July 2019 - Each summer, FHLBank Atlanta (the Bank) welcomes undergraduate and graduate students from leading universities around the United States for the Bank’s nine-week, paid internship program. This year’s program kicked off on June 3, 2019, and the Bank welcomed 15 summer interns.
FHLBank Atlanta interns gain hands-on experience in the financial services industry supporting various teams and working alongside experts in departments such as Accounting Services, Corporate Communications, Credit and Collateral Services, and Diversity and Inclusion to name a few. Interns take advantage of mentoring opportunities, attend weekly discussion forums to engage with members of the Bank’s leadership, participate in team-building and community day of service activities, and enjoy other benefits the Bank offers. In addition to gaining real-world business experience in the financial services industry, interns can also enhance their professional and networking skills.
That was the case for Ashley McLaren, collateral transaction and securities specialist at FHLBank Atlanta. McLaren joined the Bank as an intern in 2017 and was recently hired as full-time employee. She says her internship enhanced her professional skills and enabled her to gain useful feedback.
“My internship helped me improve my networking and professional skills. I was able to cultivate a small, professional family that I can still rely on,” said McLaren. “My manager was very supportive and took the time to mentor me. I received pointers and feedback from him on my performance throughout the internship.”
McLaren also established her career goals during this internship. “I learned that I like working more with numbers and data as I have more of a quantitative background.”
Abbas Haider, an intern with Accounting Services, echoed McLaren’s sentiments.
“One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned during my internship is that even though getting the work done is important, knowing how to work with other people is just as important,” said Haider. “It’s important to have a good relationship and connect with the people you work with.”
The purpose of the internship program is to help develop students for future careers in the financial services industry. FHLBank Atlanta challenges interns to craft and elevate their skills so they can land highly competitive jobs across in the industry—and in turn they challenge the Bank to learn even more through teaching.
“The Bank’s internship program is designed to provide an opportunity for students to view financial services as a viable career path and create a foundation of community service through investment in talented students’ educational development and achievement,” said Kaushalya Patel, senior recruiter at FHLBank Atlanta, who oversees the internship program.
Patel hopes that interns not only gain real-world experience that they can carry into future opportunities, but also other skills.
“We hope interns gain time management and project management skills, and build solid relationships with people inside and outside of their departments that they can use in future endeavors.”
Destini Osby, an international affairs student recently graduated from Oglethorpe University and is an intern with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Osby says her internship with the Bank has allowed her to influence positive change through culture and cultivate her passion for culture competency.
“Working on the inclusive culture training has been such a great experience as I’m learning while working,” said Osby. “I’ve learned about popular diversity and inclusion topics in the corporate world, what goes into educating employees on unconscious bias, and the effects unconscious bias has on employees and the work environment culture. This internship has taught me to not be afraid to come up with ideas, explore all of the possible outcomes and to be inquisitive.”
“I’ve learned a lot about what goes into the creative process for communications and the role communications can play in the corporate world,” said Valencia Barnes, a communications student who is an intern with Corporate Communications. “It’s been such a pleasure to see how the Corporate Communications department interacts with pretty much every department here at the Bank. We may work with Human Resources on specific internal communication announcements, put together presentations and talking points for executives, and we’re responsible for reviewing all external communications going out on behalf of the Bank.”
Each intern works with their managers to meet individual learning goals. The interns also collaborate with each other to build a group project to showcase the work they’ve completed within their respective departments during their internship.
“Every summer, we love to see what the interns will learn and contribute during their time at the Bank,” said Patel.