Post provided by Alexandra Middleton – Quantitative Finance Class of 2014
As my first week of classes of my junior year start, it is incredible to think back on the experiences and opportunities I have had since enrolling in the Quantitative Finance program at Stevens. After just two years, the QF program has provided me with an unprecedented exposure to the broad field of finance from many different angles. Through many interesting and challenging classes, I have managed to learn four different computer programming languages, study four different types of math, and gain the fundamental business knowledge crucial to any aspiring business and financial leader.
Ready to put all my skills to work in the ‘real world,’ I began my search for a summer internship during the spring semester of my sophomore year. With the help of the Office of Career Development and my professors, I received the opportunity to interview with G.X. Clarke & Company, a government securities dealer in Jersey City. The interview took place at the Office of Career Development in Howe. To my surprise, I found out that I would be interviewing with Mr. Griffith Clarke himself, along with another partner of the firm. I couldn’t believe that my first interview was with the founder of G.X. Clarke! I was invited to the office for a second round of interviews and was eventually asked to be a part of the 2012 summer internship program. G.X. Clarke & Company is a small, but influential firm in the government securities market. The firm only recruits students straight from college and focuses on growing the company from within through continuing education and learning.
I spent the first week of my internship on the Treasuries desk with a partner of the firm, where I was able to refresh my bond math skills, learn about how Treasuries move with the market, watch a Treasury auction unfold, and take a position in the market. Luckily, after possibly some of the most stressful hours of my life, my position turned out to be successful! That week I also attended a Money Marketeers dinner where Charles Evans, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President, was the guest speaker.
Next, I headed to my desk for the rest of the eleven weeks in the Operations department, where I worked as a Credit and Compliance Analyst. With the help and training of my mentor, I worked on projects such as analyzing companies’ financials, management structure, and services in order to create credit reports for prospective customers, developing a company compliance manual for employees to use in order to learn about new FINRA regulations, and conducting the company’s annual customer review process. I also learned how to complete the firm’s daily accounting work to ensure that the company’s totals matched those of the clearing bank each morning.
Throughout the summer, in addition to the tasks and projects in my department, I also participated in various classes with the other interns and new full time hires. These classes were taught by G.X. Clarke employees and were geared towards helping us study for the FINRA Series 72 exam. Passing the Series 72 exam is necessary to work with government securities and studying for the exam taught me things that I could apply to both my work and classes back at school (not to mention that I can tell people that I was licensed before I even started my junior year of college!). Also, once a week after work, the whole company would participate in the Summer Seminar Series, a series of lectures held in the office taught by professors from NYU Stern. The lectures were on different topics each week, all of which were extremely interesting, informative, and applicable to G.X. Clarke and its goals.
Thinking back to the first interview I had with G.X. Clarke, it doesn’t seem too unusual that the founder of the company was present. This just emphasizes that every employee at G.X. Clarke was committed to helping the interns have the best internship program possible. The investment they made into the program allowed me to have a truly amazing experience. I learned so much and met many smart and caring people. I really felt as though G.X. Clarke & Company welcomed me into their family and motivated me to learn and grow as much as I possibly could in just 12 short weeks. I was given the opportunity to experience so many different aspects of the business and to figure out where my interests lie in the complex financial industry. Looking back on all that I accomplished this summer, I never could have imagined that I would have had such a comprehensive and rewarding internship experience.