Harvard math major Danielle Kelly shares her favorite parts of her technology internship at WorldQuant, insights into the firm’s culture and best advice for fellow interns.
Where do you go to college and what do you study?
Danielle Kelly: I am a rising junior at Harvard University and study applied mathematics. I’m also pursuing a secondary degree in computer science.
How did you find out about the internship at WorldQuant?
I maintained a relationship with mentors at my last internship. When the time came to find an internship for this summer, one of them suggested WorldQuant for its great reputation and work culture.
What do you do as a technology intern at WorldQuant?
I do a mix of coding and other project work. I’ve had the opportunity to look deeply into corporate actions and futures migrations, and I’ve spent a lot of time learning how WorldQuant’s systems work. In a typical day, I would say I spend half of my time observing how the team resolves issues and makes improvements, and the second half working on projects for the team.
What has been your favorite part of your internship so far?
My favorite part of the internship has definitely been getting to meet employees and learning about their backgrounds. WorldQuant is truly global and everyone is brilliant, which brings different perspectives to the table. I can honestly say I’ve taken away something valuable from each one-on-one conversation I’ve had within the firm, whether that be a deeper understanding of the business, professional advice or personal lessons.
Has anything surprised you about WorldQuant?
I’m pleasantly surprised by how warm and collaborative the work culture is. Everyone I’ve talked to has been so open and outgoing. Even the layout of WorldQuant’s office encourages collaboration.
What is your best advice for interns just starting out their careers?
If I had three pieces of advice, they would be the following:
Ask questions. You’re not going to know everything (or even most things), especially at the beginning of your internship. One of the best ways to learn and show your supervisors how your mind works is by asking the right questions.
Your internship is what you make of it, so be proactive. If you see something that could be improved, suggest it. If there’s a project you want to work on, or a new direction you want to take your work, mention it to your supervisor. As an intern, you’re coming in with a fresh pair of eyes and that can be a real source of value.
Talk to every person you can. Go to every meeting you can. Be a sponge and immerse yourself in your internship. That’s how you’re going to get the most out of it.
What new skills are you learning?
Before this internship, I had minimal experience with datasets. Now, half of what I do is querying databases in SQL and analyzing data!
What are your biggest takeaways about WorldQuant so far?
I’m impressed by how complex WorldQuant is. “Quantitative finance” is a bit of a buzzword, but the investment process has so many more facets than I expected. There are so many people required to make operations run smoothly, and each team interacts so synergistically with one another.
What are you looking forward to for the rest of the internship?
Sadly, I have only two weeks left. As I’m coming to the end of many of my projects, I’m excited to present them to the trading team and hopefully offer them useful tools and insights. An internship is an opportunity to dip your toes into a new pool. Fortunately, for me, I love what I do.