Meixi Wang ’16, Fiduciary Trust International

Meixi-WangManaging millions of dollars’ worth of assets.  Helping parents plan their retirement fund.  Finding the right stocks to invest in.  My Princeternship at Fiduciary Trust International, hosted by Ms. Ellen Kratzer ’84, gave me a holistic and enriching taste of the daily perks of working at a wealth management firm.

After hopping off the train at New York Penn Station, I made my way through bustling crowds of people to get onto the street.  Once I climbed up the stairs to the street, I turned a few blocks and reached Rockefeller Center, where I would spend one day as a Princetern at Fiduciary Trust International, a wealth management firm and subsidiary of Franklin Templeton Investments.  My host, Ms. Kratzer, kindly welcomed me inside the firm, which occupies a few floors in the iconic Rockefeller Center building.

First, I had the chance to sit down and talk to Ms. Kratzer, a managing director of Fiduciary, about her job and her career path.  We talked in her office, which was decorated with beautiful wood furnishings and family photos.  I learned that I would be spending the day meeting with people who worked in different divisions at Fiduciary so that I would be able to get a good idea of all of the diverse types of jobs that exist in just one asset management firm.  After meeting with Ms. Krazter, we walked to another floor of Fiduciary to meet another associate who specializes in portfolio management.  On the way there and back, I had the chance to be introduced to a few more Fiduciary employees, including a senior vice president of the firm.  One thing that impressed me about the firm was the wonderful sense of friendliness and familiarity that everyone displayed—this made the work environment very welcoming!

While meeting with the associate who works on managing stock portfolios, an integral part of a wealth management firm, I learned that selecting the right stocks to include in a portfolio requires more work than you think, as the market is constantly evolving.  However, one trait that makes the job interesting is that as an associate, you also have the chance to collaborate on a team with others as well as also directly interact with your clients on a daily basis.  Besides learning about the specifics of his job, I also had the chance to hear about the work-life balance of working in the asset management sector, which can be quite manageable.

Following this enriching discussion, I went upstairs again to talk to Ms. Kim, another associate who specializes in the marketing sector of Fiduciary.  During this rotation, I had the chance to see a few of the posters that she was working on and also had the chance to hear about her own career path story.  I found the opportunity to hear about these career stories incredibly inspirational and enlightening, as many of the people I conversed with graduated from college just a few years ago

After talking with Ms. Kim, I met Mr. Smith, who, like Ms. Kim, recently graduated from college.  As Mr. Smith was a baseball pitcher in college, it was fascinating to learn how he became interested in asset management, and he pointed out that both these areas involve working with numbers and statistics, a quality that he enjoys.  While talking with my host Ms. Kratzer, I also realized how interconnected asset management is with the rest of the world, as asset management, similar to analyzing a book, requires you to use given information to come to conclusions and make a decision.  Having the chance to view this field from their perspectives was incredibly exciting as I realized how easy it is to apply skills from different sectors into asset management.

For lunch, I joined Ms. Krazter, Ms. Kim, and Ms. Schmidt at a nearby NY restaurant, where we had lively conversations about traveling on the job, community outreach activities, and the financial markets in general.  I found myself applying knowledge that I learned in ECO 101 (Introduction to Macroeconomics) and ECO 370 (American Economic History) to our conversations, and it was really fascinating to see how the material I learned in the classroom related to the “real” world.  Following our lunch, we walked back to Fiduciary through an underground market tunnel in Rockefeller Center, where I had the chance to see tourists in the skating rink and large, beautifully decorated eggs on display.

After lunch, I met with Ms. Vardi, also a recent grad who shared with me her career story and how she found her current position at Fiduciary.  While talking to Ms. Vardi, I learned that Fiduciary has a strong community outreach program, which is very impressive because it allows employees a chance to connect directly with the community and give back in a way that benefits everyone.  It was very helpful to learn that a career in asset management can also be very well-rounded as there are firms, such as Fiduciary, that offer its employees opportunities to contribute to causes that they support in the community.

