Spotlight on Internships
Yushan Jin, a senior in the Department of Personal Financial Planning at the University of Missouri, spent her fall semester working as a licensed customer representative intern at Shelter Insurance Company’s Nancy Allison Agency. She helped review policies with clients, reviewed monthly company reports on growth, loss ratio, and impact of activities, and experienced many opportunities to learn about all lines of insurance clients and prospects. Ms. Allison mentored Yushan on how to build her own agency.
Yushan is grateful for the opportunity to learn so much in such a short time. She states, "As a policy writer, the most challenging part is to help clients maximum their benefits when choosing a policy package. When clients are satisfied with the service provided, they are more likely to refer future clients." She found it fascinating to meet different people with a variety of backgrounds. Yushan states, "I have been able to utilize many of my courses in this internship experience, such as risk management, investment, and estate planning. By working more with actual clients, I will be better prepared for the CFP® exam and to be a financial planner."
Senior Grant Fry completed the internship requirement for the Personal Financial Planning major this summer at Bank of America in Seattle, WA. The Associate Financial Advisor Development Program Internship gave him the opportunity to serve as a digital ambassador to help clients better use the bank’s website and mobile app. He was a Lobby Leader at one of the financial centers where he coordinated service delivery for over 30 customers per day, and all while developing strategic marketing plans to help customers better understand preferred reward benefits. The internship concluded with a family financial plan case study as part of a cross-functional intern project where the team built a comprehensive, cross-sale plan to deliver as many services as possible to the consumer in accordance with their needs. Here is what he had to say about his incredible internship opportunity:
"Moving across the country to Seattle for two and a half months was challenging but an experience I will take with me in my future endeavors with confidence. I was able to learn so much with this remarkable company, and I am thankful I could be a part of something this special. I would like to thank Darshana Maru, Chris Yuasa, Laura Streuli Jones, and Marco Lopez for being such unique examples of leadership and for the kindness they showed me. I am so excited for the next journey in my career."
Grant will finish his coursework and graduate in May 2019.
Master’s degree student Yue (Joy) Zhuang interned with Greencourt Capital, Inc., in North Bethesda, Maryland. Greencourt Capital’s parent company is a public traded company on Shanghai Stock Exchange and has both Chinese and American clients. She worked as a Financial Analyst Intern and was responsible for providing due diligence support through market research and industry analysis, creating investor presentations for capital raises, and composing real estate marketing report on focus areas.
Joy enjoyed the opportunity to participate fully in the process of project decision making. She stated "As an Intern, I provided market research support after the team received the investment information from our partners. After review and approval by management, the team signed off on the project and [the interns] started working on pricing the fund product with financial modeling."
Pictured L to R: Crystal Jiang (Cornell University, Financial Analyst Intern); Yue (Joy) Zhuang; Yi Lu (Greencourt Capital, Inc., Fund Manager and Executive Assistant to the President).
She found the biggest challenge to be financial modeling but was fascinated by Chinese investors, especially the high net worth individuals' awareness of asset allocation and willingness to have foreign asset and foreign real estate in their portfolio for the diversification. During the internship, Joy also researched Opportunity Zones, which were added to the tax code on December 22, 2017. This research utilized her personal financial planning knowledge.
Brandon Fredman, a University of Missouri Personal Financial Planning senior, served Spring 2018 as a tax associate intern for CL Parrish Enterprises Inc., dba. Tami R. Benus, CPA. His responsibilities included entering data from tax documents provided by clients and preparing tax returns while maintaining professional communication with clients to resolve issues with missing documents or answer questions about their small business. "You can really learn a lot about a person by doing their taxes," said Fredman.
Fredman believes that through preparing tax returns he has learned about financial decisions people make, whether good or bad, which teaches the importance of financial literacy. "The financial services industry is about trust. People will give me their social security number, bank info, and essentially a key to their lives. I take this very seriously."
All students in the MU Personal Financial Planning degree program are required to complete an internship in a financial planning industry role to be eligible for graduation. The program is a CFP Board Registered Program that meets the educational requirements for its graduates to sit for the Certified Financial Planner™ exam.
Chris Moore, a University of Missouri Personal Financial Planning senior, serves as an Investments and Retirement Planning Intern at The Bank of Missouri. He is engaged in an experiential learning opportunity enhancing his knowledge of investment management, retirement planning, and fiduciary trust services through conducting research, preparing reports, formulating financial plans, and analyzing investment portfolios. Moore has learned the number one priority for a banking institution, such as The Bank of Missouri, is maintaining the fiduciary relationship with clients. "Learning about client relationships, investments, and retirement planning has been crucial for my growth as an aspiring CFP®," says Moore.