursue a career in markets. (Shout out to professors John Petosa, Fatma Sonmez-Leopold and David Weinbaum).
What did you enjoy most about your experience?
I truly enjoyed the trading floor atmosphere every day because it is extremely fast-paced and stimulating. There was never a dull moment this summer! The sales and trading professionals contributed to my learning experience because they allowed me to sit with them and absorb what they were doing daily.
Do you have any advice to students who are looking for an internship?
The finance recruitment process happens early and quickly, so my advice is to be on top of the application deadlines and start networking. Attend Whitman networking events! Whitman on Wall Street and Finance Forum are great opportunities to make connections early on and stay in touch with them. It is important to establish and maintain these relationships because the alumni are there to help you.
Whether you are looking for a finance internship or not, companies do not expect you to know everything. The way to stand-out is to illustrate how you are passionate, humble, personable, energetic and are a quick learner. It is important to know how to talk about what differentiates you as a candidate.