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Internship Profile: David Selsey '12, Joseph Gunnar & Co.

New York, New York, Joseph Gunnar & Co.

A reflection on David's internship experience:

When I first got into the office, I was told by the receptionist that I had to wait until someone came to get me. I sat on the comfortable couches and watched CNBC on four different television screens. After ten minutes of waiting in the receptionist’s area, Michael Kaplan, who is vice president of investments at Joseph Gunnar and Co., LLC came to greet me. He brought me into Anthony Sica’s office (known as “Tony” around the office). Tony is the Senior Managing Director, Syndicate Coordinator, and Mutual Fund Coordinator at Joseph Gunnar. I had met Tony once before when I first came in for my interview in December 2010.  He told me that I would be working directly for him, in his office room, and pointed to a desk that had a computer, a calculator, a stapler, post-its, a couple folders, and an office phone. He told me to keep it neat and organized and how important it was to do so. Shortly after I got settled in, Tony’s right-hand man, Dave Cooper, showed me around the office. The outside borders of the office, which were actually individual rooms, belonged to the Senior Directors, as well as the Compliance Coordinator, Accountant, Chief Market Analyst, President, and CEO. There was also a conference room and a board meeting room. The middle of the office was filled with brokers and sales associates in decent sized cubicles. I couldn’t help but notice how fast the brokers were working. They were constantly on and off the phone, buying and selling stocks, calling their clients up, and looking at complicated charts and data on their computers. The back side of the office was the investment banking division and the front side was the brokerage division. There were about fifteen televisions around the office, either playing MSNBC or CNBC. During my walk around, I was greeted by many people. Everybody was so nice and welcoming, so my levels of nervousness and anxiety immediately began to drop. It was a very easy atmosphere to fit into and get used to.  

During the first two weeks, I tried to teach myself as much about the stock market that I could possibly know. Coming into this internship, I really didn’t have a clear understanding of the market. When I asked my first question regarding the market, Tony answered it right away. Not only did Tony answer my questions, but when he was busy, and I needed help or if I was confused with something, my question would get answered by somebody no matter what. Everybody was so helpful and encouraging. Tony was the type of person that would stop in the middle of doing something or tell me right after he finishing doing something, to correct a wrong I had made. He noticed everything, even though he was extremely busy. He would help me correct my mistakes or teach me how to do something better. He wasn’t the person I pictured I’d be interning for. My expectations of the type of person I’d be working for would be a person who is arrogant, and too busy to pay the “little guys” attention. But that wasn’t Tony at all. He’s a man who is warm-hearted, inspirational, and easy-going, in addition to being an amazing father.

After the first month ended (June), I became extremely busy. The core part of my day was mostly research and analysis. I had the logins and passwords for private market research websites that cost up to $50,000 a month on research. For example, I’d have to do something like find out why the agricultural economic sector has been decreasing over the past few years or which are the most successful luxury clothing retailers in terms of Trailing Total Return % over the past one year, three years, and ten years and why are they generating more in revenue year after year, despite the troubling economy?. I kept Tony updated on specific market data that he was not looking at on his computer. I also updated him on prices advances and declines. It was rare that I ever spent more than fifteen minutes doing nothing. When my days first started to get busy, it was really stressful because it was a ton of new information and so much to do. Like I’d be in the middle of doing something and I would have to do something else immediately, whether it be answer the phone, go get something/bring something to somebody across the office, help somebody with another task, etc. and then get right back to what I was doing. As the days went on, I got more used to it and enjoyed doing it; I just enjoyed being there every day.

I experienced so much this summer. As the summer went on, Tony relied on me so much to take care of many things and update him on the market. The one day that I missed this summer, he told me his production went down and was not consistent to how it was doing. Even though I felt bad about missing that day, it felt good to know that my job was important and that people relied on me to help them get things done. I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer. I’ve always seen myself becoming a lawyer. I’ve mainly wanted to be a criminal defense attorney. Not only do I believe that I have to “Fight for the people” and live by the motto “Everybody is innocent, until proven guilty. The Judicial System is messed up and so is our Prison System. Innocent people are found guilty and criminals are found innocent. Lives are ruined. I’ve always seen myself making a difference if I became a lawyer. However, this summer has possibly changed my mind. Being on Wall Street, I’ve witnessed how shaky our economy is. I’m an optimist and know that our economy will eventually pick up in the coming years, but I graduate college in a year and have an important decision to make; to follow my lifelong dream or to follow the money? I am not sure which I will decide, but the most important thing I realized after my internship ended, was the opportunity that I was given and experienced.

 

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