Auditing an investment bank and training at PwC

I spent the last week on training, spending about 8 hours a day going through the content that any successful intern should know with a Senior Manager.  We had these sessions in rooms with about 20 interns. Excel was a big portion of our training, as we were encouraged to become more efficient in our work. To my surprise, a significant number of associates at the Firm are able to navigate their computer without ever touching their mouse. This seems impossible to me, but then again, being able to type without ever looking at the keyboard seemed just as hard back when I was nine. However, not everything from last week was work; as PwC is a strong believer of work hard and play hard. On Friday, PwC invited all workers and interns to Madison Square Garden for Promotion Day. We had the opportunity to hear from our CEO, Market Leaders, and from Trevor Noah, host of the Daily Show! After which, we had happy-hours/social events that lasted about 4 hours; first near the Empire State (everyone at the firm) and later in a boat near the financial district (everyone in my team -Banking and Capital Markets). It was a wonderful first week.

Going forward, I will be spending my time between Madison 300 in midtown Manhattan and Goldman Sachs Tower in Jersey City. as there will be tasks that I can only do at home office, while others at the client (most of them). While most audit internships have their interns work in multiple clients from different industries within a few weeks, an audit internship in a major city is quite different. This is because in big cities, audit teams become more specialized. In fact, in some cases, audit associates can spend series of years with the same client, as this have complicated business operations and financial products. As a member of the Banking and Capital Markets team, my client is an investment bank, and my first assignment surrounds its broker-dealer operations. Right now the team is working in assessing the key risks of our client, and trying to understand their business processes. This is because we have just started this year’s audit. Even though I am an intern, I am being given meaningful and challenging work. Tomorrow I will sit in a meeting with one of our senior associates and the client’s internal audit team to learn more about how derivatives are sold and the process through which commissions are recorded in this bank. Our main goal is not to make sure that the client is taking appropriate risks, but that the recognition of revenue through each activity is appropriate.

I will blog more about the work itself in the future, but to conclude, I wanted to talk about my team. Despite our client being able to bring billions of dollars in their IB operations, we are a team of only 12 individuals in this office as of now. This means that we all get to collaborate in about everything that we do. In fact, we don’t have an office, but a conference room, where we sit around a big table and talk through the challenges that we encounter.

For the first time, I am in a group of people where having an accent is the normal, as there are more people from outside the US than there are US Citizens. We have a SA from Madrid, a SA from Pakistan, a Partner from the UK, an associate from Russia, an associate from Portugal, a manager from Canada, and and intern from Mexico (me), while the rest of the team are US citizens (one of which lived 10 years in the UK). I really like where my career is going.

 

 

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Importance of A Safety Net

Work in any industry is always at least somewhat unpredictable. In the film industry, at least in the beginning of a career, this is especially true. Unlike other entry-level jobs, Production Assistants in film have no long-term contract or even a company to say they work for. Your job is only really secure for half a year at most, and even then, Production Assistants are hired and fired all the time (though, if you do a good job, the firing part shouldn’t be part of your career).

Thus, its vitally important for every Production Assistant and every wannabe Production Assistant to have a safety net in case things go wrong. This is especially important for those who don’t have health insurance/aren’t covered by their parents’ health insurance. Thankfully, I’m covered, so that’s an expense I don’t have to worry about.

When people talk about safety nets, they usually say you should have enough to cover 3-6months of normal expenses. This amount always seemed like kind of a stretch to me, until now.

Let me start off by saying that I consider myself a financially savvy person. Now, that doesn’t mean I have a bunch of investments (though I’m getting there) or things like that, but I keep a detailed Excel spreadsheet with my budget per semester, and for this job, I’m doing it month by month. Basically, I keep my budget in terms of each saving period. So for school, I only need to spend a lot of money twice a year (before fall and spring semester), as I lived in the residence halls freshman-junior year. Now that I have an apartment where big expenses occur each month, I’ve set it up that way. I like doing this for multiple reasons:

One, the peace of mind is great. I can see how much I’ve saved up so far, and how much I still need to make to meet my goals. There’s no guesswork involved. It also allows me to see exactly how much spending money I have, so I can’t overspend unless I consciously do it (and that does happen sometimes, I will admit).

