My time at Finance Innovation has come to an end. Throughout this internship, I had many experiences that developed my business acumen as well as my understanding of the French language. Without a doubt, this has helped me to advance with my professional goals as well as my personal goals. I would like to thank a few individuals that helped me throughout the experience. First, I would like to thank Ms. Josephine Olson, for enabling me and other students to partake in this opportunity through her funding. I would also like to thank Arielle Schweber and Hillary Koller of Pitt Business’s International Programs Office, Jon Hutchinson of EUSA, and the team at Finance Innovation for overseeing my development throughout the internship.
At a personal level, my goal for this internship was to build off my completed French minor in pursuit of trilingualism (given that I already speak fully fluent English and Spanish). At Finance Innovation, I was taken out of comfort zone by going outside of an environment where I could study to prepare or where I could focus on one area of the language at a time. In the real world, you really have to be aware of what is appropriate to use where and be able to put together multiple aspects of the language to communicate. In many cases, I found the communication at Finance Innovation was somewhat different to what I had learned in the classroom, and that was a nice reality check to keep in mind for informal communications in the future. Going forward, the initial plan was to go on to study Portuguese, but at the moment I feel like I need to spend some more time mastering French (particularly the speaking and listening components that were hard to practice in this virtual internship). I will proceed by spending some time, perhaps one year, listening to French radio and consuming French media on a consistent basis, and seeking out opportunities to practice my speaking with other French speakers. However, the idea of moving on to a new language after that is still very appealing to me and I think speaking two other Romance languages will give me a solid foundation for that.
On a professional level, I have benefitted from a great breadth of exposure to the latest developments in Finance. Constantly making reports on developing and emerging technologies, I explored topics ranging from applications of earth observation data in finance to open finance to artificial intelligence. My exposure to these topics will prepare me as I emerge as a professional in the business world. I am sure that some of these topics that I am exploring now in their infancy will dominate discussions in finance in the future, so this has been an excellent opportunity to prepare. I also got exposure to the inner workings of a business, the working schedule, and how to communicate in a professional environment. These are lessons that will certainly serve me in almost every job in the future. I also had many opportunities to practice using excel functions and learn a few new ones. This will particularly come in handy as I take my next professional step next week in my Boston Consulting Group externship program, where I will work on a project in the Pittsburgh office. Within consulting, Excel skills usually help to build models in the processing of finding solutions for clients. BCG’s Pittsburgh office is also a small office, so maybe there will be some similarities in the culture with relation to that.
From an academic perspective, I think this experience has given me a clear view of how the concepts I learn in the classroom are applied. To that end, I feel like what I have learned at Finance Innovation will facilitate knowledge acquisition as I advance in my finance major. I also have a clearer view of what the finish line looks like, which gives me more motivation as I finish my last two years of university. Given the challenge of working independently throughout this internship, I also feel like I will see improvements in my study habits and organization. Finally, as someone who just switched onto Finance in the past academic year, this internship has made me sure that this is the field I want to continue in. It is a field with so much innovation and development.
It has been a pleasure to share my experiences with you all. For future readers considering IIP Paris, I hope that my experiences have helped to inform you on what to expect and how you can leverage the lessons in your personal, professional, and academic lives.