Senior Internship Interview: David Ni

Elizabeth Lee

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David Ni and his mentor, Mr. Lou

David Ni is an ABF (Academy for Business and Finance) senior at Bergen County Academies. He currently interns at Wrightson ICAP, an economics research firm in Jersey City, New Jersey.


Academy Chronicle: Why did you choose to do this internship?

David: Well, by junior year, I knew I wanted to do something related to the economy for my senior internship. My prior experiences with economics at BCA, namely the Euro Challenge and Fed Challenge teams, have been great. After talking to Mr. Schwimmer (my Econ teacher), guidance counselor, and many upperclassmen, I decided that the internship at Wrightson was most suitable for me.


AC: What was the application process like?

David: The application process was pretty simple, actually. I just reached out to the senior intern at the time for the mentor’s contact info and emailed the mentor afterward with a resume and cover letter. After hearing back from the mentor, I scheduled an informal interview for a convenient time. I went to Jersey City for the interview, which lasted for about an hour and a half. A few days later, I heard back and got the internship!


AC: Could you describe a typical workday? How many hours do you work in a typical day?

David: Usually, I leave my house at about 7:30 AM and take the train. Then, I take a light rail to arrive at work at around 9 AM. After greeting my coworkers and checking in with my mentor, I mainly focus on the intern tasks that need to get done every week. Lunch is usually around 11 to 11:30 (when there isn’t much trading going on the floor). Afterward, I work on medium-term to long-term projects that are either quantitative, like modifying databases and creating charts in Excel, or qualitative, like writing short reviews of current economic conditions and producing summaries of past Fed meeting minutes.


AC: What skills are necessary to do this internship?

David: There are not that many necessary prerequisites to my internship at Wrightson other than general knowledge of economics and central bank functions. Good writing skills are very useful when trying to communicate analysis in an understandable way. Technical skills like proficiency with Excel and Bloomberg are also good to have.


AC: What’s the best part of your internship?

David: The most enjoyable part of my internship is the fact that I get to work with great mentors and coworkers. Since the vast majority of economics research focuses on either theoretical modeling (work that is done by college professors) or equity and industry research (research departments in Investment Banks), it’s an extremely rare opportunity to combine theoretical concepts and practical applications into one’s work. My mentor is one of the most well-respected economists in his field, and I cherish my chance to be working with him and part of his team!


AC: Are there any negatives to your job?

David: The most frustrating part of my internship is definitely the traveling. Jersey City is pretty far away, so I have to spend 2 to 3 hours a day on the road. And my internship is unpaid, unlike the ones some of my friends have. That kind of sucks!


AC: How would you describe the culture in your workspace?

David: Since I am only working with a very small part of the company (a team of 5 people), the culture is very friendly and relaxed. Each one of my co-workers has had very interesting life experiences that they are willing to share, which always lightens up the mood. One of them works as a part-time lecturer at St. John’s University School of Law, for example.


AC: Are there any big projects coming up?

David: So the major project that I have worked on for a few weeks is about the recent decision of the Fed shrinking its balance sheet.  The way the Fed does this is by selling its securities. The goal of my current project is to establish a live tracking of the average duration of these securities holdings.


AC: You seem to be enjoying your internship! So, do you want to pursue a career in a similar field? The same company, perhaps?

David: After doing this internship, I am more certain that I want to work in economics research. I’d love to work at Wrightson as well. The work I do is interesting and interdisciplinary, qualities that I value dearly. Through this internship, I also gained exposure to many other areas of economics and finance. After my school year internship, I am thinking about the possibility of interning at Wrightson again over the summer. This internship was amazing and I definitely see myself working at the company long term!


AC: Thank you for your time!

David: The pleasure is mine.