Sami Akkawi: Go the extra mile

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guestpost / Uncategorized / Wednesday

First of all, I want to thank Sami for writing the first guest post on pretty short notice (my bad). It’s not easy to work on something which is completely new. It’s even harder when I didn’t provide a lot of structure around what I expect d these guest posts to be like (my bad again). Hopefully, this is something I can iterate on and improve in the coming weeks.

Hi everyone, my name is Sami Akkawi, and I am a rising Junior at Northwestern studying Economics and Cognitive Science with a specialty in Artificial Intelligence. I am currently working as a Summer Analyst with one of Morgan Stanley’s institutional wealth management teams.

To be completely honest, coming into sophomore year I did not think that Wealth Management would be a field that I would particularly enjoy. However, I have leveraged this internship to be my single greatest learning experience. The most important takeaway that I have taken is that learning doesn’t stop at the work you are assigned, and to take advantage of the resources and opportunities around you. This is something that we all intuitively understand and probably already know, but it only made sense to me during this experience, and this truly transformed an experience that didn’t really interest me into one that I look forward to every day.

It began when I put down my phone during my down time in the office and began reading Morgan Stanley’s market research, where I was able to find detailed and comprehensive resources on nearly any topic I could think of. I read a particularly interesting article one day, and reached out to the person who wrote it on my office’s research team with some questions. He was ecstatic that someone was reading his work and sincerely interested in what he had to say, and was more than happy to sit me down and walk me through his paper. That was the first genuine connection I built at my firm, and I regularly meet with this colleague, and now friend, to better understand capital and financial markets.

After that first successful branching out, the next initiative I took was to delve into the actual technical work we do for our clients and try to take some of my own time to better understand exactly how we manage their accounts. My efforts at home, combined with (admittedly annoying) questions to my supervisors and colleagues, completely changed my view of the work that I was doing. My better understanding of the strategies that we were employing allowed me to take away so much more from the meetings and conferences that we host, and the research that I was reading.

Suddenly I managed to transform an experience that wasn’t exactly suited to me, into an experience that perfectly aligned with my learning goals and taught me more than any course I have taken at Northwestern. It is very easy to have a lot on your plate and forget to go above and beyond, but putting in the extra mile by taking advantage of everyone and every resource around me has made my internship experience so much more meaningful.

Thanks for reading the first guest post. And thanks again to Sami for sharing his experiences at Morgan Stanley! It nudged me to think about how can I be pushing the boundaries of what’s expected of me at my internship. I’m sure it had a similar effect on you, whatever your current engagements.


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