How Melanie Valentin ’24 secured a bank internship and what her experience was like
Are you interested in building your computer, communication, and multitasking skills? Can you see yourself working in business administration, finance, or technology in the future? If so, an internship at a local bank may be the right fit for you this summer. You can learn about these fields of work in a more hands-on way, gaining exposure to employees’ daily lives and building up your resume.
Melanie Valentin ‘24, a current Binghamton University sophomore, recently answered some questions about her experience this past summer at a bank internship.
Question: What was the title of your role and what did the position entail?
Melanie: The title of the role was IT intern. What I did on a daily basis was look over employee files on various softwares the office used. I would usually get a couple of phone calls with clients having technical problems on their accounts. Most of the time, it consisted of resetting passwords or unlocking accounts that were shut down because of inactivity. Usually my supervisor would give me administrative tasks to do as well. If we got new employees or interns, I would create their accounts, get on calls with them to explain how each software worked, and teach them how to set up their own accounts if needed. I also helped new people set up hand print recognition for them to be able to access more sensitive information/accounts. Sometimes, if they had hardware problems in the office, I would go to check out their computers/devices, ask them questions about what was wrong, and report back to a more experienced coworker to find a solution.
Question: Was the program virtual or in-person? How did that affect your experience/learning?
Melanie: The program was hybrid. I would go in-person 2-3 days a week. I got my own equipment and phone to be able to work efficiently. I do believe I was given the resources and supplies to succeed both in-person and online. However, working at home was a lot more difficult because my family was also working from home. There would be a lot of scheduling conflict and no space to really focus on the work entirely. It was challenging but not impossible. In the office, I had my own space and desk. Even though it was still an open space with lots of things going on, it was different because I could interact with my coworkers yet still had a place for myself to work. It was harder communicating with my coworkers from home as well. There were cases where I couldn’t help clients/employees because I would have to contact coworkers about issues I was not taught to solve and that would take up a lot of time. It made communication with the people I was helping choppy and inefficient at points.
Question: What was the process of applying like? What are some tips you would give others applying to a similar position?
Melanie: I was able to find this opportunity through family connections. I was told to email the HR department my resume and that they would let me know if I was qualified to work there. A couple of weeks later, I got a call from the bank and they asked me a couple of questions about my past experiences, interests, and more. It was essentially a phone interview. I think the best tips I could give are that you should be confident in what you are doing, but also don’t be afraid to ask questions about things you don’t know. It’s important to remember that you have the skills to succeed in this position, which is why you were chosen to be part of the program. An internship is, after all, a learning experience–not a proving-you-know-everything experience.
Question: What skills improved the most during the internship and what abilities do you believe one most needs to succeed in the role?
Melanie: I think that my communication skills definitely improved as I was learning to interact with employees and customers at a faster pace. I became more comfortable giving suggestions and answering questions through the phone as time progressed. I also wrote a lot of emails following up with those who I had recently been in contact with and making sure everything was to their satisfaction. A good customer service persona is definitely a skill you need to have to succeed in this role. Being able to be friendly and informative at the same time is important. It’s about being welcoming and understanding as some customers are frustrated with their technical issues and may not be the most pleasant to work with.
Question: What did you like best about this experience?
Melanie: I think I liked the environment of the office. It was a close-knit community, and everyone knew each other. You get to know people within your own branch and other branches. It was a great way to build connections and learn more about others.