By Kassie Parisi
CLIFTON PARK — A local wealth management firm is providing local college students with the chance to be more than just coffee-fetching interns.
DLG Wealth Management in Clifton Park works schools including Union College to recruit students seeking to dive into the world of finance. Owen Snyder and Hailey Perry, both students at Union, are a two out of a handful of interns who are working at the firm right now and are working in both the research and client communication sectors.
Tonia Kelley, a wealth management advisor in the firm who also serves as an intern coordinator, said that the firm works hard to not only find where the interns will fit best in the business world, but also to provide them with a challenging, hands on experience that will prepare them as they move forward in the field.
“It’s a lot of teaching them how to think, and what’s going to be expected of them,” Kelley said. The interns never see the same projects twice, and keep a detailed log of everything they’ve done so they’re able to reference past work in future interviews.
“It’s something I look forward to, coming into the office,” Snyder, a senior economics major said.
He added that knowing that he provides value to the company serves as a good motivator. Perry, a junior economics major, pointed out that she’s been able to follow her own interests through the internship.
The internship partnership with Union College is a few years old. Hal Fried, an economics professor at Union who teaches the school course connected to the internship, emphasized the importance of different workplace cultures. Each firm, he said, is different, and a crucial part of working in the field is finding a comfortable place. Internships, he said, are a huge part of that learning curve.
“The whole point is to draw upon all of those experiences to gain some insights, as to how different companies in different industries are structured,” he said. “If you’re going to last, you’ve got to be happy when you go to work.”
“In the real world, you can’t know it all,” Manuel Choy, a employee at the firm said. “ So we try to use everybody, and also learn from each other. We don’t own all the knowledge out there.”
Kelley, who is often the first filter in the firm’s search for interns, explained that there are many factors the firm takes into account while looking for interns, besides academic prowess.
“What are they doing? How energized are they in their academics? Do they have the kind of personality that really wants to do something and be of value?” she said.
DLG is interested in students who are able to project a level of confidence, both in how they present themselves and in how they work. They also have to deal with the added responsibility of training the new interns when their time is coming to a close.
Having the students responsible for other students cuts back on the time the firm needs to spend on training people, and also emphasizes the value placed on the interns to the new students coming into the firm.
“I think that’s part of the whole teaching process…is them taking the reigns,” Kelley said. “I think it helps the new interns feel comfortable.”
Upon graduation, Snyder, a Connecticut native, will be transitioning into a full time job. Perry will spend the summer at another internship in Boston, which she lives near. Kelley and Choy stressed however, that the completion of an internship at DLG doesn’t mean the end of their relationship with their interns. They keep a running list of where their interns are employed.
“We’re really found a niche where we get to give something to these people, and hopefully we see the lightbulbs go off and the smiles on, and watch them throughout their career,” Kelley said.
“It’s a two way street,” Choy added. “They help us a lot, we help them a lot, and hopefully it’s a relationship that will continue after the internship, wherever they land.”