I really enjoyed my Princeterning at Fiduciary, and I would like to thank Ms. Kratzer for graciously organizing my stay.  It was very thoughtful of her to give me a chance to meet a variety of people from different departments at Fiduciary, and I am so very appreciative of her time and insights!  I also would like to thank Ms. Kim, Mr. Smith, Ms. Vardi, and all of the other Fiduciary employees who I met; it’s incredibly inspirational to learn about your work and career paths.  I am very grateful to have had the chance to spend a day at Fiduciary.  This experience has been truly enlightening, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to other students!


Shirley Wu ’15, Oliver Wyman

Shirley-WuMy Princeternship at Oliver Wyman was a unique opportunity to gain insight into the management consulting industry, and helped me define my personal career goals. The day was very well planned, and demonstrated the company’s commitment to providing an exceptional and informative experience. Along with seven other students, we started the day with an office tour and a presentation introducing Oliver Wyman and the consulting industry. The office environment was much more casual than I had expected, and we saw a lot of consultants lively chatting with one another, enjoying a quick break or snack, and generally in a good mood. They seemed happy to be at Oliver Wyman, and the atmosphere was very welcoming.

We met with alum Kirk Saari ’99 and a handful of other alums who talked about their experiences with Oliver Wyman, and the different practice areas and projects they have worked on. Another alum walked us through the interview process for potential candidates and ran a mock case interview with us. The most enlightening part of this Princeternship was the round table and networking lunch. We got to probe deeper into the consultants’ experiences and got some candid career advice. It was pretty clear that it takes a certain type of personality to enjoy management consulting, and everyone was very clear in emphasizing that this job is not for everyone. They discussed the highlights and the challenges of their jobs, ranging from the variety of projects, interaction with personnel from other companies, and their hours. Overall, it was a great day, and I urge anyone who is curious about consulting, but may not quite understand what it is, to participate in the Princeternship Program.


Michael Chiang ’17, From You Flowers

Michael-ChiangI had my winter Princeternship at during Reading Period. As a freshman I didn’t know what to expect. I applied for the program in the hopes that I would get some experience in the job search process. However, from start to finish the whole experience was incredible. On my first day, I I met my fellow Princetern Olamide and host Spencer Lucian (ORFE ’08) and David Palms (Econ ’11). They explained the complex nature of the flower business, the different florist networks that FYF uses. After receiving a basic understanding of the flower business, we were thrown into the team’s monthly marketing meeting. Although I was a bit out of my league with terminology and it felt like they were saying the alphabet over and over again (SEO, SEM, CPC), the meeting was a great way for me to understand what each person did for the company, and put a face to each division. Over the next two days I was given the opportunity to talk to each person, about what they did. I had the chance to ask questions ranging from work-life balance, interview advice, professional history, and daily life/responsibilities.

One of the coolest things I Chiang 2learned wasn’t about marketing or operations, but rather, about workplace dynamic and how to foster a good workplace. CEO Mike Chapin created an environment where everyone felt they had a purpose, and saw how their work impacted the company. One way he achieved this was through “mandatory fun” which consisted of bowling every Tuesday night. As someone who hadn’t bowled since elementary school (with bumpers), I was severely outmatched. Although I probably threw as many gutterballs as successful hits, I had a great time, and received this “brilliant” piece of advice from our host: “Why don’t you try throwing it down the middle?” (Complete with hand gestures)

Chiang 1Spencer and David were amazing hosts. As a perspective ORFE major, I was able to talk to Spencer about ORFE, his path, and how he felt his Princeton education helped him professionally. I came back to Princeton raving about my time at From You Flowers, and hope to participate in another Princeternship soon.

Ironically, the one thing I did not learn too much about during my time at From You Flowers was flowers.

