Colorado native Sam Wynter is a senior Finance major, wrapping up a sweet summer internship at Northwestern Mutual located in Portland, OR. Deciding to test the waters in a field he is interested in, Sam had real-world application in the financial industry. Gaining firsthand knowledge on the role of financial advisor, we asked Sam to share his experience as an intern and the things he has learned during his time at Northwestern Mutual.
UP Career Center: What was your summer internship title and responsibilities?
My summer internship was as a Financial Representative. My responsibilities were to establish my own financial advising practice and gain my own clients. This meant meeting new people, presenting them with financial recommendations, and eventually making them my client. A full time Financial Advisor does the same work, just with a slightly different title.
Why did you apply for this internship?
I have been looking into this area of finance for a while now, and I figured that an internship was a good way to test out my interest. Northwestern Mutual is widely regarded as one of the top firms in the industry and I wanted to challenge myself.
How did you find out about this internship?
I found out through a friend who knows someone that works at Northwestern Mutual. My friend put in a good word for me and passed along my information for the application.
What have you learned so far?
So far, I have learned a lot about financial planning and saving, retirement, and taxation. I am now aware of the various methods through which one can save, and the ways each of them can be beneficial. I have also learned how to be a more effective and dynamic communicator and networker through this internship since it is heavily dependent on interpersonal skill. Much of what I learned is not taught in a classroom and is purely practical knowledge.
What has been your favorite moment as an intern?
My favorite moment was signing on my first client as my own. The process to get to that point was long and trying, but it was incredibly gratifying once I got there. It validated my hard work and reaffirmed my confidence. It has only been up since and it came from that one moment.
Why do you believe internships are important for undergraduate students?
Internships are a great way for undergrads to figure out what they want to do when they graduate, before having the pressure of it being a career. It can confirm either that they are on the right path, or help them re-evaluate their options. Some internships can result in a job offer at the end of the summer, which is a great thing to have figured out before senior year even starts. It is also a great way to develop some professional skills as a student that can be invaluable in other aspects of life after school.
What tips do you have for students wanting an internship?
My advice is to apply to as many internships as possible. There might be many rejections, but at least one or two might extend an offer. This gives you an option to pick what you want to do, and the worst-case scenario is you just have to decide which one to take. I also highly recommend using your connections as much as you can. In my case, the internship came from a friend of a friend, which I would have never been able to be in contact with if I hadn’t spoken to my friend about it. People who you know want to help, so give them the chance to do so.
Why did you come to the University of Portland?
I came to UP because I loved the campus and the atmosphere when I visited the first time. The University already has a strong reputation academically, and the quality of the campus and people here was clear with just one visit. In the end, the decision was very easy.
What other experiences have made your time at UP unique? (professors, study abroad, clubs)
I have been strongly involved with the Moreau Center in my time here at UP and it has been a great experience for me. I started working with them just as a volunteer during my freshman year and enjoyed it so much that I have since become an SJC and now an Immersion Coordinator. It means a lot to me to be able to make a difference and give back to the community that I enjoy so much. The work I have done and the people I have done it with has made me a better person for it, and it has been a greatly rewarding opportunity.
What are some of your favorite memories at UP?
Some of my favorite memories from UP are probably from intramural sports. I loved being able to play different sports with my friends and pick up a couple championships along the way. It’s a great way to relax on campus and winning a free shirt is always a bonus.
What are your plans after you graduate?
I plan to stay in the Portland area after graduation. Right now, my plans are to transition my internship at Northwestern Mutual into a full time Financial Advisor position and continue to expand my client base. Eventually, I will find time to get my MBA and CFP, but those are a couple of years away.
If you’re interested in having an internship at Northwestern Mutual like Sam did, come to the info session on November 2nd!