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Students Complete Charles Schwab Internship Amid Pandemic

Despite the shutdown of college campuses and business entities, a number of York College Business students through the Business Department and the Career Services Office, were able to get meaningful internships at investment giant Charles Schwab.

The Charles Schwab Company partnered with York College to offer summer internships to some students, who had lost their internships due to the coronavirus pandemic. York’s Career Services screened resumes, which were then forwarded to Charles Schwab.

The company accepted six from the group: Kamanpreet Singh, Astan Traore, Nader Nagi, Sushmita Saha, YongShi Zhang, and Steven Jones. Some of the interns were available for interviews for this story. Schwab’s motto is “Put the Client First” and it seems they applied that mantra to interns as well.

The interns worked 35 to 40 hours per week between July 27th- August 27th (or longer depending on the class schedule and the projects Schwab had.

YongShi Zhang, a Business Administration major is still in her internship (8/17 – 10/16) and is enjoying the experience,” she says. “The virtual internship is still meaningful. It is a special experience. “I learned a lot such as some of the different software they are using to help them to do analysis every day. I have a different view [now]. Their advice is very helpful.”

Asked how the internship will help her prepare for her career, the York senior says it opened her mind about being open to exploring beyond her comfort zone.

“English is not my first language,” she says. “Normally I only work for some small and Chinese companies because it was easy to communicate. This is the first time I [have] worked for a such big company where most people do not speak Chinese. English is the only language we communicate by. This opportunity [will help me] not limit myself to only look for a company that has Chinese people only.”

In response to how she thinks York is doing to support students’ internship needs even during the shutdown, Zhang gives a passing grade. “York College is doing great work,” she says. “I really appreciate that I have this opportunity of the internship through York College.”

Kamanpreet Singh, a senior Accounting major, interned from August 1 through the 31st and found great meaning in her internship. “Even though it was virtual, I felt that I was an important part of the company because of the way the company wholeheartedly treated the interns, says Singh. “I was involved in meetings, on calls with advisors. I had weekly Zoom meetings with my manager Mark Stamper. I learned a lot about finances and how if managed carefully by a professional, it benefits an individual in the long run. I learned about advisory calls and how to develop an investment plan for a client.”

More than that, Singh says she also learned some important soft skills and picked up tips for her own financial life.

“This taught me how to act professionally based on different circumstances and how to act quickly in different situations,” she says. “I gained a meaningful insight on how to manage my own finances.

Looking forward to graduating and launching her career, Singh says she believes the internship will “open more doors for me and other recruiters will feel that I had some experience with a great company.”

She is grateful to York and the Office of Career Services for notifying students of the internship and helping with submitting resumes and other support.

She is also grateful to Charles Schwab “for allowing me to and make connections.

Astan Traore calls her Schwab internship “a great opportunity and a big surprise,” because as she noted, she was not sure she was “going to get it.”

“I started on July 27th and finished on August 21, 2020. It was short but I learned a lot, she says. “The internship was virtual [so] they sent me the necessary equipment that I needed. I worked with a wonderful team in the trading services department. Basically, they deal with client services, marketing, and most importantly “Schwab Live Daily, which is a daily broadcast show produced by the team. They present different programs on the show, the main purpose is to educate clients and prospects about the different products offered by the company.”

Traore’s team was composed of eight people including her, my manager Mills-Lambeth Donna, Margaret Chung, Giftie Thompson, Sarah Garza, Chris Lopez, Gabe Garza, and Andrew Chaney.

“The team welcomed me with open arms,” she says. They were really nice. I got to learn a little bit about what they all do on a daily basis. I had daily meetings with Donna, where she would go over what I learned and what she would assign me to do for the next day. I also got the privilege to join team meetings.”

Traore was also happy that her supervisor organized a meet and greet events so she could meet members of the company. “Basically, she would introduce me to a Schwab employee and set a meeting for us,” she says. “I got the opportunity to meet with over forty employees of Charles Schwab, I was the interviewer. So, I took advantage of that. I was able to learn a lot that way. I

Learned about the company’s corporate culture; how much the employees appreciate working for such a great company. Most of them have been working there for years like twenty-plus years. I found that amazing.”

