Each summer, students from the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics gain important real-world professional skills through internships. In each installment of this series, you’ll hear firsthand about how one Lerner student secured their internship, what their experience as an intern was like and what comes next!
Stephen J. DuBois, Class of 2019, majoring in finance, spent his summer in Atlanta, Georgia as an investment banking summer analyst at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.
Q: How did you find out about this internship?
DuBois: During my time in the Blue Hen Investment Club (BHIC), I was able to connect with many older students who were choosing different career paths. After hearing all of their internship experiences and places they were able to travel one industry piqued my interest due to the complexity of the work and financial applications involved.
After joining BHIC, I learned from my sector head and worked directly under him covering energy and utilities equities. We became very close and after he interned with SunTrust, I was able to better understand the banking industry by hearing from his first-hand experience. I chose to pursue SunTrust and started reaching out to other bankers to hear more about the firm and the work they do on a day-to-day basis.
Q: What is the most exciting task that you have undertaken in your role?
DuBois: For most of my internship, I focused on the gaming and leisure sector of the economy, for example, casinos. Through working with this team, I was staffed on a merger where I was able to see the execution of a deal from start to finish. By assisting our client and showing the different debt structures they could potentially have, it was interesting to see how management wanted to shape the future of their company along with the help from our bank.
It was also exciting to see how the relationship between the bank and the client grew. We presented several debt financing alternatives, highlighting the pros and cons of each. After listening to management’s desires, we were able to present an optimal scenario. This project also caused us to get internal approval by the bank’s risk committee. The team I worked for was required to pitch why this was a worthwhile task for the bank. Deliverables were items such as a pro forma capitalization table, relative valuation analysis and liquidity summary.
Q: What did you learn through this internship that you don’t think you would have learned anywhere else?
DuBois: My internship came at an interesting time in SunTrust’s history. Back in February, it was announced the SunTrust and BB&T were merging to form the sixth largest bank in the United States. Because of this I saw how a company’s culture can evolve and how complicated a merger is. I do not believe that any other firm could have provided this insight as I saw the changes first-hand.
Q: What is an example of a time you were able to apply something you learned at the Lerner College to your role?
DuBois: As a syndicated and leveraged finance summer analyst, I assisted in all parts of the execution of a debt issuance deal, providing non-investment grade clients with various debt solutions. In this role I calculated many current trading levels for clients debt which I learned in my fixed income securities class. This skill helped me every day and gave me a high-level understanding of the debt world.
Q: What has been the most fun part of your internship?
DuBois: Working with people from so many different backgrounds. The most attractive part of banking to me was the variety of people it brought together since a finance or accounting background is not necessarily needed. Many of my fellow interns and the full-time people I worked for had degrees in many fields of study. This enabled all of us to approach a problem with different viewpoints to find the best solution. The diversity kept every day interesting and allowed me to become a better decision maker. Additionally, I enjoyed sitting on a trading floor. Instead of cubicles, my group consisted of around 80 people who sat next to one another with no barriers. This made for a ton of communication and a fun environment.
Also, one day during my internship every SunTrust intern volunteered to help clean up a park in Atlanta with Park Pride, the only nonprofit organization working with communities all over Atlanta to improve their parks.
Q: How do you think this internship will help you with your professional goals?
DuBois: Banking has taught me the need to not only be technically sound but also have the soft skills to communicate in a very fast-paced environment. When presenting to senior bankers, it would not be enough to just know the answer, but you would also need to explain how you got it. When being staffed on many projects, it is also important to stay on top of responsibilities and ensure to always be on the same page with your teams. I believe these skills will be applicable to any career I may have in the future.
Q: What are your plans or next steps once this internship is over?
DuBois: I plan to graduate in December 2019 with an honors B.S. degree in finance. After graduation, I will be studying for various graduate school and professional exams.