October 28, 2008

Teaching the Business of Investing

Brett Muney ’86 writes about hosting an internship for Chris McConnell ’09 at Saratoga Futures in New York

Brett Muney ’86, who works in sales and trading at Saratoga Futures, hosted a summer internship for economics and business major Chris McConnell ’09 (Scottsdale, Ariz.) at the New York City brokerage firm.

  • Chris McConnell ’09 Interns with Investment Broker Brett Muney ’86

It would be tough to find a more enthusiastic intern than Chris McConnell. Others might have known more about the financial industry and the markets than Chris, but no one possessed the positive attitude and willingness to learn that Chris displayed.

Saratoga Futures, as an independent introducing broker, requires an entrepreneurial spirit and a great deal of persistence. We are not a major financial institution and do not have a preset routine for interns, which worked to Chris’s advantage. Instead of going through the motions of rotating amongst a variety of disciplines, Chris was able to learn about everything involved in our business while sitting next to one of the principals of the firm.

To his credit, Chris not only performed all the tasks we asked of him, but he also found the time to research ideas and asked numerous questions regarding our firm and the industry in general. This is what we appreciated about him so much, and I cannot stress how important it is to a college student who is about to enter the workforce. Learn everything you can, make as many contacts as you can, and offer assistance in all aspects of whatever business you are interested in.

Once we determined that Chris had a basic understanding of our business, which only took a week or two, we had him on the phone speaking to clients and vendors. He also went to an industry event, accompanied management to customer meetings, and even made a house call to a new customer in need of trading system training. We involved Chris in as many aspects of our business as we could (only those things that require a securities license were off-limits).

During times when we weren’t as busy as normal we would have Chris ask us questions about our business, Wall Street as an industry, or just about life after college. If there was ever a time when he ran out of things to ask (which rarely happened) we would provide either stories about the markets or come up with questions that required Chris to do some research. He always came back with many more questions whenever that occurred, and we always had a healthy dialogue going.

Chris was a great asset to our company and a great representative of the Lafayette community. We certainly enjoyed his time here, and really appreciated the effort he put forth in taking the time to learn the business. His curiosity, ambition, and energy should serve him well in the future.

  • Economics and Business
  • Internships/Externships

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