This summer, students from the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics discovered new avenues for professional preparation and practical hands-on experience. Lerner College students pursued an array of remote, in person or hybrid internships, externships and other professional development opportunities. From MBA scholars to undergraduates entering their second year at UD, students across a spectrum of Lerner programs shared their experiences accomplishing an assortment of projects.
Each profile of our “My Summer Internship” series will provide a glimpse into one of these unique experiences and how students applied knowledge from their studies to be successful in the real-world.
Michal Biben, class of 2024 business analytics major with a minor in management information systems, spent his summer as a portfolio compliance intern with BlackRock.
Lerner: How did you find out about this internship? Why did you pursue it?
Biben: I learned about this internship opportunity from my Introduction to Marketing professor. He mentioned his daughter had a great experience interning at BlackRock, and that it is a reputable firm. I was intrigued because BlackRock operates at the intersection of two industries I am passionate about, finance and technology. Hence, I thought it would be an excellent fit for me.
Lerner: What was the most exciting task or project that you completed?
Biben: During my internship, one of the tasks I found the most exciting was investigating pre-trade alerts and then deciding whether to approve or deny the orders of securities made by portfolio managers. It was important to ensure that these trades did not exceed the firm’s internal holding limits. I received training specifically for this task, and I was allowed to handle pre-trades after about a month into the internship. I enjoyed this task because it came with a lot of responsibility since approving a trade I was not supposed to could result in financial losses for the company.
Lerner: What did you learn from the internship that you think you would not have learned elsewhere?
Biben: Having the opportunity to be a part of the daily business operations at BlackRock was an experience allowing me to gain a profound understanding of the financial industry and its ever-changing market trends. The knowledge and insight I acquired during my time there would have been impossible to obtain from any other source.
Lerner: What is an example of a time where you were able to apply what you’ve learned at Lerner to your role?
Biben: Considering the specificity of my role, even my manager confessed that no book or academic course could have prepared me for the job. However, I am convinced that Lerner played a crucial role in enhancing my soft skills such as writing, communication, and teamwork. These skills were pivotal for me to perform well in my role and deliver strong results.
Lerner: Did you face any challenges during your internship? If so, what was the issue and how did you overcome it?
Biben: While I didn’t encounter any major obstacles during my internship, I did face a significant challenge in the form of a steep learning curve for the role. To overcome this challenge, I actively observed and sought guidance from more experienced colleagues, and over time I noticed a significant improvement in my understanding of the role’s requirements and the tasks involved.
Lerner: What are your career plans, and how do you think the internship will push you closer to your professional goals?
Biben: As an international student, I wish to remain in the U.S. after graduation for at least the duration of my STEM OPT, which is 36 months. My ultimate goal would be to secure a position within a technology group at an investment bank, asset manager or consulting firm. This internship has helped me develop my soft skills, and successfully navigating the highly selective process will hopefully further my career aspirations.