What was it like working for Credit Suisse?
I was a summer analyst in the private banking division stationed in Atlanta. The team in Atlanta is very tight knit and they know what they’re doing. It was a formal atmosphere, they were on their Ps and Qs but it was a great environment to learn in.
Did it meet your expectations?
Coming into the internship I thought I would develop professional behavior and the appropriate professional tactics, specifically the “dos” and “don’ts” of the business world. One of my goals was to learn how to communicate with other people, especially within an organization like Credit Suisse. At a place like Credit Suisse, courtesy and friendliness are the basics. It’s assumed that you are able to be courteous, that won’t set you apart.
Credit Suisse has many different levels and a lot of people doing different things. I reported to several different people and had to learn to manage various projects. As an accounting major, I was primarily focused on auditing but I also wanted to develop a stronger understanding of the global market through this internship.
What surprised you?
One thing that surprised me was how quickly I became a “part of the team.” As an intern I was immediately given responsibility. The first day on the job I was making phone calls to get information I needed to fulfill my responsibilities! Walking out of the office the last day, I felt like I could have accomplished much more if I had more time. It really felt like I was part of the team. I was taken seriously and didn’t feel like just another intern.
What were some of the lessons you learned? What were some of your most valuable “real world” experiences?
My most important lesson was to develop timelines. If someone gives you a project, take notes and then ask questions; make sure that you understand what needs to be done. Ensure that you walk away with a specific list of things to do. The timeline allows you to prioritize the various tasks and projects you’ve been given. The last thing is to check back with your supervisor and make sure you’ve got what is needed and to update them on your progress.
How did Sigma Nu influence your work?
Sigma Nu definitely helped me when it came to being a team-oriented person. When I joined Sigma Nu, I found myself having to learn and adjust to a completely new environment. My candidate class was a 37-man team; the entire chapter is a team. The executive board is a team and every officer has to do his job. This translates well into the corporate environment where every person has a different job and set of responsibilities. Everyone is depending on everyone else to do their job. In the same way, no one can run Sigma Nu by himself.
What is one lesson from your internship you would pass onto other Sigma Nus? How would you advise other Sigma Nus who are pursuing internships in finance and investing?
Start early and don’t be presumptive. Don’t assume anything, even within the interview. Your personal reputation – your work ethic and recommendation from alumni – only gets your foot in the door.
Another important lesson would be to always seek clarification on assigned projects. Don’t ever assume that people know exactly what they’re doing. This is especially important for chapter leaders. It’s like football; you wouldn’t come into the huddle with two different plays. Always clarify what you want and make sure everyone understands their job.
Lastly, all the opportunities you get from the fraternity can be completely erased from hazing. I think that we need to fully involve ourselves in an anti-hazing environment. A lot of great things can be ruined by hazing. The university could remove your chapter or you could jeopardize your personal reputation. You and the chapter gain nothing from hazing.
Alex Deason is a senior accounting major at Auburn University. He currently serves the Beta Theta Chapter as Risk Reduction Chairman. In the summer of 2013 he worked as a summer analyst at Credit Suisse Atlanta.