Eddie Chen ’16, Jenkins Consulting Group

Eddie-Chen This week I had the opportunity to fly in to Tulsa and shadow Miss Linda Jenkins, owner of Jenkins Consulting Group, and learned a great deal about her work in nonprofit consulting.

Before I started the actual Princeternship work, I was sent a list of the proposed activates that Linda had put together for me. Getting more prepared for all the meetings and webinars, I researched the missions, histories and corporation statements and other relevant information on related companies, including BoardSource, YWCA Tulsa, Teach for America Oklahoma and Sustainable Tulsa. Since Jenkins Consulting Group mainly focuses on providing expertise and advice to nonprofit organizations, the broader social context in Tulsa and Oklahoma was also relevant, and worth studying as pre-work preparation.

On Monday, we met with Monika Friedman from Teach For America Oklahoma. What struck me most during the talk was Monika’s passion about what she does – she clearly knows why she’s there doing TFA after college, and is working as hard as she can to better the education system and make a tangible impact on less privileged kids. I think it’s those top talents like Monika who go in and dedicate themselves fully and make themselves accessible to everyone that make TFA such a remarkable program.

After meeting with Monika, we headed to Linda’s home office to begin her typical day at work. Linda works from home, which is something quite new to me – and I was eager to find out just what the difference was, and what it took to satisfactorily work from home. It certainly takes a great deal of self-discipline and active planning in terms of daily calendar and strategic planning: what I need to get done today, this week, this month, this quarter, etc, and where do I see myself in 1 year, 5 years or 10 years.

One cool tip from Linda regarding Eddie3her professional life is to always send confirmation 24 hours in advance as a reminder if there’s a scheduled meeting/presentation/dinner with someone. Another related tip is that in sending out reminders, it’s important to make sure the other party knows how to contact you (through phone calls or text messages or emails), as different people have different work habits, and some might only check their email once a day.

After work, Linda had arranged dinner with the alumni in the area, and I got to meet Princetonians from the Class of 1960 and the Class of 1967 (woohoo). It was extremely enlightening to me as they shared their career paths and choices. One big takeaway for me is that it is very rare for one to know his ultimate career choice early – it keeps changing. So what I should do is keep exploring and working as hard as I can  and keep my options open.

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to have dinner with Corey Williams, President of Sustainable Tulsa. I took the opportunity to have an in-depth discussion on her career choice, her job, Sustainable Tulsa and sustainability issues at large. Corey was an extremely remarkable leader, as she single-handedly transformed Sustainable Tulsa from an interest group started by several women to an influential regional organization that has pushed many tangible changes and was constantly featured prominently in the media.

On Wednesday, we listened to webinars at Linda’s office from, on designing and delivering nonprofit tips that work, presented by Beth Kanter. The webinar includes great content, great tips on leadership development, and emphasis on making it more interactive from somatic, kinesthetic, visual, audio, and intellectual perspectives.

We could use different strategies, such as using polls, stretch breaks, Q&A, and share pair activities to retain people’s attention.

Eddie4Later in the afternoon we went to meet with YWCA Tulsa. I learned that it is crucial that one shows up well prepared so as to build and maintain this professional image. In addition, it helps if all the data, presentations and graphs are in consistent format and layout, and the consultant is very familiar with the materials and has thought about how to present them, how the findings could relate to the broader context and the challenges faced by the client organization.

Before this Princeternship I had always thought I was interested in consulting and would be very likely to pursue an MBA as an advanced degree. Now I’m actually thinking about going to law school, and am looking at the nonprofit sector with increasing interest. I don’t know where I will go (I feel even more unsure after the Princeternship but much less anxious), but I’m keeping my options open.

I would like to express my greatest gratitude to Linda, for being so kind and helpful in hosting me; to all the Princeton alumni, for being so supportive and friendly, and showing me the true Princeton spirit; and to the Career Service Office, for giving me this opportunity which is indeed, life-changing.