DePaul University Career Center's Blog

DePaul Diaries: Life as a Financial Services Intern

By: Claire Zhang, DePaul University finance and marketing major ‘17

DePaul Diaries is a day-in-the-life blog series written by DePaul students. The series unveils DePaulians’ experiences as interns in their field of choice. Students share their honest thoughts about their experiences, what they learned as an intern and advice for students who are interested in the same field.

The first thing that may come to mind when envisioning a career in financial services is the typical image of “Corporate America;” feeling trapped, sitting in a cubicle every work day from 9 to 5, and violently yet routinely typing away on a computer. While this perception may prove to be accurate at certain corporate jobs, my experience with Discover Financial Services was far from this scenario.

With all the innovations in payment services and banking, working in financial services is very fast-paced and the industry is constantly changing. I worked in three different areas: Rewards, E-Business, and Card Acquisitions. Despite the team I was working with, the majority of our projects revolved around digital innovations.

One of my roles as an intern was working with the mobile wallets team (e.g. Apple Pay, Android Pay, etc.). Because the mobile payments space still has a long way to go before it is widely adopted by consumers, much of my role entailed exploring various marketing tactics to encourage higher usage. From physically testing out mobile payments at the point-of-sale, to analyzing consumer usage data, my 40-hour workweeks flew by.

One of the key takeaways from my internship is that it is not necessarily the industry that matters, but the work that you do within that industry. The experiences taught me to keep an open mind. Remember, any experience, no matter if you enjoyed it or not, is still an experience that you can learn something from. Being a young professional, there are few things more valuable than discovering true passions. Internship, volunteer, or job experiences, whether they are positive or not, will help you shape a career that is meaningful to you.

My advice to other students is to try to go into their respective industries without any bias. Do you accept the challenge?

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