DBPicNew Orleans is still the farthest I’ve been away from home geographically, but this past summer certainly expanded my horizons.

I was accepted into the Gateway to Leadership (GTL) program through the UNCF. The GTL program provides students an internship with a company in the field of finance. In addition to the internship, we were provided career coaches, finance study assignments for preparation, and a conference with multiple workshops.

The first step to my journey was to the nation’s capital, Washington D.C., for a conference. The president of the UNCF and countless corporate leaders either spoke or provided workshops. While there, I got to meet my career coach and other high-achieving students from HBCUs in different programs.

From the conference, I flew straight to Chicago. I worked as a research analyst in the energy industry. I used a Bloomberg terminal and Excel to perform large data analysis, presenting my findings weekly to the Portfolio Manager.

The third step in my journey was to Hartford, Conn., where the parent company’s headquarters is located. I and two other interns presented to the CEO and other members of upper management about how to best incorporate ETF’s into their mutual fund business model.

The final step in my journey was to New York City to convene with the other GTL interns. We presented at Voya Financial on an investment advisory case.

The summer was full of traveling and great experiences. To other students, I offer this advice: When you’re up late working on homework, remember there is no limit on how far it can take you.

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