What was it like working for Credit Suisse? What surprised you?
I learned an incredible amount about the private banking industry and was able to work on some very interesting projects during my internship with Credit Suisse. I started out doing investment research which helped my superiors find the best investments to make. For example, I had to do an investing report on China to be given to a managing director. I generated a lot of reports like this to help make investment decisions.
I also did a lot of prospecting, which is trying to find new clients. In private banking, a client network is the lifeline for developing revenue. There are many different ways to find a client network and my work focused on trying to find the best ways to do this. I was also encouraged throughout the summer to listen in on calls, attend meetings and presentations, ask questions and even participate in Credit Suisse’s philanthropic efforts.
The great thing about Credit Suisse is that they were not only willing to teach me, they were also willing to learn from my perspective. After recognizing that I had experience teaching Microsoft Excel, I was given the opportunity to develop an Excel training course that I then taught to two groups at the Atlanta branch and one group nationwide via conference call. The Credit Suisse culture catalyzes employee development and led to a great internship experience.
What were some of the most important lessons you will take with you after working for Credit Suisse?
The most valuable thing that I learned is the importance of having a strong professional network. In the private banking business – as well as in any business environment – building and maintaining a strong network is essential for success.
Building a client base is very difficult. There are a lot of potential clients already with other investment groups; others are skeptical of giving over control of their money. After all, many of these people have built their own net worth and are loath to relinquish this control to others. It’s a lot of relationship cultivation. Many people who have been with Credit Suisse for years are solely focused on attracting and keeping clients.
I certainly plan to apply this lesson to both my personal and professional life as I build my network at the University of Georgia and in the professional world.
There is a basic approach that should be taken with networking. It all depends on how you frame the conversations you have with potential employers. If you frame it as seeking help and advice people will go out of their way to help you.
How did Sigma Nu influence your work?
Sigma Nu certainly was a large influence on how I approached working at Credit Suisse this summer. My brothers at Mu Chapter have served as excellent role models by striving for excellence in both social and professional environments. Following the example set by brothers of Sigma Nu, I simply tried to produce quality work in a timely manner and to go the extra mile when possible. By combining this approach with a positive attitude, I believe that I was able to add value to those who I worked with this summer.
How would you advise other Sigma Nus who are pursuing internships?
It was a yearlong process last year finding an internship that I wanted. I did a ton of networking with people I didn’t know. I sent out emails to companies that I was interested in, explaining who I was and what I wanted. I spent a lot of time looking at LinkedIn for people who were Sigma Nus or were Georgia alumni. In reaching out for help, I was actually surprised at the number of people who were willing to help me. Many of the people who gave me good advice I had never met or talked to before.
There is a basic approach that should be taken with networking. It all depends on how you frame the conversations you have with potential employers. If you frame it as seeking help and advice people will go out of their way to help you. On the other hand, if you ask them for a job it puts them in a position where they might not be able to help at all. It also helps to know exactly what you want.
Wes is a junior at the University of Georgia and initiate of the Mu Chapter. Wes interned this summer with Credit Suisse in Atlanta.