Sunday, August 02, 2020

Why Virtual Internships Are The Future Of Trader Education

In a recent Forbes article and in this Bloomberg interview, I explained how the current work-from-home phenomenon is likely to reshape workplaces in an ongoing way.  The same is happening in the world of education, where work-from-home has become study-from-home, leading to an explosion of online education that creates unique opportunities for students.  Consider the following:

*  I recently delivered a talk to students enrolled in the Greenwood Project, which is introducing women and minority students to the world of finance.  This week I will be conducting mock job interviews with Greenwood students, helping prepare them for the workplace.  In the pre-COVID world, there is no way I would have enjoyed this opportunity.  Now, the Greenwood students benefit from many contacts in the industry who can help them navigate the career world beyond internship.  The net result will be a highly significant broadening of the hiring base for financial firms.

*  In my work with SMB Capital, I am for the first time able to offer coaching and education to college student interns interested in finance and the trading business.  Because the internship is a virtual one, I can read the performance reviews of each intern and help them with their learning in real time.  Prior to that, I only met with interns if they were hired by hedge funds and even then we weren't connected on a regular basis.  The virtual medium has allowed college students to sit in on trading teams led by experienced, expert traders and participate in ongoing instruction, mentoring, and coaching.  The old model of trader education with unconnected webinars, conferences, and talks given by traders pales in comparison:  the virtual internship is a complete disruption of the education business not only for trading firms, but also for banks.

*  I've recently been working with Connect-123, a provider of virtual internships for college students seeking work and learning experiences in unique cultures.  A student working from home connects with organizations in such places as Cape Town, South Africa; Barcelona, Spain; and Dublin, Ireland and works with teams in those locations to complete a project.  The experience provides an amazingly affordable and engaging way of gaining the career competencies emphasized by organizations like the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), including teamwork, leadership, and intercultural communication.  The online classes that I teach help prepare students for their work experience and then support them in bringing their updated skills to the new workplace.       

What makes these virtual internships work is that they are much more real than the usual classroom.  They allow for a learning-by-doing, with real-time instruction and support.  Amazingly, it's now possible to learn globally and learn directly from and with experts.  Education, including in the trading world, will never be the same.

Further Reading: