An Intern’s Perspective: Andrew M. and John S.

Andrew M.: “In the 2021 fall semester, my professor sent out an internship opportunity with the Ohio Bankers League (OBL). Once I was accepted into the program, I was appointed a bank to work with for the summer of 2022. Fortunately, I was placed with First Federal Lakewood. I did not have much knowledge about the bank going into the internship, in fact, it was my first time hearing about the bank. However, as I spent my summer working alongside amazing people, I started to understand the importance of the bank’s integrity and its relationship with the community.

Throughout my internship, I worked under Matt Lay, small business banking leader. Matt gave me the responsibility to coordinate days to shadow individuals in different departments (credit, accounting, closing and commercial) to get a base knowledge of how communication moves throughout the bank. I was also given the opportunity to shadow various branch managers and had a chance to learn about their day-to-day tasks. Additionally, I met with executives and was given the opportunity to ask questions about the bank’s economics and functionality.

With this new base of knowledge, Matt then gave me the task to reach out to branch managers to conduct Small Business Specialist (SBS) lead calls. The objective of these calls was to seek out new business opportunities with existing clients. I met with Martin Devries, North Ridgeville Branch, Tiffany Hill, North Olmsted Branch, Michelle Cabassa, Strongsville Branch, and Jose Matias, Avon Branch. Each conversation was a great immersive experience. What I started to notice after making these calls is that the clients appreciate it when a bank reaches out to them. The clients feel the genuine intention of the bank trying to ensure their banking needs are being met with great quality.

The part of the internship I looked forward to most was the client lunch meetings with Matt because they gave me great insight into the conversations between a bank and its clients. I picked up several tips from Matt while conducting these meetings, like letting the client lead conversations. Many of Matt’s clients are relationships he has maintained over many years, which taught me the importance of establishing meaningful relationships.

I had three important goals that I wanted to achieve throughout my internship:

1) I wanted to gain essential background knowledge of the banking industry. This goal was made possible by shadowing the different banking departments.

2) I wanted to perfect my interpersonal skills (soft skills), which were heavily emphasized in the SBS lead calls and client meetings.

3) I wanted to build a strong network of contacts, which was achieved by connecting with various members of First Federal Lakewood and some of Matt’s clients.”

John S.: “This summer, I had the opportunity to intern with First Federal Lakewood in their Investment Services department as part of the Ohio Bankers League’s Summer Banking Institute. Prior to the start of my internship at First Federal Lakewood, the Ohio Bankers League hosted its interns at a two-week bootcamp called the Summer Banking Institute at Ohio Dominican University in Columbus. Over the course of two weeks, we were taught the ins-and-outs of banking from industry professionals while highlighting diversity, professional development, and the corporate culture. By the time my internship began, I felt more than prepared to work with and alongside bank professionals.  

My experience this summer was everything I could have asked for in an internship as a student studying finance and accounting at Kent State University. My workdays consisted of assisting investment adviser representatives, sitting in on meetings with clients, shadowing other departments and more. Spending time with different departments within the bank to learn about what they do is invaluable to a student who is considering banking as a potential career path.

One of my favorite parts about my internship this summer was that each day was different than the last, which allowed me to learn something new every day while also keeping me engaged. Learning was truly a point of emphasis throughout the entire program and that is something I appreciate greatly. With that said, I believe the biggest takeaway from my internship was the importance of relationships at First Federal Lakewood. Whether it be with coworkers, customers, or clients, building relationships and maintaining them was routinely emphasized as a top priority.

This entire internship experience has built upon everything I have studied in class at KSU and has provided me with additional knowledge that I did not get in a classroom. It has also given me an opportunity to build my network and meet some incredible people that have made this internship everything that it was. From the people I met and had the opportunity to work with to the overall experience itself, I am glad to have spent my summer with First Federal Lakewood.”