Connor Woods says his Caldwell University business professors prepared him for his summer internship at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). “Key values such as accountability, innovative thinking and hard work” along with finance classes and data analytics training “helped me tremendously,” says Woods, who worked in member supervision in FINRA’s data specialist group learning how the company reviews and conducts detailed assessments in looking for risk at member firms.
On the job, Woods built his analytical skills using “powerful tools” such as Microsoft Excel, Sequel, Python, Microsoft Power BI, and Data IQ. And it was an “incredible opportunity” to work with Blotter Analytics and the Associated Person Specialist Team. “The internship definitely helped me better prepare for a future career in the financial industry,” says Woods who is majoring in financial economics and minoring in data analytics. “There has been no better place to start than FINRA, which oversees thousands of broker deals and plays a key role within the securities industry.” And he says FINRA also helped him focus on values such as integrity, collaboration and hard work.
Prior to his internship, Woods earned a Bloomberg Financial Markets certification by training with his professors in Caldwell’s new state-of-the-art Bloomberg Finance Lab, featuring Bloomberg Terminals, the same software and technology used globally by leading business and financial professionals. The training proved helpful at FINRA when he used the Bloomberg Terminals and already knew their ins and outs. While at Caldwell, he also earned a certificate in Microsoft Power BI, which helped him land his internship since his group at FINRA was looking for candidates trained in the software.
Woods says the focus in his business classes on communicating effectively and learning to give presentations equipped him for the work at FINRA. He recalls how in one of his finance classes he had a final exam presentation on a stock portfolio, which was very valuable. When it came time to give three “big presentations” for FINRA, one to senior management, because of his business class experiences, he was ready. “Caldwell University has helped me prepare for these types of presentations by teaching me how to write as well as present.”
Since FINRA was on a hybrid work model, Woods appreciated being able to go to the Liberty Street downtown Manhattan offices one or two days a week. “The people and relationships I established during the summer are unforgettable,” he says. So much so that he was offered a job with the firm starting next summer. He encourages other students to invest the time, sacrifice and hard work needed for internships and to be successful in them. “I’d do it again … just do it.”