Author :
Patrick Carroll

Obsidian Market Update 8/6/21

Obsidian Summer Interns

Hello friends!


With summer wrapping up, we want to focus this week on our summer interns — why we have them, who they are, and what they contribute to our team here at Obsidian. We heard from the three interns we have this year, as well as Todd Feldman and Cynthia Gill, who both spend a lot of time with them.


For the past several years, we’ve had students from Virginia Tech (our very own Pat’s alma mater) or the University of Maryland. These students are usually majoring in certified financial planning, economics, or business. “Both of these schools have been wonderful to work with, and we’ve been very happy with the students we’ve hired from them,” Cynthia said.


Todd loves the opportunities these paid interns get to learn about all the aspects of a financial planning firm, from client-facing to research projects to back-office work. “It’s a great way to pay forward some of the experiences we’ve all had,” he said, “And they often take on projects that have been on the backburner for us, which lets us teach them about certain areas.”


When interns come into the program, we assign them projects according to their interests and talents. They’ll work on their project over the summer, which helps them learn how to pace their project and organize their workflow, and then they present their project to the team. The project is always something that benefits the company in some way. For instance, this year they worked on our social media and SEO and offered many ideas on how to improve them.


The interns seem to value the chance to gain a diversity of experiences. They get the chance to sit in on client review meetings, learn how to use the software, and really get a behind-the-scenes look at how financial planning firms operate. This real-life experience helps them understand what their lives will be like if they choose to stay on this career path.


Cynthia pointed out that they gain other experiences, too: “For many of them, it’s their first time working in an office, so they learn about office etiquette, how to answer phones, handle the mail, and generally work in an office environment.” She’s also quick to note that we learn as much from our interns as they learn from us because Gen Z are digital natives who have more comfort with technology.


Many interns have gone on to get jobs in the same field or in something related and have used us as a reference. Landon Buzzerd, who is now a full-time employee at Obsidian, came to us through the internship program.


“It’s a competitive process to be hired,” Cynthia said, “We welcome an application from anyone interested, regardless of what college they attend. Those interested can send a cover letter and resume. We usually do the interviews in December, so students have everything lined up for the summer.”


With all of that said, let’s get to know this year’s interns:


Druv Sardana (Virginia Tech, CFP major)


What was your favorite part of working with Obsidian?

For me, it was the welcoming people and the projects we worked on. I enjoyed working with fellow interns Amber and Paul every day, and Pat and his staff created a friendly environment to work in. The projects I worked on were not only engaging, but taught me a lot about the work which goes behind the scenes of a financial planning firm.


What is your biggest takeaway from your time with Obsidian?

Build connections! This is not only something which applies to Finance, but can be applied to any career. Connections are the tool to gain additional knowledge of a particular field and I was grateful to build so many this summer.


Amber Douglas (Virginia Tech, CFP major)


What was your favorite part of working with Obsidian?

It’s hard to choose a favorite. I have certainly enjoyed meeting our lovely Obsidian family. I only wish I was able to meet more clients and hear more stories.


What is your biggest takeaway from your time with Obsidian?

My biggest takeaway this summer is the importance of building relationships and understanding an individual’s needs. Obsidian wants to know your interests, goals, and how you operate to provide you with a quality experience.


Paul Papillo (Virginia Tech, Finance and Accounting double major)


What was your favorite part of working with Obsidian?

My favorite part about working with Obsidian was being able to learn more about portfolios and the financial planning industry as a whole. Additionally, it was a really nice experience to meet several wonderful clients.


What is your biggest takeaway from your time with Obsidian?

The biggest takeaway for me was that my experiences with Obsidian confirmed that I want to work in the financial planning industry to manage investments and help people.


Are you a business owner who wants to have interns but aren’t sure how to start? We’d love to have a more in-depth conversation with you about how to build a program that benefits you and the next generation of people in your industry. As always, give us a call!


That’s it for us this week. Enjoy your weekend!


Advisory Services offered through Obsidian Personal Planning Solutions, LLC. Securities are offered through Triad Advisors, member FINRA/SIPC. Obsidian Personal Planning Solutions, LLC, and Obsidian Personal Planning Solutions, Inc, are not affiliated with Triad Advisors.


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