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!