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June 7, 2023

How to Make the Most of a Summer Internship: Advice from a Finance Professional

Byron Cordon became interested in finance at a young age. When he was 14, he wanted to get into the shoe game. He turned to the stock market, and what initially started as a way to make a little money turned into a career aspiration. Before starting his current role, Byron held numerous internships on Wall Street that taught him a thing or two about making the most of a summer internship. The following is Byron’s advice for maximizing the four summers of paid, full-time internships that Fellows receive through ATLAS:

  1. Be curious and confident. As an intern, there is no risk in speaking up and asking that dumb question. Everyone wants to teach you, so be the person that raises their hand when no one else does. It’s important to showcase that you can be a sponge but not in the sense that you can memorize everything – actually understand.
  2. Cast a wide net and build a network that provides optionality. You have a long time before you need to pick your final stop before you join the real world. Speak to everyone, learn what they do, and connect with as many people as possible. Not only will this teach you about the business, but it may lead to friends, mentors, and sponsors that will likely benefit your future journey.
  3. Find your true passion(s) and learn your strength(s) early on. Take advantage of the time and experience that ATLAS internships afford you to hone in on your interests and get to know the industry. You should aim to understand how all the teams across the different firms you interact with collaborate to meet a common objective. That will hopefully enable you to have a better sense of where you want to start your career, and the decision-makers will appreciate that.
  4. Be intentional and open-minded. As you network and learn about career options, chase that dream job but be realistic. We can’t always get what we want for a multitude of reasons, so aim for a career that most closely resembles the intersection of your passions and strengths.

And if you’re wondering, in those early days, Byron did earn enough money to buy about 15 pairs of shoes. When he got to college, he sold the shoes and put most of the money into the stock market.

Byron Cordon is on the US Quantitative and Derivative Strategies team at a large U.S. financial institution. He focuses on US equity market macro trends, positioning, flows, and volatility. He regularly writes commentary on important market themes / tactical ideas (e.g. the impact of systematic strategies), creates bespoke analysis for internal and external clients, and advises clients on various topics. He attended the University of Maryland and holds a BS in Mathematics, a BS in Finance, and a Master of Quantitative Finance.