The student also admired how the company's mantra of teamwork and putting the customer first. “What I really loved about the company, is that teamwork is very important to them. They really rely on each other and help each other to reach their goals.”

“I learned two essential things that one must own in the workplace, she says. “First, help others, which means being there for your team and participate in the teamwork; in other words, be a team player. Second, know what you are doing and be confident about it so you can talk about it with confidence.”

She added that during the meetings she learned the job function of different employees from different departments.

“I met people from the finance and accounting department,” Traore says. “I was really impressed by what they do. Before that, I had different views on the accounting/finance profession. Now that I have interviewed real professionals, I have a different perspective on my career. The financial services industry will definitely be something I will be open to after graduation.”

Traore says she was also fortunate to get the opportunity do two presentations. The first one was a presentation to her supervisor’s team. She was not given a topic, so she had to get creative.

“Since I did not have a topic, I introduced to the company, what I learned about the company” \and also I talked about the team, I presented them with their pictures and what they do on a daily basis. The second presentation was to a group including other people from other departments and the vice president. I introduced my school [to] Charles Schwab, I talked about my internship experience and all the people that I met with. The presentations really helped me to become more confident.”

Traore says she is “really thankful to York College and Charles Schwab for giving me the opportunity to work as an intern at such a big company.” The internship, she says, allowed her to get out of her comfort zone.

“Now I am a different person,” she says. “ I have more confidence than ever. I really enjoyed the two months in the company. I am really thankful to York College and Charles Schwab for giving me the opportunity to work as an intern at such a big company. Now I am a different person. I have more confidence than ever. I really Charles Schwab is definitely a place to work for.”

Steven Jones, a senior in Business Administration major completed his five-week internship and discussed his experience with the college upon completion as well.

"The reason I was able to gain a meaningful experience from the internship was that my team was very hands-on with me,” he says. They allowed me to ask as many questions as I needed and gave me tools to research things that I found interesting; they also worked with me and exposed me to their work-life on a daily basis through morning huddles that would talk about what their daily task should be and how they would complete it."

Jones still marvels at the experience. "I got to be exposed to a billion-dollar corporation's inner workings and how they strive to achieve their goals,” he says. Not only is their culture inclusive; they care about their employees, even at the lower level…like interns."

Asked how he thinks this will help him during the rest of his time in college, he was glad to share his thoughts.

"I think this experience will allow me to have more answers to questions that other students won’t have due to the fact they haven’t done this internship,” he noted. “Not only do I have experience in corporate America, but I have [now] have tools that will grant me access to doors that I wouldn’t be able to open without that knowledge."

Jones, a Thurgood Marshall College Fund Scholar (TMCF), also reflected on how those doors will open.

"I think this will help me to land and be successful in my first job because Charles Schwab is a very well-known and respected company and for my future employer to see that I interned there and got great reviews from my manager and people who interacted with me on a day to day basis, they will see that I am a respectful and hard-working young man and I would be an asset to their firm."

As for how York found a way to still provide internship.

"Without York’s help I wouldn’t have known about this opportunity,” he says. “The internships that I applied to prior all denied me due to circumstances that we are all facing currently. But with York’s help, I was able to land a spectacular Internship that will boost my chances of landing a great job when the time comes.”

He has also expressed his gratitude to the company for helping students such as he is, in a very different time than everyone had previously known.

"I want to thank the people at Schwab for being so warm and welcoming to me,” he says. “Not only have they showed me how a corporation is supposed to run, but it also showed me the culture that is conducive to keeping employees. My team not only embraced me but sent me tokens of gratitude for a job well done and I am forever grateful for what they have done for me.”

Like the interns, Ms. Linda Chesney, Director of Career Services at York College, and her team are very grateful to the Charles Schwab company for providing the students with a fulfilling experience at a time when most companies were not taking on interns.

“Career Services staff worked diligently to recruit the students who were selected,” said Chesney. “I'm happy to see that one of our TMCF 2019 Scholars (Steven Jones) had the opportunity to be a part of this internship experience [too].”

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