Three for three

November 18, 2020
Three seniors reap job offers from summer internships

Dual majors from the Jepson School of Leadership Studies and the E. Claiborne Robins School of Business proved a winning combination for three seniors. Seema Ahmed, Trey Burleson, and Laurel Suchsland drew on their double majors this summer during their remote Jepson internships at Barclays, Dominion Energy, and KPMG, respectively. All three received and accepted job offers from their internship companies.

For Ahmed, who interned as a sales and trading analyst with Barclays, a typical day began with reading the market news at 5 a.m. and generating a report on that news by 6 a.m.

“I divided my time between the equities cash trading desk and the prime platform sales desk, so I saw two different styles of leadership,” said Ahmed, a double major in leadership studies and business administration with a finance concentration. “I was familiar with the nuances of the various investment vehicles offered on the desks thanks to my finance classes.

“Overall, my internship was like one big job interview, with interns competing against each other through their various projects.”

She fared well in the competition and will join Barclays’ New York City office this July as a prime derivative services analyst tasked with assisting with pricing, risk management, and execution of derivative products.

Burleson worked with a team of interns at Dominion Energy to identify COVID-19 industry trends based on second quarter earnings. He presented the investor relations portion of his team’s final project to Dominion chief financial officer James Chapman.

“I see myself as a cross-disciplinary asset,” said Burleson, referencing his double majors in leadership studies and business administration with a finance concentration. “My finance classes gave me the foundational knowledge about key financial metrics in the utility sector.

“I relied on what I learned in Jepson’s Group Dynamics class to identify the strengths of the different people on my internship team. Also, Jepson does a really good job of preparing you to be an ethical, socially responsible citizen and employee.”

Burleson will start working in Dominion’s Richmond office as an associate financial analyst this summer. He said he hopes he can give back to the company’s internship program by serving as a mentor to future college interns.

Suchsland, who is majoring in leadership studies and accounting, was looking forward to testing and prepping fall audits for some of KPMG’s federal clients. Instead, she took online training courses and networked with mentors when the coronavirus pandemic forced KPMG to move to a remote internship model. She particularly enjoyed participating in Zoom meetings with four of the company’s top executives.

“They took questions from the interns and made us feel that we were a priority,” Suchsland said. “I also attended a firm-wide webcast where the firm’s new chief director and vice director discussed how COVID-19 is affecting the accounting industry and how KPMG is adapting.”

She anticipates using both her majors when she begins work as a federal audit associate with KPMG in August.

“My accounting major will serve as a basis for understanding new technologies in the industry,” she said. “The group work I did in my leadership studies classes will help me with my future team work.”

Her Leadership Ethics course may prove particularly beneficial, she added. “We’ve heard about so many scandals in big accounting firms, from Enron to WorldCom to Lehman Brothers. You have to have a solid ethical base to serve clients.”

Photo, left to right: Trey Burleson, Seema Ahmed, Laurel Suchsland