I often remind students that this is not Harvard: if you want the same job prospects that Ivy League students have, you will need to roll up your sleeves and work twice as hard at it. Every semester (it happens more often than you think!) I come across students that are driven enough to achieve just that; students who come to UCF and tell themselves things like, “you know what? I think I am going to work on Wall Street”. Matt Freindlich is one of those exceptional students who was able to dream big and land a job offer at Guggenheim Partners. Lucky for you, he has some very helpful lessons to share.
Lesson 1: Get an early start
Matt decided to study Finance after completing a Marketing summer internship at the end of his freshman year. He interned at a start-up company and met someone who was a Sales and Trading Analyst for Barclays. After speaking with him and learning more about what he did, Finance really peaked Matt’s interest. During his down time at his Marketing internship, he would read CNBC, track the market and even opened up his own trading account.
Lesson 2: Take the tough courses
When asked what courses he would recommend to other students who want to succeed in Finance, Matt indicated that outside of the mandatory finance classes, he believes that Financial Statement Analysis and Financial Derivatives taught him a lot of valuable things in relation to what he wanted to do in the Finance field. Financial Statement Analysis with Dr. Sturm was one of his favorite classes at UCF; “Dr. Sturm did a fantastic job of relating the course material to real world corporate situations, which I felt gave me a leg up in my internships.” Thank you, Dr. Sturm!
Lesson 3: Be persistent
I asked Matt how he was able to land an internship in New York City, which he describes as one of his greatest accomplishments to date. Matt had multiple internships in the city, and getting each required a lot of work. “There were countless hours of cold calls, cold emails and research online to find companies that may be a good fit,” he recalls. “One thing I noticed through my experience searching for internships was that 9 out of 10 times, your ‘dream internship’ wasn’t posted online. You have to go and seek out the opportunities on your own and aggressively pursue them. People will hang up the phone on you mid-sentence and will not answer your emails, no matter how many you send, but at the end of the day, all you need is one.”
Lesson 4: Learn what you like and what you don’t like
The most valuable thing Matt says he learned from his various internships is what he did not want to do. “It is very difficult to distinguish from the outside what you do or don’t want to do, until you get to see it up close and personal. Being in the high-paced office environment, working at a Wall Street firm, also gave me insight on what the day-to-day operations of these mega banks are like.” Internships are a great way for students to gain hands-on experience as well as exposure to different industries and areas of their chosen field of study. Not everyone marries their high school sweetheart, right? We grow, learn from different experiences, and gradually understand what we like and don’t like.
Lesson 5: Be friendly and determined
Two major factors that helped Matt get chosen for his NYC internships were his personality and perseverance. “Most of these internships and jobs require long hours and people want to work with others who are outgoing, friendly and enjoyable to be around. I also truly believe my perseverance and will to stop at nothing made a lasting impression. There is a fine line between being annoying and persistent, and I think, with a lot of practice, I was finally able to develop a formula that was successful.”
Lesson 6: Get involved
Some of you might actually know Matt from The Young Investors Club (he is the current President). Matt describes his campus involvement as his launch pad to gaining the skills and tools he needed to be successful in his internships. “Although there were many classes I took that gave me a great foundation, joining the Young Investors Club put me in a different league. Through the club, I learned a lot more about current events happening around the world, how they were affecting the global markets, and how I could profit from them. The club had and still has an extremely successful track record of alumni who are now off in the real world working in incredible jobs all over the US in top notch roles. This prestige was something that drove me every week to keep reading and learning more about the markets, so I could position myself to be in their seat a couple of years down the line.”
Lesson 7: Research, research, research
Applying for jobs online might not be enough if you are aiming high. “Doing your research online, finding a company that you want to work for and reaching out to them directly shows a company a lot about your character, work ethic and will to succeed. This is definitely something that separated me from my competition.”
Lesson 8: Dad knows best
You might not have to travel to New York City to receive the most helpful advice you need to succeed. Matt pointed out that his dad was a great inspiration and taught him exactly what he needed to know to get his foot in the door. “Being a great salesman his entire life, he has a ton of experience with cold calling and cold emailing, which was by far the number one most important thing that helped me land my respective internships and job.”
Following graduation in May, Matt Freindlich will be working for Guggenheim Partners in NYC in their securities division as an Equity Sales Associate. He gave us some insights into his new position.
“The equities group is broken into three groups (research, sales, and trading). The Research Analysts, who are each assigned to a specific market sector, spend their days doing in-depth, intensive research on all the stocks under Guggenheim’s coverage universe. Every morning, those Research Analysts pitch to the sales team (myself) what their findings were. The sales team then goes and calls on the various clients we have at hedge funds and mutual funds that would be interested in the information our Research Analysts found. For example, if there is news about Gilead Sciences adding a new drug to their pipeline, I would call on a client that manages a mid to large cap portfolio that has a tendency to hold some biotech stocks. My goal is to explain to the client how the news is going to affect his current portfolio and how I think adding shares or re balancing the portfolio may be a good option. Lastly, once the client has decided to add shares, they will call up our trading team and place the trade.”
The best of luck to our Wall Street Knight!
Laura G. McDonough
Career Coach – Finance & Economics