Having this budget also allows me to see and plan for my future expenses, like rent, car payments, etc. and put money in my savings in the event of unexpected expenses.

For me, my unexpected expenses came in the form of a job offer in Georgia. With a little over a month’s notice, I had to find and apartment, get a car, and move 600 miles from Columbus to Atlanta.

Without the savings buffer I built myself, I don’t think I would have been able to make the move. Little expenses kept piling up—everything from plungers to mattress toppers. There is always something that comes up that I need to buy, and I won’t get my first paycheck for two weeks. Also, this gives me a buffer for the beginning of the month, when I have to pay the majority of July’s expenses on the first of July.

Long story short, make sure you’re saving. A little bit goes a long way, and someday when you need to dig into those savings, you’ll be glad you did. My savings buffer will be enough to get me through three months pf expenses with a bit of wiggle room if I need it. Had I not been putting money aside every paycheck, I definitely wouldn’t have had enough to be where I am today.

How is It Already June?

As I finish up the fourth week of my internship I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. Over the past few weeks, I’ve learned a lot about office etiquette, accounting and finance, and most importantly how many times it is socially acceptable to eat at Chipotle for lunch (the limit does not exist).

Throughout the few weeks I’ve been here I’ve also learn a few important practices to make the most of a summer internship.

During the first few weeks I spent a lot of time working with an analyst and associate as they walked me through some of their common assignments. Although I was basically just watching, I realized how important it is to take advantage of this time and ask questions about what I’m unsure of as well as take notes on processes that I might forget. This enabled me to feel much more comfortable when working on my own and helped me to make sure my deliverables were properly formatted and accurate.

I also learned the importance of double and triple check ALL of your work. This principle is crucial in any internship and on any deliverable, email, and even rough draft. In my experience, it’s always better to take an additional minute and check your work to avoid mistakes like sending your superior “SIGNED” documents labeled as “SINGED” documents.

Lastly, I learned that there might be times during an internship when you feel like you aren’t doing anything important. Although it can be tempting to want to go home early on nights when you aren’t that busy, I’ve learned that its far more beneficially to stay and continue working on tedious work. By staying a little later with my co-worker, I’ve been able to help with more projects and really make the most of my experience.

Just Another Day at the Office

Yesterday I am sitting at my desk around 8 AM getting acclimated for the day as I normally do by catching up on the news for the day by reading the Wall Street Journal, sorting through emails and printing out some reports to get started on a few deliverables for my team. As I am in the middle of all this one of the associates comes over and tells me that some of the lawyers that work closely with our group are in town from Atlanta and that they are taking our team out to dinner tonight. He then invites me to come along. Aside from the fact that I am a college student open to getting a free meal whenever I can, I accept this invitation because I thought it would be an awesome opportunity to get to know the members of my team better outside of the office as well as connect with some of Key’s business partners. Fifteen minutes later, one of the senior bankers comes over and informs me that he is going out of town on Thursday and needs to stay in the office all day tomorrow to finish up some work before he heads out and therefore will be unable to play golf with the Atlanta lawyers. He asks me to fill his spot in the golf outing. Without hesitation I let him know that I would love to play in his place. About ten minutes later he forwards me an email that has all of the info I need for the tee time. Little did I know, I had just signed up to play golf at Firestone Country Club, the home of the World Golf Championship’s Bridgestone Invitational! You can only imagine how pumped I was.

After listening in on several conference calls regarding some of the deals my team was working on, I wrapped up my work for the day and headed over to the restaurant with the rest of my group to meet up with the lawyers. We enjoyed a nice meal about fifteen minutes outside of downtown in a suburb called Independence and I had the opportunity to connect with the attorneys as well as get to know my team in a social setting. I fit right in with everyone and I realized that I had made a great decision in accepting an internship for the summer with Key. Everyone’s friendliness and hospitality affirmed the welcoming and open culture that I had been told Key had during my recruitment process. After dinner I headed back to my apartment to watch the Cavs put together a dominant victory in Game 5 of the NBA Finals and went to bed earlier than usual since I had to get up at 6 AM the next day for our tee time.

