WASHINGTON, D.C. – Many college students hear of the successes of their alumni at the end of their careers, but the inception of those careers are rarely told in the making. Recent 2012 Tennessee State University graduate and current Georgetown University student, Lawrence Washington, tells of his recent opportunity in becoming the newest intern for the NASDAQ Stock Market. The first year graduate student studying Real Estate Finance has an opportunity that many students hope for. The NASDAQ is the second largest stock exchanged next to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The Canton, Mich., native topped candidates from the finest universities including: Harvard, Yale, and Penn University. The aspiring professional was able to take a break from the grind and answered a few questions for Kampus Klash of Phresh & Professional.
So Lawrence, you’re the newest employee of the NASDAQ… how does it feel?
It feels as if the work that I had done in the past is finally paying off. It is surreal right now but I feel very blessed to have this opportunity. There is a lot of work to come and I am just ready to buckle down and get started.
Describe the process of you applying and getting hired by the NASDAQ?
I’ll put it this way. While being in DC (Washington, DC) for about three months, I have been in 20-plus interviews for various positions. I was constantly on job search engine websites such as indeed.com and simplyhired.com just applying to jobs that I thought best fit me. I saw a position that NASDAQ had posted and I was like, “why not apply?” I applied and a few weeks later a recruiter called me. I was very shocked! She was very impressed about how I articulated myself and saw my eagerness to want to do well. It was all uphill from there. I had a few interviews afterwards and then got a job offer.
Why apply to the NASDAQ? Isn’t it a little competitive?
NASDAQ is a very unique company that is very well known. I applied to NASDAQ because I want to further my knowledge in the financial services industry. I know being a part of this company would allow me to do that. In terms of competitiveness, yes, it was very competitive. However, I felt that I was just as qualified as the next person being interviewed because I have done a lot of great things in the past in regards to my work experience.
What will be your position and duties?
I am in an internship program that is challenging. I will be in the Global Data Products Department and will be assigned with various tasks.
When will you start?
I start on Tuesday.
How will this opportunity benefit your career? What do hope to do once you graduate?
Working for this company will set a great foundation for me. I will have more knowledge about the financial services industry. Once I graduate, hopefully I will still be with NASDAQ. I am just ready to work hard!!
How has your TSU experience prepared you as a Georgetown student and for this opportunity?
Great question! TSU is a great institution with some of the best and the brightest in their fields. I’ve learned so much from all of the professors and I’ve soaked up as much knowledge as possible from them. More specifically, the honors courses taught by Dr. Latham have very much so prepared me as well. His classes were very difficult because we were doing assignments at an MBA level. This meant that the learning curves were high and you were expected to adapt quickly. In my current program at Georgetown, it is challenging, but I’ve been doing well because of what I was taught to do at TSU. I will most certainly apply what I’ve learned from his classes to my new position.
What is some of the best advice you have received that helped you reach this point in your professional and academic career?
My best advice comes from my parents. The advice is to operate without fear. This means that if you see a job opportunity that will potentially set a great foundation for you, apply to it. Do not skip over it just because you think it is not possible for you. Many people are scared of rejection but it is a part of life and it will only make you a better person at the end of the day.
What is some advice you would give students who want to get into the top graduate schools and job positions?
Be willing to put in a lot of work and prioritize. I know many people are saying, “Wow! You are doing so well.” What many people do not see is the amount of work that I put in. In undergrad, it was normal for me to go to sleep around 2:30 a.m. every night (including weekends). I spent countless hours of studying and doing homework and minimally hanging out. Do what you are supposed to do in school. Do not waste your time or others. There will come a point in time in your schedule where there will be plenty of opportunities to go out and have fun.
Any other thoughts?
Surround yourself with great people who care for you. These people are easy to identify because if you fall down, they will be there to help you up, and if you do well, they will be there celebrating with you. Make sure you identify those people.