Entering my internship at Schneider Downs Corporate Finance, LP (Schneider Downs), I had no idea what to expect. Having just graduated high school, never having taken an economics, accounting or statistics course, I knew only that numbers would be involved and I had to tuck my shirt in. While these assumptions proved to be a good starting point, I discovered on the first day that my job description was slightly more complicated. As a Schneider Downs employee walked a fellow intern and me through a spreadsheet we would be proofreading, I made a list of concepts I didn’t really understand the meaning of—bonds…debt equity…portfolio…what was I doing in a corporate finance department ?
That night, as I frantically surfed YouTube, watching video after video of a British man in a tweed sweater explaining economics, I felt like giving up. I knew nothing about finance. I knew nothing about business. I only owned two button-down shirts and one of them was dirty! I didn’t even know anything about working!
Thankfully, when I returned to Schneider Downs the next day, I discovered that I had grossly misinterpreted my position. I wasn’t an intern in some sort of economic coliseum, fighting metaphorical fiscal lions—I was in a learning environment, and everyone was happy to teach. Day in, day out, I received small lessons—from co-workers, from managers, from internet databases. Now, some five weeks later, I understand almost every term on that first-day list. Perhaps, more importantly, I also understand what it means to go to work and do a job.
So, as my internship at Schneider Downs comes to a close, I would like to pass down some of the things I’ve learned, in the interest of saving future interns from the panic I initially faced:
- If you hang your pants carefully after removing them from the washing machine, you don’t have to iron a fresh crease into them. That means you can eat breakfast instead.
- When brewing tea in the office, you should not transport sugar back to your cubicle in the tea bag wrapper, because it will fall all over the floor, and you will have to get down on your hands and knees and wipe it up with damp paper towels.
- If you only eat pretzels for lunch, your diet will suffer.
- If you don’t understand something you’re supposed to do, ask for clarification. Otherwise you’re just wasting everyone’s time.
- Sometimes you don’t want to do the job that’s given to you, but it’s your job and you’re being paid to do it, so you have to buckle down and deal with it.
- If you have an opportunity to sit in on a business lunch, do it. You will undoubtedly learn something you didn’t know before. On top of that, your meal will probably be paid for, and it will definitely be more nutritious than pretzels.
- Every once and awhile you have a bad day, but the next one is almost always better.
So, as I head off to college this fall, I will not be majoring in business or accounting, and the information I have learned about finance this summer will likely have little effect on my grades or projects. That said, I believe the general lessons I’ve learned at Schneider Downs will have a profound impact on my life as a whole. If nothing else, I now know what it means to be part of a dedicated and friendly workplace. To the employees of Schneider Downs, I offer my sincerest thanks for that opportunity.
Schneider Downs Corporate Finance, LP is a registered broker/dealer. Member FINRA/SIPC.
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