I rode over to Firestone with one of the associates in our group. Upon arriving I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning. We had an absolutely perfect day for golf at an immaculate venue. The grounds crew had already set up the grand stands for the Bridgestone Invitational, which will happen in a few weeks, and the course was in excellent condition. I took some warmups at the driving range and on the practice green with the members of my group for the day and I could barely contain my excitement to finally tee off. As I approached the tee I was definitely intimidated by my surroundings. I felt like a PGA Pro with the bleachers surrounding me and the massive Rolex clock next to the tee box. I even had a a caddy guiding me around the course offering me club suggestions, fairway specs and reading the greens for me before every putt. Besides the fact that I was nervous as all be playing with some of our partners and my superiors, I ended up playing the best out of our foursome and shot an 88. I had to pinch myself a few times to remember that not only was I playing an incredible course, but I was technically at work and getting paid to do something that I love.

Once we finished the round, all the groups met up back at the clubhouse and we had lunch together before the lawyers had to head over to the airport to fly back to Atlanta. This was truly an unforgettable day and an opportunity that I definitely do not take for granted. I am so fortunate to have been placed in an internship that allows me to take part in fun activities like these. Slightly depressed remembering that tomorrow I had to go back to the office and actually work, I headed back to my apartment for the day and rested up. Overall, I think I am going to like this whole banking thing.

 

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When the Interns Become Friends

You always hear people say, “If you love the place you work, you will never work a day in your life.” Well, it’s not that simple. Everyone in the whole building doesn’t automatically become your friend and you definitely aren’t automatically the best at everything you do. To throw another cliché out there, it takes practice.

You don’t have to become best friends with your co-workers but at the very least, it’s good to have a few people to have lunch or walk out to your car with. That sense of camaraderie isn’t always easy as an intern, especially if you are the only intern in your department. Through most of the day I am either working with full time associates or at my desk working independently. So I’ve learned that if you want to get to know your fellow interns, it’s up to you!

5 Ways to Have a More Enjoyable Internship with your Co-workers:

1) Facebook: Luckily the HR team made a Facebook page a few months before we started so that we could get to know each other. Now, it’s not like I messaged each intern and asked about their lifelong goals and aspirations before even meeting them, but I did help a few find housing near OSU’s campus.

2) GroupMe: Another intern asked for people to leave their numbers on the Facebook page so she could create a GroupMe. We use this almost everyday to ask if anyone wants to have lunch together.

A screenshot of our GroupMe planning our daily lunch!

A screenshot of our GroupMe planning our daily lunch!

3) Lunch: At DSW there is a huge cafeteria, so a group of the interns and I have started to have lunch together around noon everyday. Have a set time that becomes precedent so if you are free, everyone always feels welcome to join!

4) Happy Hour: Start to get together outside of work. If you don’t want to plan a big event to the zoo or a baseball game, start with drinks or appetizers for an hour or two after work. It’s a great way to get to know each other outside of the workplace. PSA: Deep Fried Mac and Cheese Bites at Fourth Street are amazing.

5) Fun Events: If you know other interns who are in a new city, don’t forget to show them around town, or conversely, ask the local interns to show you around! This past Memorial Day weekend another intern and I went to a country concert at The Bogey. Last week, some of us went to King Makers which is a board game parlor — sounds weird, I know, but super fun!

Another intern, Macy, and I at a Kane Brown concert. She brought the idea up to me at a Happy Hour. It was a blast!

Another intern, Macy, and I at a Kane Brown concert. She brought the idea up to me at a Happy Hour. It was a blast!

Some interns and I (I'm taking the picture because I looked super gross that day) at King Makers!

DSW Interns at King Makers!

Overall, if you want to have a good relationship with your coworkers make sure that you are initiating get-togethers, trust me, people will follow.