Last week I had the privilege of serving as a panelist on an InvestmentNews Webinar, NextGen: Getting the most from internships. Much like our next generation focus at Cambridge, the NextGen initiative at InvestmentNews is designed to showcase the career opportunities within the financial services industry and inspire students to consider a career in our industry.
I was encouraged by the registration of over 500, but even more encouraged that I was joined on the panel by three other professionals who are passionate about helping the financial services industry attract and retain young talent. The other three panelists came from other financial services firms as well as the world of academia and have similar goals as Cambridge and InvestmentNews pertaining to the next generation—to bring young people into this industry we have grown to love.
Raising the bar.
From the moment some of these young, talented 20-somethings arrived on our campus, their energy and enthusiasm was felt throughout the organization. Having them here has raised the bar with our home office associates as evidenced by the new ideas and a feeling of creativity run rampant. These interns are taking to heart some of the things I encourage all new Cambridge associates to consider:
- Ensure that our core values are aligned with your own
- Network, Network, Network – Continually build relationships
- Ask questions and seek answers, but do your homework
- Understand and accept that your actions and attitude are always being observed
This advice holds true for those people who have an ultimate goal of being a financial advisor as well those who believe they will be more fulfilled by serving those that serve others.
Embrace the generational gaps.
As our interns settle in, we see their ability to dive right in and tackle certain projects. We embrace the ease with which they use technology and take advantage of the efficiency that technology brings to their roles here. One of the other panelists commented that internship experiences must be a “win-win” for both the intern and the organization. I agree with that statement 100% and think it’s important that they learn skills from us in return that can’t be learned strictly from the classroom —things such as strong communication and client service skills. Our business is about people and helping those people along the way, making those soft skills just as important as the information they are learning through their coursework.
Make an impression.
During the webinar we were asked what types of things an intern could do to make an impression and remain memorable. My simple answer is, the same things that I remember about any interaction or relationship. I will remember them most for their attitude—their eagerness to take things on, their confidence to get things done, and their perseverance to get things right.
I welcome your feedback and ask you to consider what types of skills you look for in a future successor. Please share what tips you would give young people who desire to be in the financial services industry. Finally, take a moment to ask yourself, what am I doing that is helping to sustain the industry that I love?