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Michael Rueffer ’17

How did you explore your interests and decide on a major?

Coming into Lake Forest, I had always been a numbers person. By default, that allowed me to narrow my focus into four areas, math, econ, business, and finance. Some of the greatest advice that I received when I was a freshman was to try different classes and branch out. Branching out into these different areas of study, I was able to narrow down my choice to finance. The professors are top notch, and the connections to the finance community in the surrounding areas really helped drive me.

What were your responsibilities as an intern?

The Kane County Cougars- I worked directly with the Front Office. Being a small office I was able to work directly with the directors. I worked daily to reconcile sales data from credit cards to ensure accuracy, I worked directly with the CPA to input journal entries into the books, and I worked on an individual project of studying the cost efficiency of an investment at their ballpark.

Calamos Investments- I was working more in the operations side of things. The Fund Administration department works with the pricing of Mutual Funds. A lot of what I did was analyzing securities and pledging them as collateral, analyzing buy/sell transactions and submitting wire transfers, and lastly,I helped develop an automated Excel file to help accelerate a very manual process.

Morgan Stanley- This was more of a client-facing job. Again, I was analyzing securities, this time however, I was analyzing them for investment decisions. I worked closely with my boss and his clients to help aid and support them in any way I could. I even was given a mock $1 million portfolio to invest in equities, of which I returned 20% over 3 months.

What was the most rewarding part of your internship experiences?

The most rewarding part of my internship experiences would have to be the diversity of jobs that I was able to work in. I was able to work in two different industries and have three completely different jobs. Another rewarding aspect while working these jobs, was being able to see where my work actually impacted the business.

What did you learn about yourself during your internships?

The confidence that I had gained from my experiences and my ability to portray what I have learned to my coworkers is something that I never thought I would have after only 3 months on the job.

What role has your internship played in shaping your career path?

The internships that I have had allowed me the chance to work in many different areas, showing me what I do and do not like.

Do you have any advice for students completing internships in your field?

Network as much as you can. It only takes one person to change the way your career will go. Never turn down an opportunity to speak with people in the industry you think you might want to go into. At the end of the day even an informational interview can turn into something for you. You would be surprised how many people are willing to help, you just have to reach out to them.

Anything else to add?

Honesty is the best policy and this is more than true in trying to find an internship or career. Just be yourself and let the interviewers get to know you. They would rather work with people they like and get along with than with people who claim to know everything but they can’t work with.