My first week at Stifel may have been one of the most significant. Everything I experienced was new and exciting, heightening how surreal it was. I received my first project, later referred to as the “History of Wall Street” research project. On top of the morning note and daily equity research, for this project I was required to investigate how the overall mechanics of Wall Street evolved since its very start, specifically trading and the stock markets.
For research purposes, I met with and interviewed some of my colleagues who worked on my floor. Most of the people I spoke with had been working in finance for over 30 years. It was interesting to gain insight from their perspective and hear about the kind of experiences they had. More importantly, it was genuinely satisfying to connect with these people on a personal level and hear their story – I became much closer with my team because of the interviews.
In my first week, I became well acquainted with my mentor, named John. He was not my boss, however he was who I looked to on the team (the team consisted of 7, including me and one other intern). John was the one who assigned me my work and essentially was the one who looked out for me. John, the other intern, and I had daily meetings for the purpose of discussing the research project but it typically took the course of a normal conversation. John was very laid back but extremely smart – I learned so much from him over the course of the summer. Some of the most influential words he spoke to me occurred in my first few day which went something like: “its not about what work you do here this summer but how you do it. The most important thing you will learn this summer is how to work.”