Works and Days

Financial Services Fellowship, 2015: Sophie Bucci

"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"

As the name of the Financial Services Fellowship would imply, fellows’ spring break in New York was centered around career opportunities in finance: We visited salespeople, investment bankers, consultants, research analysts, quantitative financers, portfolio managers, relationship managers, risk managers, newspeople, technologists, and operations professionals in their native environments at major investment banks, hedge funds, economic and investment consulting firms, a financial press, and a private equity fund. Before and during the trip, fellows were also given the opportunity to learn about net present value calculations, bonds, derivatives, regulation, income statements, and asset-backed securities. 

More than this, however, the trip offered a broader introduction into the world of work and life beyond Reed. As the rare Reedie who actively looks forward to working in an office this summer and after graduation, it was refreshing to me to wake up early each morning, put on a suit, and experience an 8 am to 10 pm day full of business meetings and smart people getting things done in one of the greatest cities in the world. More than any specific pieces of knowledge, like the difference between debt and a loan and or the factors contributing to the lack of a robust secondary market for private equity buyins, I’ll remember my positive impressions of general professional life and its wealth of possibilities. Within the finance industry alone, there are far more roles than I had originally anticipated, and enough products, methods, and jargon to satisfy a Reedie’s intellectual curiosity for quite some time.

The fellowship truly presents no pressure to be interested in the finance industry. Though the field is very wide and some say that it contains a role for every personality, and the trip exposes students to many of these roles and people who can explain the rest, it’s completely acceptable to come into the trip not knowing if you’re interested in finance and to leave prioritizing other interests.  Luckily, the trip presents opportunities to meet non-finance alumni and Reed-affiliated people as well – those in tech, government, education, graduate school, law, and art. I think it’s easy for Reed students to get tunnel vision about PhD programs and settle in Portland after graduation, and there’s nothing wrong with this so long as they’re given the chance to assess competing options.

For me, the trip allowed me to do this and more: it reminded me of my love for East Coast urban Type A culture; connected me with the tight knit Reed finance network, composed of graduates who have already been willing to advocate for me and my resume in huge organizations, talk to me at length about my professional goals and how they accomplished similar ones, and even help me find summer housing in New York; and provided me with a candid and inspiring mentor able to answer blunt questions about networking, self-marketing, corporate culture, career scarifies, and awkward situations.

I am happy to talk more about the trip, and/or careers in finance. Please reach out to me at with any questions.

Tags: financial services fellowship, new york, business