Day in the life of a law student interning in Finance

Published on 17 October 2022

Celestina writes about her virtual one-week Summer Talent Programme in Asset Management

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My first year of law school had come to an end. The summer break was well underway when I decided to take on a career-related programme in finance. From my point of view, many law students explore their career options in a very rigid way. We are silently taught by our academic environment that there is no room to look into other fields of interest, denying ourselves the capacity to learn from direct personal exposure to new professional approaches, practices and skills. I, however, opt to give more consideration to the understanding that the legal profession is multidisciplinary. Thereby, in acquiring work experience in other fields selectively, I increase my marketability.

Banking and finance law is one of the branches of commercial law that I am particularly thinking to pursue as an area of specialisation. In order to gain industry knowledge, a professional competency that would then be invaluable, I joined the fully virtual one-week Summer Talent Programme in Asset Management. The programme was established by Entrepreneurs in Action, a talent agency and sponsored by Fidelity International, one of the world’s largest asset management firms. I was pleasantly surprised and excited to have been one of twenty students selected for such an opportunity. Naturally, I was also quite anxious about taking part in the programme with no academic background in finance or economics- especially when I found out that there were less than five out of the twenty students that were not undertaking an undergraduate degree in finance or economics. However, I understood that to make the most of the programme I had to adopt a positive mindset along with an optimistic outlook.

The programme was demanding yet very stimulating, running from 9 am to 5pm each day with different subject matter to unpack. It consisted of motivational sessions, multiple masterclasses by professionals from the primary sectors of asset management handled by the firm, (Equity research, Fixed Income, Multi Asset, Foreign Exchange and ESG Research), subsequent exercises as well as Q&A sessions that altogether contributed to the pitch challenge that was presented to senior professionals from Entrepreneurs in Action and Fidelity International on the last day.

Seeing as the programme was structured to be more focused on equipping participants with as much knowledge as possible, I did not have a fixed routine. Nevertheless, I find it fitting to describe how I spent the second day of the programme, which was when some of the career specific masterclasses and exercises were conducted.

9:00: I promptly join the zoom meeting. The hosts greet the team while registering and confirming that all participants are present. A run-through of the order of the day is then given and the series of masterclasses begin as the speakers log into the meeting.

9:15: The first masterclass is on sustainable (ESG) investing and it is delivered by a sustainable investing associate from the firm. I listen attentively to the presentation, take notes to remember key points and terms to research. I also write down any questions that arise from the presentation.  From this masterclass, I learnt the fundamentals of ESG (Environment, Social and Government), why and how ESG has been integrated as an investment strategy in asset management firms and the Fidelity International’s tailored approach to it. I know this presentation is very significant to me as I would utilise the information I retain when preparing for the pitch challenge. As it ends, I also have leeway to ask questions during the fifteen-minute Q&A session.

10:15: A short morning break is granted. I take this time to digest the notes I have taken and have a snack that barely acts as sufficient breakfast.

10:30: The second masterclass, covering equity research, begins. Similarly, there is a Q&A session at the end of the session whereby participants are split into breakout rooms with one representative from the equity research team at Fidelity International. A three-set stock picking exercise is introduced after the session to consolidate what has sunk in from the presentation. Each set has two companies that are to be analysed and compared to determine the better investment. We are grouped into three teams with each team handling a single set. With forty minutes to research, we come to an agreeable conclusion and present our findings that, thankfully, are in correspondence with the position of representatives from the firm’s equity research team. After all groups are done with their presentations, we are given the chance to ask questions related to the exercise. I posed a question to one of the speakers on how they analysed market trends and non-market conditions to determine which company stock from all each set was the better investment. It was a good call to do so as it allowed me to assume the perspective of an equity analyst and study the markets as they would.

12:00: We come to a temporary halt for lunch.

12:45: The masterclass on multi asset begins. I remain focused, putting down important points. I regard multi asset as the most complex sector as speakers from the firm’s team break down the manner in which it operates. It roughly comprises of handling all types of assets and forecasting the movements markets in order to know which ones will do better, bringing together part of the responsibilities of an Equity Research analyst and seemingly doubling down as it involves. For this reason, I felt that it requires more experience to work in this sector.  

14:30: The final masterclass of the day is on fixed income. I am able to comprehend the general concept of how it operates and is relevant to current world situations. The exercise for this masterclass is aimed at determining which company, upon research, can be granted a loan by the firm. In this task, I consider factors such as a company’s credit rating score and outlook, S&P rating and outlook, and business activities.

15:45: Participants given a short break that I use to take my eyes off the computer screen and stretch my body to relieve the tension from sitting in place for long periods of time.

16:10: A recruitment session takes place after the break, during which the firm’s investment team speaks to us about internship opportunities available to us after undertaking the programme.

16:45: All speakers from the masterclasses leave the meeting. The programme hosts as well as fellow participants remain in the zoom meeting to have a debrief on the day’s activities.

17:00: The day is over. I log out of the meeting and go for a leisurely walk to compensate for being indoors all day before preparing for tomorrow later in the evening.

Written by Celestina Akello Agullo, Bachelor of Laws (Honours) English/NI Law                                                                                  

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