The Big Smoke speaks to Alyson Austin about her journey from intern to her current role, from the perks to her biggest challenge.
How did you get the role as an intern?
I happened to be in the right place at the right time. I was on summer break, visited a family member at a big financial company—they were looking for a temp to answer phones. I told them I could do it—and at 16 I was working on Wall Street!
Biggest challenge as an intern?
Striking a balance between grunt work and growth. I knew I was there to answer phones, do filing, etc. and I did that with the utmost care to prove that I can take on more. It was tough to prove that at 16 I had the work ethic to be taken seriously.
Biggest perk as an intern?
I got paid well (better than all my friends) and was able to network with business executives before entering college. I was able to bend their ear about what I should focus on in college—and it paid off!
How did being an intern help you get where you are today?
16 years later I am very successful in this male-dominated industry. Working on Wall Street so young, with drive, truly gave me a step up over my peers.
What advice would you give someone starting their first internship?
Don’t go in thinking you are going to change the world … but know, your world will change. Be open, willing to roll up your sleeves, and use each experience as a lesson to build your career on.