Please tell us about yourself

Having an internship for the first time is a daunting prospect for any college student. Abhilasha Thapa ’17 at Manhattanville College, Bachelor’s Degree (Finance and Art History), recently went through this experience in the summer, working at Lincoln Financial Advisors as a financial planning and wealth management intern. The finance major shared that her journey at the company was a valuable learning opportunity.

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How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and interesting career?

During the spring of her sophomore year, Thapa took a course titled “Personal Finance” which was about managing one’s money and how to invest it sufficiently. The class prompted her to look for an internship in the financial planning sector, since she wanted to obtain real life experiences, work with a larger client pool and also have a closer look at the way the industry works. She found Lincoln Financial Advisors on the Manhattanville’s Career Network and decided to apply. Thapa credited her Personal Finance class with helping her ace the interview; she was asked by her prospective supervisor to analyze a case study which was exactly what she had done for her homework many times.

Tell us about your work

After the successful interview, Thapa was offered the position but to her, the preparation process was not yet over. She recalled being worried about not understanding some of the financial terms that came up.
“My supervisor would use very specific words and as a first-time intern, I just went, ‘Oh, what is this?’”, Thapa said. “I just went to Investorpedia which is a site that has different terms for investment. I then looked up these terms and also read about what kind of cases that the company handles and what recommendations they have typically given out in the past.”

For the first half of the internship, Thapa worked in financial planning where she would make portfolios for the clients and produce reports on types of investments and rates. For these assignments, she was able to use different software to create case models for each client. After these suggestions are presented for the clients’ approval, the final step would be for the company to fulfill these tasks.  For the second half of her time at Lincoln Financial Advisors, Thapa was introduced to the world of insurance and retirement planning which was just as academically and professionally fulfilling. Thapa remembers several particularly complicated cases where she not only applied her knowledge but also learned tips on what not to do on the job.

“You really learn things that you could do to prevent unwanted outcomes,” Thapa shared, “[for example] how to work with people, how to put them at ease while advising their financial future, which you can apply to yourself too. Now I think things like ‘Oh, I should buy some stocks’ or ‘Oh, I should invest some money so I can maybe buy an apartment after graduation.”

Your advice to students?

Her advice to fellow students who also want to earn internship while at college is quite simple: apply to as many positions as you can and try to be proactive. Before working with Lincoln Financial Advisors, Thapa can recall applying to around 10 positions and only hearing back from two or three companies, which she considered to be quite a common experience for most college undergraduates. And even when she was doing her first internship, Thapa mentioned that she always tried to think outside of the box.

“There’s so much more on the Internet that is new,” Thapa said. “If you are proactive and you try to learn all these things, they are basic bonus skills to learn about the latest things in your field.”

After her internship, Thapa has stayed active on campus. She started her own blog about personal finance and is also involved with Seeds of Peace and UNICEF. After college, Thapa hopes to exercise her skills in risk analysis or maybe go back to Nepal, her home country, to work in a field that combines health and finance.