Cathryn Sansoucie '17 interns with the Massachusetts State Treasury
I am a double major in Finance and Business Management, and I will be graduating this upcoming May (2017).
What company did you intern with this summer?
This past summer, I worked as a Woman in Finance Fellow at the Massachusetts State Treasury. I was one of seven women selected to be a part of this incredible opportunity. The Office of Economic Empowerment hosts the Women in Finance Fellowship, which is a department of the Massachusetts State Treasury. It is the first fellowship of its kind to be sponsored by a government organization, which is precisely what drew my attention to the initial discovery of the internship. It is solely focused on providing young women attending college with an opportunity to experience finance at a government-level. The office I was selected to be a part of is the Administration and Finance Department, which is located at the John W. McCormack Building right across the street from the Massachusetts State House.
What was the job search and application process like for your internship?
Professor Cynthia Ingols and I spoke about what I would like for a summer internship and soon after, I received an email from her showcasing this first-time opportunity. I immediately responded with my interest in the fellowship and began drafting the necessary documents for submission. The documents consisted of my resume, cover letter, and two letters of recommendation (one academic and one professional). Shortly after submitting my application, I received a phone call requesting an interview, which I excitedly accepted. I was interviewed by phone roughly a week later by three women. The questions related to my resume and my interest in being a part of a women-centered and finance-centered fellowship.
What did your main tasks include? What was a regular day like?
A regular day at my fellowship consisted of a variety of projects. The Fiscal Year concluded on June 30th, which ensured that I was busy assisting the Financial Analysts conclude budget projections for the previous year and provide new budget estimations. In addition, I was assigned the project of establishing a database for the Special Elections. For example, when a senator or governor of Massachusetts retires or resigns, a special election is held to fill the new vacant position. I was responsible for creating a database that hosted various queries, forms, and reports that showcased which towns or cities were eligible for reimbursements for a specific special election. The database that I was creating will eventually be established as a website for Massachusetts city and town officials to utilize if they host a special election. I drafted a homepage and the necessary steps required to receive a special election reimbursement for the potential website.
Every Tuesday, myself and the other women in finance would attend leadership programming events and other professional opportunities. In fact, one of my favorite Tuesday events was a tour of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. It was an amazing experience being able to view the behind-the-scenes of the work that goes on at the Federal Reserve. In addition, the Tuesday excursions provided the opportunity not only to visit various offices and companies, but also to meet and connect with executive women and hear their stories.
What were some challenges of your internship work?
Due to this being the first time this fellowship was offered, the department I was placed in was unsure of which workload amount was appropriate and realistic for my position to complete. However, the workload that I was given at first was not enough to keep me occupied for as long as anticipated. Therefore, I conquered this challenge early on in the internship by being proactive. Within the first several days of the fellowship, I was constantly asking my manager and co-workers if they needed extra help with various projects.
What was the most rewarding part of your work?
The most rewarding part of my work was being able to contribute to a potential future website. The Special Elections site holds the purpose of presenting in a clear, concise manner the steps required in order for a city of town in Massachusetts to be eligible for special election reimbursements. Therefore, the work that I had completed with organizing a database of the special elections, creating various reports and tables, and drafting the homepage and subpage of the website, will potentially have a positive impact on the cities and towns. It will ensure that the cities and towns that are eligible for a refund may know that and understand the way to receive the refund.
Did your internship relate to any courses you have taken, your major/concentration, or any other aspects of Simmons?
The Women in Finance Fellowship relates to Simmons greatly. This is a women-focused internship that provides the opportunity for women to explore a potential career in finance prior graduation.
What were some life lessons or job skills you have learned in this internship?
One life lesson I learned from this internship was actually from when I was able to meet with the Treasurer, Deborah Goldberg. We posed the question, “What is the best advice you have ever received” to her during our Tuesday meeting. She responded with advice that her mother had previously given her: “Choose three women.” Whenever you are in a position that requires advice, select three women to serve as mentors. I know that during my senior year at Simmons, I will be selecting the three women I wish to serve as my mentors for the start of my career. They may provide insight and a second opinion concerning positions and how to establish myself for a successful career in finance.
What advice do you have to students who are looking for an internship, or are currently in one?
For students who are currently in an internship, my best advice is to always ask questions. Questions not only further your understanding of the company and what task you are completing, but also demonstrate to your employer that you greatly value your work. I also found that by asking questions, I could help develop new ideas or solutions to various problems when speaking with my supervisor. In addition, by asking questions and clarifying what you are doing is helpful in avoiding any potential mistakes or misunderstandings.
How did you handle the work-life balance?
This was my very first Boston-based internship for the summer. It was a bit of an adjustment working and living on my own. However, I am extremely detail-oriented and a planner, so I would plan out my weekly errands every Sunday and my weekend plans with family and friends. In addition, I would always plan and organize my attire and lunch the night before each workday. Then after work, I would always be prepared for the next day so I would have the opportunity to visit with family and friends.
What do you do in your spare time for fun?
In my spare time, I enjoy reading and exploring Boston and the city has to offer with my friends. I am also a member of the COF Orchestra and play the flute and piccolo.