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  • by Alexandra Keane
  • Specialist, Business Performance Solutions Programs, TD Ameritrade Institutional

Breaking News: TD Ameritrade Institutional corporate interns tell all!

It’s been bittersweet around the office these past few days as our summer corporate interns started wrapping things up and prepared to head back to campus. The weeks have flown by, and they have accomplished so much. My calendar is booked with good-bye lunches as their internships come to a close.

L-R Christina Eng, Margaret DiGerolamo, Alejandra Cornell-Roberts, Ryan Shen, Timothy Haan, Chris Passarelli

We had a particularly amazing group of 8 interns this summer. I know I have a lot of positive feedback for each of them. So I thought it would be fun to turn the tables and see what they thought about us. We asked two corporate interns for feedback on their experience. They were both surprised that our corporate culture is more relaxed than they were expecting. Around here we work hard, get our jobs done well, but know how and when to have a laugh. I guess it shows!

Here’s more of what they had to say:

Ryan Shen, Junior
NYU Stern School of Business, Marketing and Data Science Major

Was there anything about your experience you weren’t expecting?

From the start, my manager, Mike D’Angelo, Manager, Institutional Digital Marketing, was incredibly personable. He talked about his background as an independent web designer before working in a number of consulting agencies. Based on tales from my friends working in financial services,I thought an internship at TD Ameritrade would be high pressure and cutthroat. I thought my co-workers would all be people who steadfastly stuck to finance the moment they graduated from college. My conversation with Mike proved me very wrong. There are so many paths to arrive here.

What do you look for in an internship?

Before I came in, I only focused on growth opportunities. Interning helped me realize growth opportunities only present themselves if I can establish trust early. I owe a lot to my managers because they allowed me to take risks. I was able to contribute unique value to the organization. To me, that is priceless for any internship.

Describe your favorite project you worked on.

I’ve loved all of my projects. I’ve worked with email analysis, web analysis, and video performance analysis. I felt like I was able to add (some) value to the team.

What do you think is going to be most important in a future employer?

Opportunities where I can prove my worth and learn—always.

What’s your dream job? Do you believe this internship provided a step toward it?

I think dream jobs are slightly overrated. I don’t think I’ve worked in enough industries to decide on one permanently. I don’t think I’ve worked in enough roles either. Just six months ago, I couldn’t have imagined myself working in financial services. This internship made me realize I need to experiment more.

Margaret DiGerolamo, Senior
Stevens Institute of Technology, Quantitative Finance Major

How did you find this internship?

Last year, I met a TD Ameritrade representative at the career fair at my school. I applied for and was accepted into the T2 Summer Internship Program. During that summer, I learned about the different parts of the business and found the Strategic Planning and Analysis team. The work that they were doing was extremely interesting to me and that is where I interned.

What do you look for in an internship?

I look for hands-on experience. The point of internships is to see if this is what you want to do after graduation, so I want to get in there and really see what kind of work I would be doing every day. Also, I look for a work environment where I can easily talk to and learn from people at the company—and I definitely got that here.

Describe your favorite project you worked on.

I was able to create a reporting dashboard in Tableau, an analytics dashboard, for a product in Institutional. I felt very accomplished to work on it for the duration of the 10 weeks, and finish with a working dashboard that people will actually use to gain insights.

What have you learned about the Institutional business?

I have learned that, in the end, the Institutional business is trying to help advisors help their clients. The best-case scenario for Institutional is that advisors’ needs are being met, and their clients are happy with the service they are given.

You have attended talks from various members of management. What’s something you heard that stuck with you? Who said it?

Something that John Ruda, Managing Director, Institutional Strategy and Analytics, said really had an impact on me. He advocates, “Bringing your whole self to work.” I thought this was an insightful and rare thing to hear in financial services. There are a lot of assumptions about the way you need to act and the things you need to say to fit into a mold of success in business. But John challenges those limits. He knows that people are the most happy, motivated, and productive when they get to truly be themselves at work.

Anything fun planned for the rest of the summer?

I am going to the beach! I am trying to soak up some sun before heading into senior year.

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