Austin Smith '18
Business Intelligence and Analytics, Finance
First Washington Reality
Briefly describe your internship.
"I worked with the acquisitions team on a daily basis and fulfilled any duties that were needed. I created and maintained a database of commercial properties and would constantly update them based on our investment strategy. I would also assist in underwriting and financing potential properties to decide the type of investment strategy we might take. I was a resource to them and tried to add value to the company anyway I could."
How did you land your role?
"I was first put in contact with the firm by my dad. It was then my responsibility to get an interview. I was able to do this by being persistent, yet professional. I wanted to make sure they knew I wanted the position. In my interview I was told that they didn't even look at my resume. They wanted to know who I really was rather than what was said on paper. I was able to land the job by being personable. My resume was important, but they wanted to hear my accomplishments directly from me. I think what best supported me in my interview was confidence and believing that I was the best person for the job."
What skills did you use on a daily basis in this role?
"I used two different categories of skill on a daily basis. The first was my ability to be professional. This included many different skills such as being personable, respectful, responsible and hard working. I made sure to manage my time and complete each task as quickly as I could and to the best of my ability. When I thought I was finished I would always recheck my work once or twice more. The other category of skill I used was the lessons I learned from school. This ranged from industry knowledge, financial terms, spreadsheets, PowerPoint, and much more. It was important to have a grasp of what I was assigned to do and ask questions if I needed direction. It was not only beneficial to the company, but taught me a lot."
How did your SJU education prepare you for this opportunity?
"Something I did for the summer that has really helped me was to keep a journal of everything I learned. This benefited me all summer and will help me for the future as well. I would write my task out and the steps I took to perform it. I am a big believer in knowing how to do something the first time you are taught. It is very impressive and useful if a boss only has to teach you things once. This way I can use what I learned to further my skills and I did so throughout the summer. It is also useful for resumes and interviews so you can describe exactly what your job entailed."
What is some advice you would offer to SJU students who are seeking an internship or job?
"I would say to be professional and persistent. Companies can be very, very busy and might forget about your email, phone call, or resume. Don't be afraid to give them a reminder email or a phone call. It is also helpful to network and use connections to try to get your foot in the door. Use resources like LinkedIn and the Career Development Center to get in touch with people. It always helps to know someone to make your resume stand out. Lastly, I would say to be confident. If you don't believe you're qualified for a position, then no one will. Sell yourself to the company and describe how you are going to add value to their firm."