Annette Aguilera-Gonzalez ’18 – Cornerstone Advisors Asset Management, LLC (PA)

Posted on Posted in Externships, Student Contributor, Summer Opportunities

A Week at Cornerstone

I am so appreciative of this week with Cornerstone. Before this externship, I was unsure of whether or not the finance and investment industry was for me. Now, I feel convinced that I do want to start my professional career in the finance and investment industry. I attribute my apprehension about the finance industry to not having much exposure to it. Yes, I have learned a great deal about finance and the business industry in my classes but nothing as tangible as speaking with professionals in this field, so having that opportunity this past week has opened my eyes to opportunities I did not know even existed.  

One of the greatest insights was learning that there are many different subsets of the finance and investment industry. I used to think all firms worked as stock pickers because that was what I learned about in my classes. I learned that although stock picking is central to the industry it is not the only subset. There is also the custodian which is responsible for holding securities as well as other assets in electronic or physical form. Some examples would be JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. And there are also investment consulting firms, like Cornerstone which essentially provides its clients with advice on how to manage their wealth, they do this through helping them create portfolio composition so that they are sustainable and they can be successful in the long run. This summer, I will be interning for a firm that is in the money managing area and I feel as if this week gave me a great foundation of what I can expect.

I enjoyed having exposure to every aspect of the company from the receptionist, Linda, to the CEO, Tom. Although, I am still unsure as to whether I would like to start off at a small or large firm–I was able to create a pro’s and con’s list from the experiences and advice that each employee shared. One of the reasons I would prefer a small firm to a large firm would be what every employee of Cornerstone shared–that no matter their role, they feel important. I wish I could type everything I learned, but it was so much, three days later and I am still processing it all. But one of the two biggest pieces of advice was that the learning should never end, companies seek employees that are continually seeking knowledge. The second was to nurture and grow my network. I have heard this several times from others, but it never hurts to hear it again, especially as I start to launch my professional career. I feel prepared to start my job search and I will certainly stay in touch with Cornerstone.