Our career intern, Paul Danenberg ’23 shares how he found his summer internship with KBW and offers tips on the internship search process.
My name is Paul Danenberg and I am currently a sophomore in Bucknell’s Freeman College of Management. I am majoring in Finance and minoring in Economics. Outside of my coursework, I also intern for the CCA, facilitate statistics study groups, and am the President of the ALD Honor Society on campus.
To say the least, I would not have my internship this summer without the help of Bucknell’s career center and all of the resources they offer. I am very excited to say I will be interning in KBW’s investment banking division, a Stifel company, to assist on a few mutual to stock conversion deals.
After realizing I wanted to enter a career in investment banking during my freshman year at Bucknell, I soon came to know how accelerated and competitive the process is. So, I started off reaching out to Bucknell alumni to build my network and learn more about their experiences in the industry. I personally found Bucknell’s alumni page on LinkedIn the perfect place to discover potential connections and then went over to BucknellConnect to find their contact information. Bucknell alumni want you to succeed and meet your career goals, so utilize the shared connection you have!
Networking was and still is daunting for me, but the saying is true: practice makes progress. You will be able to refine the questions you ask and your ability to have casual conversations with alumni through practice. I started reaching out to alumni (investment banking analysts/associates) at KBW in May following my first-year at Bucknell, giving me time to grow and develop the connections I was making. I started off my first email to alumni by introducing myself, highlighting our shared connection, and asking if they have time to chat about their investment banking experiences. I would also recommend spending some time researching them (such as on LinkedIn) so you can make your initial email as custom/unique for the alumni as possible. Also, if you can, it might be helpful to offer specific times you’re available in the upcoming days. Anything you can do to make connecting easier for alumni, the better!
During the winter break of my sophomore year at Bucknell, I attended a KBW information session and had the opportunity to meet more of the Bucknell alumni at the firm. I learned about the event through Bucknell alumni I had spoken with so far at the firm (who I first connected with in May!) and on Handshake. Maintaining and developing connections with alumni will not only help you learn more about the industry you’re interested in, but will let alumni at the firm know you’re interested and might entice them to share information about their company’s upcoming events with you.
Attending career center events was vital in helping me learn more about the potential career opportunities and paths I could take. I met my current mentor at that session, had an interview, and was offered a summer position. This is why you should always make sure to send thank you notes to all speakers at an event! Although connecting with alumni may help you get the interview, you also need to make sure you’re prepared for the interview! Bucknell’s Big Interview Resource is here to help you step beyond just reading advice on how to stand out during interviews and helps you practice answering questions with real feedback.
If you are looking for a summer internship, don’t wait to network until you need the job. LinkedIn, BucknellConnect, and the CCA staff are here to help you create, build, and, most importantly, nurture connections. Those who you reach out to early, stay in touch with, and build a friendly and personable relationship with will be the ones most likely to help you later on in your application process.
For my process, there was a nine month gap between my first networking call and when I received my interview at KBW. I say that to not scare you, but hopefully inspire you to start early! Every connection you make is another step toward winning that top internship you’re hoping for.