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My awesome internship at Skylight

10/4/2016

Hello! My name is Patrick Wilson (pictured opposite second from left), from Ohio University, and I’ve just spent an amazing summer as a financial planning intern at Skylight Financial Group.  Probably like most students, I started my internship a little bit uncertain of what to expect but feeling optimistic.  Now as I reflect on the 12 week program (which completely flew in, by the way), I know it was the perfect internship for me where I made great friends, met amazingly talented and friendly people and discovered the direction I want my life to take.  It’s been a fantastic experience and I’ve shared with you below what has particularly made it so special.

# 1.Realizing this is the career for me

I wanted to intern at Skylight as they offered a specific internship based around financial planning.  I fancied the idea of being a financial planner but wasn’t 100% sure if I was suited to this career and so the internship seemed like the perfect practice run for me.  Over the 12 weeks as I got real-life, hands-on experience it became clearer to me that this is what I want to do. I realized how important it is for me to pursue a career where I’ll get to help people in an important way.  I also got to help the amazing Sara Canterbury, my mentor and senior planner, prepare applications, proposals and problem—solve for clients, along with shadowing at meetings.

These were all invaluable experiences and what I particularly learned (in additional to my brain bursting with newly acquired information) is that I’m a very process driven person and that I’m suited to being my own boss. Yes, me my own boss!  I liked the challenge of things not being handed to me, for example, clients. I liked the freedom to set my own schedule.  I liked helping clients.  So my internship not only gave me the “practice run” I’d hoped for but it allowed me to understand myself more and gave me insight on how I would go about building my own practice. The means I can now hit the ground running as a financial planner which I’m going to do when I finish College later this year!

# 2. The people in the office who were so welcoming and made me feel a valuable part of the team

I loved the fact that although we (the interns) were only going to be at Skylight for a short time that we were made to instantly feel welcomed and valued in the team.  On the first day everyone in the office came and introduced themselves, chatted and extended a helping hand.  They were always so friendly and happy to share their knowledge and experience.  For example, if I ever got stuck with something and my mentor wasn’t about one of the other planners would step in and help out.  They’d always be encouraging me when I was having a “bad day” and feeling nervous about picking up the phone and reaching out to people (believe me this is one of the scariest things we all had to do) or was finding it difficult to deal with rejection.  Everyone was happy to share their experiences, approaches they used and how they dealt with the many “nos” as they go get nearer to that “yes”.  I felt that people genuinely cared about helping me make the most of my intern experience and that counts for a lot.

# 3. A culture that suited me down to the ground

For me, people make the culture and I found Skylight a really inclusive, exciting, high-energy place to work.  I really like that they’re committed to getting younger people into the industry and developing them.  Also lots of cool and fun events were organized like trivia nights, cookouts, Indian’s game, mini-golf networking events and more.  Probably the best social event was tagging along with Rob, Mark and Sara at the Memorial Golf Tournament in Columbus.  The golf was great and the food even more amazing.  Somehow Rob and Mark even managed to meet Rory McElroy (seriously jealous)! 

So as 12-week journey ends, it’s been an ideal internship for me. There were 12 of us who interned and each of us had a unique experience.  Some found out that financial planning is definitely not for them but regardless we all gained a better understanding of ourselves and the kind of career we are aiming for.  

I’m going to miss my fellow interns and friends.  Also Sara, who was an excellent mentor and all at Skylight who made me laugh and encouraged me.  It was definitely a different summer and one where I’ve grown up, strange as that may feel!   I’m really excited about the future.  Thanks Skylight!
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