Angel Lee, a student at Virginia Commonwealth University, took a chance and it paid off. She spent six weeks in Plano, Texas at JPMorgan Chase & Co as a summer intern.
Lee is a junior majoring in information systems at the School of Business. She grew up in North Chesterfield, Virginia and is interested in data science. But she is still unsure of the direction of her career.
“To be honest, I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I know now that I’m on the right path to figuring that out,” Lee said.
In the spring, she heard about both JPMorgan’s Advancing Black Pathways Fellowship and the new VCU Internship Funding Program which offers financial assistance for summer internships. The program is part of VCU’s emphasis on experiential learning.
The Advancing Black Pathways Fellowship is a six-week program and is designed to give underrepresented groups a pathway to opportunities in the financial sector. The program focuses on building general business skills and exposes participants to various areas of the financial industry.
While the program was paid for, Lee had to pay for housing provided in a JPMorgan corporate housing unit. She received $4,000 from the VCU program, which she says was vital for her to participate in the scholarship.
“Texas is very expensive and not having to pay for my housing has helped me a lot,” Lee said. “They helped me invest in myself and have an experience I never thought I would have.”
Lee said she learned several valuable lessons from the program. First, she realized that she doesn’t like marketing or corporate finance, but she likes data analysis. She enjoys working with large datasets and trying to make sense of the information.
She also learned that her mentors during the Fellowship wanted her to be herself and not pretend to be someone else. Lee said she wore a business suit but added style.
“I really have to be myself,” Lee said. “I was able to sit down to the table fully. I learned that companies don’t want a person you created. They don’t want what you think they want. They want you and your authentic self. They want the vibrant colors you wear.They want your whole personality.
The experience was life changing. She was able to spend time in another state and meet interesting people. She learned new skills and developed friendships. She was glad she applied even though she never thought she would be accepted. The experience went so well that JPMorgan offered her the opportunity to apply for a future internship with the company.
“I just said, ‘Let me take a chance,’ and I did,” Lee said. “In the process, I learned a lot about professional development and a lot about myself.”
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