Desk Must Haves, Tips & More!

I’m 20 years old, have no kids, and yet my roommates all call me “Mom.” Seriously, sometimes I answer better to Mom than my own name. One of those reasons is that I’m always the one to have a random Band-Aid or tissue in my purse. So why should my desk at work be any different? Check out my list below of the top 12 things to keep at your desk. Most of these can be found in mini versions in the travel section of Target or Meijer! And don’t forget to decorate your desk a little too, you may only be there for a few months but you won’t feel as temporary with a desk that feels like your own!

  1. Sweater: When the AC is on full blast the marketing department turns into the tundra. Bring a neutral color cardigan/sweater/jacket to work and always keep it at your desk for those extra chilly days!
  2. Cough drops & tissues: To avoid death glares from your coworkers when you are sick or have allergies, always have cough drops, tissues & hands sanitizer with you. Slide5
  3. Ibuprofen: This isn’t middle school anymore and you can’t go to the nurse’s office for your headache. You also probably shouldn’t go home unless you are actually sick. Keep some medicine in your desk just in case.

    More than once other interns have asked our GroupMe for help. It always feels great to be able to help them out!

    More than once other interns have asked our GroupMe for help. It always feels great to be able to help them out!

  4. Lotion: Lots of lotion. I’m obsessed with lotion. That’s all.
  5. Gum/Listerine strips/mints/toothbrush: You should have at least one of the mentioned in easy reach so when you decide to get the garlic potatoes for lunch everyone at your 1:00 meeting isn’t backing away from the conference table.

    Here is the little travel kit that I keep in a drawer at my desk with all my necessities!

    Here is the little travel kit that I keep in a drawer at my desk with all my necessities!

  6. Lint roller: If you have a pet or lint just seems to like you, make sure you keep a lint roller handy to keep you from looking like a mess. You can buy mini ones in the travel section of Target!
  7. Band-Aids: My shoe obsession has its consequences and besides eating my paycheck, sometimes it means blisters. Keep a few Band-Aids in your desk for the heels you know are a bad idea but look so cute with your outfit. Beauty over pain, right?
  8. Water bottle/travel mug: Don’t kill the environment with your 3 Styrofoam cups a day. Also, these have lids so you won’t spill. Or is it just me who still can’t be trusted with a cup without a lid?
  9. Plant: I don’t have a window near me and also am not great at keeping things alive so I opted for a bamboo stalk! Just pick something green to brighten up your desk!


    Check out my bamboo stalk in the corner! I think its probably only grown about 1/2′ in the past 2 months. Am I doing something wrong?!

  10. Pictures: So you can remember that one of the reasons you are working is to afford fun things with all your friends and family.
  11. Deodorant: I won’t go into detail but a few weeks ago I unpacked 18 boxes of super heavy promotional items, so….
  12. Food: This last item shouldn’t need an explanation, but I’ll give it one anyway. I love food. Food passes time and is delicious. Food makes me happy. Good enough?


    Not going to lie, this is one of the most delicious cookies I’ve ever had.


Share in the comments section what other “must haves” are at your desk!


* Fact: No matter your position, there is no greater feeling than clearing a printer jam that no one else can figure out.

**Tip of the day: Introduce yourself! Even if you still don’t know the name of the person who sits at the desk next to you, it’s not too late! You never know when you will meet someone who is from your hometown, college or who is just plain awesome!

***Embarrassing (long) moment:

As I’ve said before, I mail out shoe samples to editors of magazines. The mail is normally picked up from our building at 3:30 and taken to our mailroom to be labeled and shipped out. However, I had a last minute shipment that needed to be overnighted and I missed the pick up. So I called the mailroom and they said I could still drop it off, I said I would be there in 5 minutes.

After standing in the empty mailroom for 10 minutes, I suddenly realized that I wasn’t actually in the mailroom. Sadly, most people had left work since it was pretty late on a Friday. I finally found someone who told me that the mailroom was in the Distribution Center (building next to mine).

This is the DC!

This is the DC!

