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Reflection 1 First Week of Internship in NYC 6/10/17

Yesterday, Friday June 19th marked the end of my first official week as a public finance

intern for Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York City. There is so much to write about,

even after only one week, that I figured it would make a good opportunity to do so at weeks

end. So, this reflection deals with everything that has happened, Ive thought about, and what I

expect moving forward after living in the Big Apple for one week while working for one of the

largest financial institutions in the world.

I arrived in New York City on Saturday, June 3, around 2 oclock in the afternoon. My

father and brother accompanied me on the trip to help me unpack and get accustomed to the city,

as much as anyone could in a little more than a day, at least. Im living on the Upper East Side of

Manhattan, in a boarding house known as Kolping House on 88th Street and 3rd Avenue. My

room is small and simple; all I have is a small desk, bed, and dresser, with communal

showers/bathrooms and no access to a fridge or Wifi. Yet, I am thankful that I am getting a pretty

good rate (by New York standards, anyway), am living and working in one of the greatest cities

in the world, and will be kept more focused and humble because of it.

After moving in, my father, brother, and I went back to Midtown Manhattan to grab some

dinner. It was already pretty late by this time and I was exhausted by the travel, but my first

dinner in New York was a memorable one, eating at an Italian restaurant with a great view of the

Chrysler building.

Sunday had come around before I knew it, and after morning church and breakfast, my

father, brother, and I made one last trip to Central Park before they departed. It was my first time

visiting the world-famous park, and I was amazed by the sheer size of it as well as its impressive

views. I said my goodbyes and grabbed some quick dinner before making it back to my
apartment before 8, as I wanted to get to bed early before the first day. For the first time since I

accepted the internship offer, I became truly nervous about what to expect. Little things about the

city, such as the subway, and more technical things, like the actual investment banking work,

began to intimidate me as I tried to sleep away nervous thoughts. I was the only Texas A&M

intern at BofAML (in a class of about 500) in a huge city that I only had been at for about a day,

and all of this hit me the night before. I finally drifted off to sleep around midnight, knowing I

had to get up at 6:30.

Orientation and training kicked off on Monday, June 5, at 8:30AM. Of course, of the

approximately 450 other interns at the Crowne Plaza hotel for orientation, almost all of them

arrived early for the event, and I was impressed that BofAML had ready a breakfast buffet for

everyone. After meeting a couple of other interns in different groups at breakfast, my nerves

were put at ease. Although most of them did attend East Coast private institutions, the difference

in culture wasnt as noticeable as I thought, and I was now confident I was just as smart as the

others here, but that I could become friends with many of them with no noticeable regional

divide. Most of the morning was spent listening to impressive speakers high up the banks

corporate ladder, and after a delicious lunch buffet at the hotel, the interns finally got to walk to

One Bryant Park, where Bank of America Tower is located to finish off the day.

Bank of America tower is where I knew I was going to be working, but seeing it again

was very impressive. It is the fourth tallest building in New York City, and built only in 2006,

still has the appearance of a new, modern structure. Listening to more speakers, including former

interns, was very beneficial as the day went on, until around 5:30 pm when the Global Markets

interns had a networking invent atop a rooftop bar. It was an amazing location that overlooked

the Empire State Building, and after meeting some of the public finance investment banking
team, I was sure this was going to be a great fit with down-to-earth, approachable superiors who

were extremely knowledgeable. I also met the rest of my public finance intern team; there were

four others, and they attended Georgetown, Cornell, and Harvard. Once again, the nerves hit me

as I was impressed by where they went to school, but by the end of the night, they all seemed just

like me normal college juniors who aspired to lofty goals and were ready to work hard for the

summer.

Days two through four were spent doing technical training at a BofAML office in Jersey

City, New Jersey. Unfortunately, this meant having to take an Uber back and forth every day,

but, two of my Uber drivers were also very unique people with very interesting life stories,

including one from Serbia who had lived through the Civil War in the 90s. I realized that New

York is the king of all melting pot cities, and that you could meet anyone from anywhere in the

world in this place and come away with a fascinating life story.

Friday, yesterday, we were going back to Bank of America Tower in Midtown

Manhattan. By this time, I had already become close with the other public finance interns

through lunch and hanging out the previous three training days, so we entered the building at the

same time and were ready for the day. We had more speakers and orientation materials for the

first half of the day, and then for lunch came the big event, meeting some of our superiors for a

lunch on the twelfth floor, where we would be working. I was nervous for the lunch, but, yet

again, the BofAML public finance team, including the head who joined us, made the interns feel

welcome and were friendly, telling us their backgrounds and stories. After lunch, we listened to

technical presentations for certain programs on our computers, and then, around 5pm, our first

week as BofAML had been completed (albeit a training week).


That night, I ended up hitting the town with a friend from work, and I brought another

friend who I knew living in the city, and he likewise brought some of his. Everyone met one

another and got along; it reminded a lot of the first couple of weeks at college, when everyone

simply wants to meet as many people as possible and is willing to break their shell to do so. It

ended up being a fun night and a great end to the first week.

So now, as I write about the end of my first week, I am even more excited than before to

get to work on Monday and show what I can do: not in an arrogant way, but with an eager, child-

like mindset where I am ready to soak up every bit of knowledge that I can and apply what I

have learned. Of course, they have told us about the hours, which can sometimes go late into the

night, but I dont think Id mind if I enjoy the work and the people Im working with. Working in

public finance investment banking was something Ive always wanted to do because it combines

my interest for both finance and government (public finance deals with the issuance of

municipal, i.e. typically issued by governments or government-like entities). I was told that for

the first rotation, I would be assigned to the healthcare group, which I think is also a great fit

because of my minor background in hospitals (my mom is a physician); I am ready to learn about

healthcare muni bonds and hopefully apply what I learn well.

As you probably noticed in this reflection, there were a lot of times where I was nervous

about what to expect this first week, mainly because of the uncertainties that come with moving

to a new large city by yourself to work for a large financial institution. Yet, each time, my nerves

were quelled by reality, and the reality, I realized, is that I am just as capable as each of these

interns who go to private universities, that each of them is a more like me than I thought, and that

those who Ive met with BofAML want us to succeed and do well, and are more than happy to

ask questions. As clich as it is, one shouldnt worry about what they cant control, espgecially
because, most of the time, our worries never manifest themselves into reality. If you go in

confident with the right, humble mindset, youre setting yourself up for future success and great

friendships.