Minor(s): Transportation and Logistics
CFS Class: Business Field Studies
Employer: Mesirow Financial
This quarter I had the opportunity to intern at Mesirow Financial, a midsized financial service firm based in Chicago. Mesirow has 1,000 employees spread across three divisions: investment banking, wealth advisory, and investment management. The firm was founded 80 years ago and prides itself in being 100% owned by the firm’s employees. This unique characteristic has made the firm known as one of the best to work at in the city due to its stable management and prioritization of employee welfare.
My internship was in the Wealth Advisors department working alongside the director of research to analyze investment opportunities and conduct ongoing due diligence of the firm’s largest holdings. What made this internship an incredible experience was the variety of projects that I contributed to. Among my assignments were data organization using excel, providing a presentation and market update on fixed income investments, writing detailed fund reports, and establishing a framework for the firm’s sustainable investing platform. No project was the same, and each required different technical skills and industry knowledge. This breadth of topics made this a fantastic first internship in finance, because of the foundation of topics that I am now familiar with.
An important takeaway from my internship is that it is important to be familiar with many areas in finance and aware of current events to be successful in this business. In the private wealth management industry, advisors and wealth specialists succeed when they are able to give in depth explanations of macroeconomic environments, complete analysis of all fund holdings across asset classes, and give detailed tax information. I cannot imagine any of my colleagues being successful without knowing about these topics, especially after overhearing their phone conversations throughout my time at the firm.
My supervisor stressed to me that consistent learning and research was important to fully understanding investment opportunities. He believes that even 20 years into his career, he is only effective if he is able to continue to learn about the markets and the current fundamentals of investment strategies. I also found that much of my success in this role was due to my interest that extended outside of work or an academic setting. It took my supervisor less time to explain assignments to me, and I was able to do more meaningful work because of my underlying familiarity with finance. Regularly reading news articles and following the financial markets contributed to my enlarged role, and it is something I recommend to all students interested in finance careers.