So I walked into the DC aimlessly for a good 5 minutes until I found a security guard. He told me to go outside and click the buzzer to the mailroom doors. So naturally I walked around the corner of the building, looked for another 10 minutes for the buzzer and came back in to tell the security guard that no button existed. Long story short, the security guard then escorts me to the mailroom and there definitely is a buzzer. Apparently I’m just oblivious.

The man who works in the mailroom that I called, now 30 minutes ago, saw me coming and told me he figured I was lost! Whelp, at least I’ll never do that again

Midsummer Internship Check-in

I thought it would be a piece of cake to fit in plenty of these posts, but I’m in week 8/12 in my internship and this is just my second! I’m sure you’ve been on the edge of your seat waiting, so don’t worry! Post 2 is here.

The internship experience here has been great here at Fidelity. Not much coding, mostly finding people(the right ones) to talk to so that I can create a useful final deliverable (a presentation for senior management on the project I’ve been working on). It’s been a ton of me finding out what I should be doing, the whole project has been directly in my hands really. This has been good and bad. Good because I have learned a ton and enjoyed the investigative process and freedom to choose my research resources myself, bad because it can be overwhelming at times when you hit a dead end. But I think that is similar to nearly all open ended internship projects where you either sink or swim entirely based on the effort you put in. I didn’t anticipate how much work my project would be at the start of the internship, which has lead me to playing some catch up currently, but that’s just one of the many lessons I have learned in this internship.

The biggest tips I can give are be ready for a large workload and stay focused (what I’ve struggled with the most) and use people as resources as much as possible (been a little better at this). I struggled to focus because let’s be real, it’s summer, and I’ve never spent a summer inside at a desk before. The first 6 weeks or so I didn’t do a good enough job seeking out work for myself, and coasted a lot of the time which put me in a bad spot now with four weeks to go. If I’d paced myself and asked my boss better questions in regard to how I could stay involved, I wouldn’t have to be working with a sense of urgency at this point in the summer. On the other hand, I’ve been very good at meeting people and going out of my way to ask questions and talk to higher level workers. I met with a SVP the other day and he gave me a lot of his time and advice that had helped him, mostly because I was the first intern to go out of the way to talk to him this summer. He saw that I am motivated and willing to learn, and gave me extremely helpful advice and face time. That’s really all it takes at the end of the day, not being afraid to meet someone new and asking as many questions as possible when you are with that person.

That’s all for now. If you want to contact me I put some contact info in the previous email. I’ll do one or two more posts this summer, feel free to give me feedback on how you think my writing was, and whether you enjoyed it or not. Until next time!

What TO Wear

Let me preface this blog post right away, this definitely isn’t what to wear to an interview and probably not even what to wear to your internship. DSW has a very casual environment, which I love. So here are a few of my favorite outfits I’ve worn to work!

Also, I’m not a fashion blogger or a model, this is just to show how DSW’s culture is reflected by what people wear to work!

  1. Yes, people at DSW wear jeans and not just on Friday! However, there is a difference between the jeans you’ve had for 4 years with fading and giant holes in them and jeans for the workplace. When in doubt, go for very dark denim!Slide2
  2. Dresses or skirt lengths should be longer than your fingertips. I pack and ship boxes a few times a day to various magazines and you don’t want any incidents when bending down to pick something up!IMG_8576
  3. When it’s extra hot outside, it’s extra cold inside. I keep a cardigan in my desk drawer for those over air-conditioned days! Pick something in a neutral color that can go with whatever outfit you have that day. Mine is grey!
  4. Some places have a strict closed toed shoe rule; luckily DSW is not one of them.Slide1
  5. DSW loves their athleisure shoes and so do I! A lot of places of work would probably frown upon you wearing your Converse, Keds or Vans to work but tons of people here do. It’s wonderful (especially since I have a standing desk), no stilettos for me please!

Remember that it is always best to overdress. It might be worth asking what employees typically wear before you start your internship, even a distinction from “business professional” to “business casual” can lead you in the right direction. Dress up for the first day and then take it from there! Each company has it’s own unique culture!

