Patrick O'Keefe and Aerin Kalmans next to Jepson Hall

Interns net jobs with investment firms

March 2, 2022
Leadership studies and business administration education is the winning combination for interns

Two seniors have accepted job offers in the New York City offices of the investment firms where they completed their Jepson School of Leadership Studies internships this past summer. Following their May graduation, Aerin Kalmans of Bellaire, Texas, will join New York Life Investments as a business analyst, and Patrick O’Keefe of Winnetka, Ill., will join William Blair as a junior sales associate for the healthcare sector.

Both credit the combination of their leadership studies majors and business administration minors with giving them a competitive advantage.

During her virtual internship in the office of the chief executive officer at New York Life Investments, a global asset firm that manages $650 billion in assets, Kalmans did some ghost writing for the CEO. She also took the lead on a project in which interns helped create a marketing strategy for New York Life’s exchange-traded funds (ETFs), a type of investment fund traded on the stock exchange.

“They needed someone to lead, and I can do that,” she said. “In order to appeal to young investors who care about the environment, our marketing strategy targeted environmental social governance related to ETFs.

“I assigned roles to the other interns based on their strengths. For example, I asked the intern with an economics background to take the numbers role. After bringing all the interns together on the project, I convened our mentors to get their input.”

In June, Kalmans will start New York Life’s three-year training program, which features rotations in product, marketing, and sales.

“I want to learn all sides of the business to understand where my strengths lie,” she said. “I’m looking forward to working for a company that encourages people to invest in a socially responsible way.”

At William Blair, a global investment and financial services boutique, O’Keefe worked with four other interns on the institutional sales team of the firm’s Chicago office. They received industry training by researching and presenting sales recommendations to supervisors.

“We synthesized detailed, often lengthy reports generated by the equity research team on sector trends, specific companies, and C-suite executives’ speeches,” he said. “We parsed each report down to a paragraph that resembled the pitch licensed sales analysts would send to clients. Every week, we also presented a five-minute stock pitch, mimicking an investor call, to the entire sales team.”

Both Kalmans and O’Keefe said their business administration minor gave them the foundational business knowledge necessary to succeed in their internships. Kalmans said her leadership studies classes in ethics and group dynamics set her apart from the other interns, netting her a job offer.

“As a leadership studies major, I learned how to motivate people and how to make concise, persuasive arguments,” O’Keefe said. “The interdisciplinary nature of leadership studies also helped me understand the various industry sectors in which William Blair invests.”

He anticipates his interdisciplinary background will continue to benefit him after he joins the company’s sales division in healthcare, a sector that encompasses disciplines ranging from public policy to scientific research.

“I wanted to find a way to use my skills in finance to give back,” O’Keefe said. “By working in the healthcare sector, I can present clients with investment ideas about companies that often improve people’s lives. Also, William Blair has outstanding values and gives a lot back to the community.”