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Interning at State Street Global

Nice summer weather, a panoramic view of the bay through the big office windows, guiltful ice cream time in the afternoon at Embarcadero, coffee runs and morning walks with my colleagues, happy hours with Graduate School of Management alumni who work in the city.… My internship at State Street Global Advisors in San Francisco this summer leaves me with no regrets.

Three months go by quickly. Now I am in the second  to the last week of my internship. Afterwards, I am going back to Davis to continue my MBA education. It is hard to say goodbye to my friends here, the delicious food, the nice weather, the decent pay, the view of the Bay Bridge and the Ferry Building. However, I have so many takeaways—and these, I am sure, are going to boost my second transformation at the Graduate School of Management.

My internship has provided an opportunity to work with State Street Global Advisors (SSGA)—the second largest asset management firm in the world.

I work with its global marketing team and directly report to the head of global channel marketing, which is responsible for segmentation. My boss is a successful marketer. She received her MBA from the Graduate School of Management several years ago. At SSGA I have received tremendous help from my co-workers and my bosses. Unlike some internship experiences I had before, at SSGA, I feel that they invest their time and energy in my future career growth instead of milking my intelligence for a short term.

Internships will open your eyes to new industries and opportunities

My internship opened my eyes to a new industry: financial services. Every day I work in the same office with portfolio managers, financial product researchers and economists. I listen to investment discussions between people from Boston, London and Hong Kong. I participate in meetings of product innovation with insurance companies. Interestingly enough, it is not a peaceful summer for this industry. Greece, China, all you can recall…. This summer has taught me to better understand the global economy.

To fulfill my responsibility as an intern, I interact with marketers with different expertise: branding, segmentation, direct marketing, web marketing, marketing technology, and advertising and creative. I have interviewed more than 30 colleagues to understand their roles, responsibilities and challenges. My interviewees include my peers, heads of marketing, vendors and financial experts the marketing team supports, such as sales, chief investment officer and traders. Now I have a much better grasp of how to work cross-functionally and with different marketing teams in a global organization.

State Street's corporate headquarters located in Boston, Massachusetts.

An absolute high of my internship is the trip to SSGA’s global headquarters. I was amazed by the SSGA-owned skyscraper in downtown Boston; I was intrigued by the open communication between different floors in this building. I visited a trading floor, which has more than 1,000 trading terminals working at the same time. I met senior people from the investment team. I sat next to product strategists. Additionally, lobster rolls and cocktails were on my everyday dinner menu. I enjoyed the walk with my boss along the Charles River, where the MIT and Harvard campuses are located.

And of course, I also work hard at my internship. I come in the office at 7 a.m. to attend global video conference calls. I wake up at 4:30 a.m. to dial in an investment discussion. Once, I stayed late in the office on a Friday evening to finish a project report, rewarded by the view of the beautiful lights on the Bay Bridge. I want to show SSGA that as a Graduate School of Management student, I can deliver the best quality of work.

an opportunity to mature and build confidence in a professional setting.

Multiple times I was invited to give presentations to the team, to share my findings and recommendations. Many more times, during one-on-one meetings, I was appreciated for what I brought to the table, my insights, my creative ideas, my empathy and enthusiasm. Through those conversations and feedback, I am much more mature and confident in a professional setting.

“Please let me know if you are back to SSGA. I would like to work with you.”

As a result, a manager who worked with me is making an effort to keep me as a contractor after my internship. Some co-workers told me, Please let me know if you are back to SSGA. I would like to work with you. The result of my 360 assessment wasn’t surprising either. But they all sound less exciting than the compliment I received from a senior industrial leader who left SSGA during my internship. She said, Please let me know if you need any help in the future. I would like to work for you.

I thought an internship was only the opportunity to hone the business skills I learned from the Graduate School of Management. Now, I have realized, an internship is also an opportunity to visualize how the Graduate School of Management can prepare you to become a global leader.

If you are interested in hearing more stories about my internship, feel free to reach out to me at elzliu@ucdavis.edu. I will be happy to share my stories and cheer you up for your next milestones.

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