Hi! I’m Sam Schiff, a junior from New York City, and I’m majoring in government and economics. I’m so fortunate to have the opportunity this fall to be living in London and working in Sales and Trading at Morgan Stanley. For me, I couldn’t imagine a better opportunity to explore Europe while involving my academic interests and getting the privilege of learning about the banking world everyday. The experience has been truly incredible so far!
My internship has been a whirlwind of information, ideas, and learning that have all spun me in just the right way; I have loved every minute of it. Thinking back to my first day of work four weeks ago, I can’t help laughing about how nervous and overwhelmed I felt at first. Stationed on the foreign exchange trading floor, full of multi-screened computers, and traders and salesmen constantly talking or even shouting “MINE!” “YOURS!” “I BUY!” or “I SELL!” I had no idea where I fit into this huge maze of computers, microphones and telephones. However, this initial apprehension was instantly quelled by all of the incredible people working around me, whose willingness and enthusiasm for sharing their professional expertise has been such an amazing, guiding force through the longest workdays. Thanks to their support, words that were originally a completely foreign language (really ironic considering I thought I needed to work in London to avoid a language barrier) quickly rang clear.
During my internship, I have gotten the opportunity to attend daily foreign exchange/ emerging market morning meetings and to work on projects for multiple desks, ranging from searching for information buried in clients’ annual reports to creating excel worksheets that enabled me to make graphs tracing the movement of specific indexes with currency pairs. I have also had the amazing opportunity to just sit down, talk with and learn from professionals working across a range of desks. Spending time with the Research, Strategy/Structures, the European Corporate Sales, the Hedge Fund Sales teams in addition to the Options and Spot Traders, I have gotten a special taste of many parts of the huge team that allow for the seamless operation of the FX Sales and Trading floor. Although I spend much of the day actively working, one major takeaway I feel that I can already share from this internship is that sometimes passively learning, being willing to sit back and be a great and thoughtful listener is the most effective way to be successful. Reflectively listening in on client calls, pricings between the salesmen and traders, and the general whirr of the trading floor has been such a driving force in understanding how the pieces of the puzzle all fit together in this huge team whose success, like our team’s, is in many ways tied to stellar teamwork and communication.
Despite the amount of fun I am having at work, there is nothing better than after a long day of work getting into running clothes (usually featuring a Dartmouth lacrosse shirt…and shorts…or both!) and running outside or on the treadmill/participating in spin class at the gym, showering, and coming home to my little Dartmouth family, Jessica Frieder and Jill Corcoran, in our little apartment on Weymouth Street near Regents Park.
And from our little apartment is where the real fun begins… we live with all of our Dartmouth peers studying at LSE and UCL for the Government and History Foreign Study Programs, which has made it so incredibly easy to gather a group to explore London. The weekends have been filled with trips to different neighborhoods in London including destinations for tourist attractions, shopping and outdoor markets. Thanks to Jess Frieder and her job with the NFL, my very first Sunday in London we all got to go to the Vikings vs. Steelers game at the ginormous and beautiful Wembley Stadium.
My first full weekend in London, Oliver Schreiner, Jill Corcoran, Myrel Iturrey and I initiated a group we referred to as the running club of London; we decided it would be a great way to see the city while getting exercise! We ran from our flat down to Oxford Street/Marble Arch through Hyde Park to Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and the Houses of Parliament (but stopped for tons of photo ops along the way!). Running has also taken me around Regents Park, past the Regents Park Zoo and into the breathtakingly beautiful Queen Mary’s Gardens.
Other adventures through London have included: a mid-day tour with Myrel Iturrey through the Tower of London, where we marveled at the famous and outstandingly gorgeous Crown Jewels, all 530 carrots of the second-largest diamond on Earth mounted in the Scepter with the Cross that is still used in the coronation of British monarchs today, the London Eye and Tate Museum with my teammates, Sydney Ellis, Chrissy Lushefski, and Jess Frieder, and multiple shopping excursions through Oxford Street, Piccadilly Street, Covent Garden and Portobello Road.
In addition to our wonderings through London, a big group of us traveled to Prague! We had the most unbelievable time exploring the city and its nightlife. After having such a phenomenal time in Prague, I cannot wait for our upcoming trips to Amsterdam, Dublin, Barcelona, Copenhagen and Zurich (plans are definitely still in the works)!
Although I have had truly wonderful adventures around London and in the Czech Republic thus far, I think the place that I will leave Europe with the greatest connection to will be Canary Wharf, where I work. Despite spending countless hours at Canary Wharf every week, there is something about it that allows this little nook of London to completely escape the banality often associated with daily routine. It could be that the tall buildings, among the tallest in the UK, give me a sense of ease and comfort every morning by reminding me of my friends and family at home in both New York City and, by extension, at Dartmouth. Or maybe it is the total opposite sensation, the fact that aside from the hustle and bustle of people and the surrounding tall buildings, Canary Wharf, a dock that hugs a curve of the River Thames, differs in many ways from the streets of Manhattan; every morning when I get off the Jubilee tube line and look out towards the car-less streets, the River Thames waving just a few meters ahead below the London overground DLR train tracks that split the skyline just above my gaze, these elements, characteristic only to Canary Wharf and London, remind me of the unique and extraordinary opportunity that has come packaged in working abroad.
All in all, as absolutely incredible as this term has been so far, and as sad as I will be to see it end, I am beyond excited to return to Dartmouth for the winter. I miss my friends, family, the team, and the whole Dartmouth Community so much. I can’t wait to come back and hug all of you!! UP, UP BIG GREEN!
Sending all my love from London,