Before coming to Boston for my internship, UNCF held a 3-day Student Leadership Conference with all UNCF program interns in Rockville, MD. I appreciated the conference experience as it was highly valuable to me – from hearing workshops on how to network effectively and be a standout intern to talking to past interns and C-suite executives to discussing the importance of mental health and self-care. The conference helped me realize the support system I have in UNCF and helped me with self-discovery. I have always struggled with depending on others when support is given; however, UNCF aided in showing that my dependence was not a burden. The conference overall gave me critical skills and the confidence to be ready for my time in Boston.
With coming to Boston Trust Walden, this realization of the support I had only grew. I truly felt valued and cared for during my time here. I remember being surprised when I saw that a breakfast would be held to welcome me. This was one of the many things that I admired about BTW. When interviewing for the firm, I asked, “What is one thing that you like about BTW?” and each person answered, “The people.” In my short time, I have come to believe in the same answer. The people I interacted with made me realize this is what I want in a future workspace, and the little things throughout my time left the biggest impact on me. Whether going to lunch, chatting over coffee, talking briefly while passing by, or getting asked for feedback, I felt comfortable allowing myself to show my curiosity and let the rest of the team know who I am.
As for the nitty-gritty of my summer at BTW, I worked on several projects and enjoyed seeing the different sides of the firm. I liked the rotational aspect of the internship – I was able to observe all that goes into a financial services company rather than just focusing on the finance portion. I appreciated having many opportunities to learn about the various operations of the firm through meetings, client calls, and coffee chats. Specifically, I realized I enjoyed discussing and researching market trends and company actions in addition to my pre-existing interest in learning about the wealth management practice.
My first project was an ESG review evaluating a company’s sustainability over the last two and a half years. The entire process was fascinating to me as it was my first exposure to how companies behind the scenes are working towards helping the planet, and it really allowed me to get a taste of how research is done effectively. I appreciated the ESG team, specifically analyst Samantha Burke, for being there every step of the process, as her insight helped me complete the review. I enjoyed talking about the new findings with her; she was a great project mentor.
My next big project was a stock review for the Investment Committee. At first, I was timid about taking on this project; however, I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone to try it out. Throughout my time, I had a lot of encouragement which really allowed me to be more confident in presenting this review. I enjoyed looking through financial statements, reading earnings call reports, seeing the trends since the last review, and noting the key differences I should make apparent to the Committee. I enjoyed the process, and although there were terms and specific phrases that I didn’t understand at first, analyst Anushree Gupta and portfolio manager Mark Zagata were both helpful in making me understand certain financial concepts I hadn’t learned in college just yet. Seeing the topics and terms I knew from previous classes in action was also great, and I learned that this type of research was something I could see myself doing more of in the future.
I was exposed to other projects and opportunities as well, such as marketing material creation, HR recruitment, the firm’s investment process, and the Science Based Target Network (SBTN). I thoroughly gained a well-rounded view of the firm and learned so much that makes me feel confident about my future endeavors in asset management.
Before I close, I’d like to give a special thanks to my mentor Ashish Gandhi. Ashish motivated me to push myself to talk to more people and stay curious. He gave excellent advice regarding my future career goals and moving forward in life, too. I appreciated that he always tried to help where he could, whether by introducing me to new people or attending UNCF events. I also think I probably wouldn’t have gone to so many places in Boston and tried to get the most out of the city if it wasn’t for him.
With exploring, Boston has a lot to offer and is very easy to get around. I went to museums, such as the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, tried kayaking and sailing, took cooking classes, walked around neighborhoods, and much more. It was an amazing experience and I still have much to explore in this city. I felt like I was getting a taste of what my future could look like.
I am beyond grateful for having had the opportunity to experience my first formal internship in Boston with UNCF and Boston Trust Walden. Being a part of this program has been an experience that has not only helped me develop professionally, but personally as well. BTW has a special place in my heart, and I cherished every minute I was there. It allowed me to understand the importance of trusting others and knowing that it is okay if you mess up. I will forever remember the memories I made and cannot wait to return to visit!
With best wishes in mind, see you later Boston 🙂
Amaya Daniels is a junior at Washington University in St. Louis, double majoring in Finance and Urban Studies with a minor in Business of Social Impact. She is currently a programming manager for the school’s campus life department that specializes in providing and planning events for students.