31st August, 2018
An Intern’s View… Experience, Excitement, Empowerment.
3 months ago, I finally received the call I was so impatiently waiting for. After taking part in a rigorous selection process, Charlie and I were chosen to come back and embark on a 10 week journey here at DB Wood. Now, with only a few weeks left until my internship comes to an end, I begin to experience an amalgamation of contrasting feelings: thankfulness, happiness, inspiration…but also sadness and fond memories.
I am thankful for the opportunity to gain so much knowledge and a new skill set in such a short period of time. I didn’t once feel stressed or overwhelmed, but rather pleasantly challenged. In no time, we were working on individual projects, writing reports and taking part in Investment Committee meetings. The internship is so well organised that we were able to get involved with each department, from Risk Management to Client Services, while also focusing on our preferred specialism.
When I came in for the first interview, I said to Alex and Dom that I was mostly interested in the investment side of the business but now, after spending a significant amount of time creating cashflows, meeting our brilliant clients and thinking about how financial planning fits into our lives, I feel that Technical Solutions and Financial Planning, two roles which I probably would have never considered before, are actually better suited to my current skill set and I tremendously enjoy being part of.
I am happy to have met such a lovely group of individuals, all of whom are hardworking, dedicated to the client and so friendly that it is impossible to feel left out. Everyone is always ready to help, regardless of it meaning answering a question, explaining an investment technical term, giving you a lift to work and back almost every day (thanks, Alex!), bringing down your heart rate when you have too much caffeine (thanks, Georgia!) or providing “reliable” information about the location of a fellow colleague’s mug (thanks, Dom!).
At the end of each week, I felt more and more inspired by the ethos and culture at DB Wood. Always striving to improve, to stay motivated, to do the right thing, to put the client in the center of all activities, to work as a team and to deliver their goals. Outside of office hours, it is common to be involved with charities and the local community. The Newark half marathon wasn’t one to be missed and while I didn’t take part (20 minutes in I would’ve started to crawl rather than run), I was proud to see that DB Wood was a sponsor. Those qualities have now imprinted on me and I plan to build on them.
Lastly, thinking about the end of the summer sparks feelings of sadness. I will certainly miss the people, the workload, the meetings and the personalised mug I found on my desk one morning. However, this is not the end of the book, but the beginning of a new chapter which will definitely mention DB Wood again. For now, I’m going back to university to spread about some UK tax system knowledge!
Unlike many internships that my friends are experiencing, from day one there was no sitting about. In fact, by the end of the first day I was skimming through nine different research reports in preparation for an IC meeting the next morning, and not seconds before it began Alex advised I record it, as I would be writing the minutes for what ended up being a three-hour meeting. I already had an interest in the investment management side of the business and whilst my Mathematics course at Bristol University had not included the current position of Japanese markets, I was more than happy to learn.
It was great to see that the summer internship program is tailored to individuals. Although I have worked with all the departments and everyone here is more than happy to show exactly what it is they do and why it’s important, I have found myself spending more time with the IC than anywhere else. While I have been sat in IC meetings taking notes, writing minutes and trying to understand why some funds were chosen above others, my fellow intern Ecaterina has been at client meetings and working on cashflows. As soon as I said where I most wanted to spend my time, my calendar filled with tasks related to it, all of which helped my understanding of the role of an investment analyst. There was certainly no ‘busywork’ just to keep me quiet.
Each week I have had a meeting with Alex who was coordinating my internship. During these catch-ups I was told what was going well and what needed improvement. I was asked how I had found the last week, where I thought I needed improvement and how I was going to accomplish this over the next few weeks. As someone who struggles with presenting and speaking to large groups, I was given the chance to present my research on a new fund to the IC. I’d like to think it was down to the fund and not my explanation of it that lead to it being dismissed almost immediately! This is just one of the many opportunities for development, and I can honestly say that I have not had a boring minute, let alone a day.
As I approach the last few weeks of my time here I am sad to be going. I may not have been here long, but one of the great things about DB Wood is how quickly I felt like part of the team. It has been an amazing opportunity and a chance for some genuine self-improvement. I will now take what I have learned here forward and have no doubt my last few weeks will be just as memorable as the first.