Fun Fact:

Each printer at DSW is named after a different shoe. I normally print to “Platform Pumps!”

Tip of the day:

Don’t sign an email “xoxo.” Apparently this has to be taught? I have indeed received this from a person who has been in the business world a lot longer than myself (don’t worry, they didn’t work at DSW). Seriously, I just met you through email and you sign your name with hugs and kisses?

Embarrassing moment:

I normally don’t listen to music at my desk but I had been working on a project in Excel for over an hour and needed to wake up. So, I plug my headphones in and click to Pandora (“90s, 2000s, Today’s Hits Radio” of course). The song goes on for about 10 seconds until I realize that I plugged my earphones into my computer and not my phone (see what Excel does to me?) and everyone heard me jamming to “Dirty Little Secret” by the All-American Rejects.

A Day at Work

I wanted to use this blog to share my experience doing audit work. Please note that my audit experience may be different from others, since client industry (retail, banking, asset management, energy, manufacturing, etc.) and office location heavily influence the type of work you will do. For instance, while it is very common for most audit interns to count inventory, my client group has no inventory to be counted. Furthermore, while smaller offices allow associates to work in “general audit” groups, where professionals get to work with clients from multiple sectors, offices such as NY will require their workforce to specialize in an industry, in some cases, placing associates with the same client for years (financial industry clients can be complex entities). Having said that, the overall audit goal is mostly the same.

– My Day –

GS Tower, Client Site

GS Tower, Client Site

6:40am: Shower and get ready to be out by 7:30. I need to make my way to the client office, which is located in Jersey City, right across the financial district. To do that I make my way to the World Trade Center and arrive through the PATH to GS Tower, where one of RBC Capital Markets office is located.

8:40: I get to the office, the view is beautiful. I can see both Lady Liberty and Wall Street from the floor we are in. I get to the meeting room we are stationed in and set my computer, go through emails and make sure I am on top of things

9:20: Everyone is cooking; working in different parts of the audit. Right now we are working in the planning stage, which means understanding the client’s way of doing business, their processes and delivery methods. We record everything that we are given and test their validity by performing calculations. For me this consists of reading through walkthrough diagrams, write briefs on them, and trace documents that explain how these processes work. I have done this for repos, futures and securities trading. Everything is then uploaded to PwC’s audit application.

It may seem that the audit profession is very structured, but this is not fully true. Although people do have specific assigned tasks by the team leader, they may find that they need to obtain files from the client, make calls, and work with other members as they go through their duties. Often people juggle duties, one moment you may be auditing a valuation model, and the next you can be reconciling commission fees. People have to be flexible in this profession. It feels like a crash course into the business of your client.

12:30 Lunch, we all talk and get to know each other. Food is great btw. One of the benefits of joining PwC is that their clients are top notch, and thus we get to utilize their resources when we work from their office.

1:20 I continue working in reconciliations, particularly for trading operations. I also get to help out with regulatory requirements. While I do this I get to learn a lot of the details of how Investment Banks actually work and the regulation that they are required to go through. The client also has given us a couple of models that I got to test to assure their validity. That task is usually given to PwC’s Models team, but given my academic background was given a shoot. I figured it out.

3:00 pm: I either continue what I was doing, receive new work, or have a meeting to join. Half of our meetings are with Middle and Back Office, who give us files that we will use in our audit, they explain how these files were created and answer all the questions we have. Sometimes we call personnel from other offices, including offices abroad. Other times meetings are part of PwC continuous training, and thus receive further teaching in specific areas of the financial industry.

3:00 pm: I am usually given a new task that I have not seen before, I spend the next hour trying to figure it out. Sometimes I am given documents to interpret, other times calculation base work. The cool part is that any questions that I may have, I get to ask RBC’s employees for an answer.

6:20pm: I get to go home, I take my time as I like to walk around the City and listen to The Economist Magazine Audio.

7:10pm: I get home, run for about an hour in Central Park and get back home to shower.

At least once a week we do our work from PwC’s Office in midtown Manhattan. Usually we do this on Fridays. Weekends are all ours.

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.