Internship Gives a Jump Start to a Career in Finance

November 20, 2020 The Washington Center

Anthony Collins: Getting a Jump Start on a Career in Finance

Anthony Collins is a Business Administration major from Fitchburg State University interning at the Internal Revenue Service in the Fall 2020 semester. Here, he shares his TWC experience.

What prompted you to look for an internship? 
I want to be able to leave college with more experience and get a jump start on a career in investment/financial advising, and I believe the best way to do that is through an internship. I’ve worked the same part-time job since I was a sophomore in high school, which I didn’t think was enough experience to place me above other candidates when it came to applying for jobs. 

Why did you choose this program over other options? 
I chose The Washington Center (TWC) for a few reasons. The biggest reason was convenience - my university has a long standing relationship with TWC, which means multiple avenues for grants and a school liaison who’s able to answer any questions. Also, TWC is well-known and their website has all of the information one could ever need, making them a clear choice because I knew exactly what I was getting into before even applying.

Describe what it’s like to intern at your organization. What are your typical responsibilities, and what does a typical day look like? 
Currently I work at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in their Treasury Acquisition Institute’s office. This has been a dream internship from day one. The staff there is kind and always willing to go out of their way to work with me. They’re also always willing to work around my other responsibilities at TWC, such as taking academic coursework and participating in networking events. 

My main internship responsibilities so far include creating a marketing campaign for our Fiscal Year 2021 course catalog, helping students navigate the online learning platform we use, joining in meetings to take notes, sharing ideas and getting assigned projects. Currently, I am working with the IRS’s Military Outreach Service (MOS) in order to plan an event for veterans who work within the organization.

A typical day for me starts at 8:00 in the morning when I log onto my work-provided laptop. I spend my mornings helping others navigate the online learning platform and leading some classes. After lunch I spend the average afternoon bouncing between meetings, networking with others who work within the IRS as well as other agencies such as the Department of the Treasury. Before I log off at 4:30, I normally speak with my boss or his assistant to share what I had accomplished that day and to plan for the next day.

I have grown my network immensely and know when I go back home that I will always have someone to contact in D.C. should I need it for a job or even just for career advice.

Anthony Collins

What is the single greatest benefit TWC provides to students like yourself? 
Networking. I’ve been down here a little over a month and already had the ability to meet a majority of students within TWC’s housing facility. Also, through TWC’s Career Readiness Program I’ve been forced to go out of my comfort zone and network with people in higher positions in my organization as well as in other companies and governmental departments. I have grown my network immensely and know when I go back home that I will always have someone to contact in D.C. should I need it for a job or even just for career advice.

What’s been your proudest accomplishment during your time here? 
My proudest accomplishment since coming down to D.C. has been watching myself come out of my comfort zone. I grew up in a small town where everyone knew each other and I worked in the same part-time job forever. Coming to D.C. was the first time I was given the opportunity to move around and grow out of my hometown roots. Meeting new people, friends, and professionals has been my greatest accomplishment because I know these connections will not only help me now but also later in life. 

In your own words, what’s the number one thing current students need to do in order to be successful after college? 
I feel that in order to be successful after college a student needs to focus on internships and exploring career fields. It’s easy to study in school and get a degree, but if you do not spend time thinking about what you want to do post-graduation then you may end up getting your degree and struggling in your career field. I have met so many people who went back to school because they got their degree and ended up hating that line of work. An internship can show you whether or not you have a real interest in that field. 

What was your top “only in D.C.” moment? 
A few weeks back I was given the opportunity to join a team in the IRS whose sole purpose is to help veterans working within the organization. This group is made up of people from all over the country, from all walks of life and all sorts of backgrounds. This to me is my top “only in D.C. moment” simply because I get the chance to work with a diverse group of people who are there solely to help others. It’s also near and dear to me because helping others is at the root of who I am, and being able to do so with people who have different ideas and thoughts makes the work so much more rewarding.

What advice do you have for other students who are considering an internship with TWC?
Internships are important - they can help you jump start a career or network and meet new people. In the world of virtual internships you are stuck working out of your apartment, most likely your bedroom, upwards of forty hours a week. This can feel draining and make you feel secluded, especially when you are in a new city and have yet to meet new people. 

The best advice I can offer, especially in a virtual work environment, is that you need to go out and meet people. TWC does a terrific job of having you meet new people through their career readiness program. It is important to connect with people and try to make plans to go out and see the city. Getting out of your apartment is going to be the most important thing to do while in DC. Going out and having fun in your free time will not only make you feel happier and more motivated in life, but this will reflect in your work since you’ll be able to start every week refreshed. 

What was the most impactful experience or memorable encounter during your time in Washington, D.C.?
So far, my most impactful experience was being able to meet the commissioner of the IRS, Charles Rettig. Even though it was through a group call with my department, it was still an incredible experience to meet the person who presides over an entire tax system that collects over 3 trillion dollars in tax revenue every year. He spoke powerfully about our mission and how the IRS has played a key role in the distribution of stimulus payouts since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. As soon as he joined the call he was quick to congratulate all of us and thank us for the work we do each day. I hope one day, I’m able to mirror that leadership in my own career.

Let The Washington Center Help

Internships are one of the best ways to learn more about your industry, get hands-on experience under your belt and build a well-rounded skill set. Many of our offerings now have remote work options, meaning you can take advantage of even more opportunities and you’ll add a whole new set of “working from home” skills to your resume. 

We partner with more than 400 internship sites around the country, and will work closely with you to find the internship that best aligns with your career goals and interests.

Want to figure out which TWC program is the best fit for you? Take our quiz

About the Author

The Washington Center

The Washington Center is the largest and most established student internship program in Washington, D.C. Since our founding, we've helped more than 60,000 young people translate their college majors into career paths. We use our scale and expertise to customize each student’s experience to be truly transformative.

Follow on Twitter Visit Website More Content by The Washington Center
Previous Article
Gaining Clarity on a Career in Criminal Justice Reform
Gaining Clarity on a Career in Criminal Justice Reform

Olivia Avery, Political Science and Anthropology major from University of Vermont, interned at the Council ...

Next Article
Funded Federal Diversity Internships Provide Paid Opportunities for College Students
Funded Federal Diversity Internships Provide Paid Opportunities for College Students

The Washington Center partners with multiple U.S. federal agencies to administer paid internship programs w...