"The Financial Services Fellowship is a prestigious award that gives students who are interested in financial services a hands-on experience through an intensive trip to New York City during spring break. Students will meet with people representing a wide range of roles in this industry, including journalists, sales and trading analysts, investment professionals, hedge fund managers, financial analysts and more. All expenses are paid through the generosity of a Reed trustee"
Since coming to Reed, I’ve mostly just spent my fall and spring breaks going home and relaxing after an often-stressful half semester. Though such a week of downtime is always appreciated, this past spring break was completely different. Every day of the Financial Services Fellowship (FSF) was jam-packed with activities: days that usually started with firm visits before nine am often ended with social and networking events that ran well past nine pm. The trip packed many experiences into a short period of time, and it was undoubtedly a very productive way to spend the week.
Even before the actual spring break trip, there were a few events on campus that the fellows were asked to attend: the first of these was a three-part Paideia course on capital markets and general financial terminology. This is particularly important because it implies that prior knowledge of the financial industry is not necessary to apply — in fact the trip as a whole is in some form simply an introduction to the professional working world. Though I had absolutely no experience with Finance prior to the trip (and only minimal experience with economics), as a result of the Paideia course I did not have any trouble following the presentations of the various firms in New York.
"The Financial Services Fellowship is a prestigious award that gives students who are interested in financial services a hands-on experience through an intensive trip to New York City during spring break. Students will meet with people representing a wide range of roles in this industry, including journalists, sales and trading analysts, investment professionals, hedge fund managers, financial analysts and more. All expenses are paid through the generosity of a Reed trustee."
Read on for an account of Sarah Canavan's FSF 2015 experience.
When I applied for the Financial Services Fellowship I only had faint ideas of what happened in the finance industry. I think we had just started covering monetary policy in Kim Clausing’s Intro to Economics class, and my visions of Wall Street had mostly been colored by The Wolf of Wall Street, “occupy” protests and the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890. What I knew, was that if Reed was offering an opportunity to fill in the gaps between where my interests already lie (federal policy and budgets, research funding, et al.) and what the heck happens in big banks and financial institutions, I wanted to be a part of it.
The Reed Financial Service Fellowship was an engaging experience where I got to explore questions that have been at the back of my mind with regards to a career in the Financial Sector. I aggregate these questions into two: “what does it means to work in the financial sector?” and on a more reflective note, “Am I cut out for such an industry?” It is accurate to say that my intent to find answers to these questions gave structure to my fellowship experience. This trip to New York happens to be my first ever, and it was an incredible experience. The buildings were so tall that even a complete upward tilt of my cervical vertebrae wasn’t enough to show me their apex, and in a day I saw as many people in the subway as I had seen in a year in Portland! That was my level of bewilderment when I got to New York.
The Reed College Financial Services Fellowship is a career exploration program funded through the generosity of a Reed trustee with support from the Reed College trustees' investment committee. Students interested in financial services and/or quantitative fields compete for the fellowship and are interviewed by the College trustees’ investment committee. Fellows have the opportunity to gain insight into career options in the financial services industry through a short-term field trip to New York City. The trip includes business dinners with alumni and trustees of the College; an opportunity to shadow professionals in the workplace to get a sense of day to day operations, to discuss specific jobs and careers in the field, to take a tour of a trading floor. Pre-departure workshops on networking, resume writing, and intro to markets will be held as well. This is the first reflection from the 2014 Financial Services Fellows, Sanjeev Verma.
Financial Services Fellowship: Fact & Fiction
You might expect that as good Reedies we shook hands with all of the "evil" people on Wall St. in a detached manner with a heightened sense of irony. Au contraire! I put down my metaphysics book for a week and fully immersed myself in their world. Turns out, a job in finance does not amount to the death of "life of the mind." Finance is very much an intellectual profession; it is a technician's sport that requires both brains and creativity. I know that I went in with a few preconceptions too, but please allow me to dispel some of the common myths about finance. Of course, finance is not a perfect industry, so I will also share some of the unfortunate truths that I confirmed while on the trip.