Kinza Memon joined First Class Wealth as a bright-eyed financial intern in December 2016. With a passion for financial planning - having co-founded UNSW’s Financial Planning Student Group - she has bought an undeniable sense of enthusiasm and drive to the team. Kinza’s role initially grew to revolve around the research and implementation of our advisory services, but now having been offered a permanent position with the firm, the sky is the limit!
Sitting down with us to discuss her experience within the internship, what she has learnt and offering words of advice to fellow students wanting to take their first step in the corporate world, Kinza shares her own personal perspective of working as part of the team of First Class Wealth.
1. Being in your last year of university and about to close a significant chapter in your life, what was your university experience like and how did you make the most out of your time there?
Throughout my second year of university, the prospect of only a year left of my degree was incredibly daunting. Regardless, the two years I’ve spent there thus far have been incredible; I’ve gained more than simply an education, but rather a wealth of experiences and opportunities that have given me the confidence to enter the workforce. I tried to make the most of my short time at Uni as enriching as possible by getting involved in extra curricular activities that I was passionate about. Beginning as a first year, not knowing what I was getting myself into, I took on as many opportunities as I could!
One of my proudest involvements by far has been co- founding and being Secretary for the UNSW Financial Planning Student Group. The society aims to help fellow students connect to financial planning professionals as well as educate them about this exciting profession through mentoring programs, career expos and workshops.
2. You have just completed a three-month internship with First Class Wealth and have been offered a part time position with the firm. Congratulations! What were your initial thoughts and feelings about the internship and how have they evolved over time?
Apprehension and excitement were my initial thoughts regarding this internship. Throughout university, my interest in financial planning continually grew and I was extremely keen to get first-hand experience in the industry to solidify or extinguish my pre-existent impressions of it.
I'm definitely glad to say that the former eventuated and gaining experience within such a supportive and passionate environment has been one of the most valuable experiences of my career. I'm humbled by the new part time opportunity presented to me, and I hope to continuously grow and learn and increase my contribution to the fast paced growth First Class Wealth is currently experiencing.
3. What inspired your interest in financial planning and how have your thoughts changed now that you have gained practical experience and exposure to the industry?
My interest in financial planning began during my time at Uni, where I was bombarded with a multitude of opportunities that came within the field of commerce. Most students are presented with the more common career paths - within major banks and auditing firms. I personally felt that these areas did not match my interests. I wanted to be able to use my passion for finance while simultaneously working with and benefiting clients.
I then took a Wealth Management course at University, and was approached by a close friend who was interested in starting a financial planning society. From there, my interest and knowledge of the industry grew, and it ticked all the boxes for what I wanted from my career. Working with First Class Wealth, my interest in the industry has grown even further, and I became even more enriched as I’ve gained a greater understanding and appreciation for the advice process and the dedication required.
4. What is a typical work day like for you?
A typical work day for me varies, however it is usually spent completing any assigned tasks I’ve left for myself in terms of my implementation duties, as well as any other tasks I’ve been given to complete.
Currently, we have a new financial planning intern, so a proportion of my time is also spent training him on all I’ve learnt within the past three months, and making sure it’s an enriching experience for him, as much as it was for me!
5. What type of projects did you work on during your internship?
The most crucial aspect of my internship which appealed to me greatly was that as an intern I was trusted to take on responsibility and do real work, rather than the stereotype of printing documents that no one else wanted to do.
Unlike most corporate internships, which are highly structured, this one was flexible, and I progressed at my own pace. As such, during my internship I worked on both the research and implementation side of the advice process for various clients. Part of my experience also included sitting in on client meetings to gain a greater understanding of the client facing side of advice, as well as enhancing my understanding on how to carry myself professionally.
6. Your first job in a professional capacity can be a daunting experience. Have you noticed any changes to your confidence or general outlook towards work?
Definitely. Coming in to the internship, I wasn't the most confident person, and I'm still not! Previously I mostly avoided making any phone calls that required me to talk to a complete stranger for more than two minutes. Now, making phone calls to complete strangers encompass a large part of my day!
Despite dreading it all initially, I accepted what had to be done and I am so glad I did! My phone skills have improved and I'm more confident with my work - but of course there's still a long way to go!
7. What mindset do you think a student should adopt to maximise their internship experience?
I think when coming into an internship, your main role is to not only learn but to prove yourself as a worthy candidate for the long run. Take an interest in the goals and visions of the company and the people you work with and be open to offering your time to help achieve this.
It's important to acknowledge and accept that your internship experience won't always be relaxed, comfortable and easy work. You will be stressed, work past the 5pm mark at times and be criticised for your shortfalls.
However understand that these seemingly negative aspects of the modern work world are of infinite value to you in the long run. They give you the opportunity to not only learn and grow professionally but prove yourself as a valuable candidate to the firm. All of this will also make any challenges that come your way in the future much easier.
8. How has taking part in a First Class Wealth internship shaped your career goals and values?
Taking part in the First Class Wealth internship has solidified my goal to work within the financial planning industry. I also have learnt how important it is to me to be part of and contribute profoundly to growth. I'm glad I joined First Class Wealth at this point in their career as it's exciting to be a part of this ambitious and team orientated environment to help grow First Class Wealth into one of the best financial advisory firms in the country.
9. What has been the greatest challenge so far?
Every day I’m presented with various challenges, which I enjoy, as they fuel my interest in my work. The greatest challenge I have faced is most probably, trying to strike a balance between learning as much as possible within a short time frame, taking on responsibilities given to me, as well as ensuring I manage my time well enough. Fortunately, being in an incredibly supportive environment, this has become easier than I otherwise believed it would.
10. What are you looking forward to the most in the next upcoming months?
I'm excited to transition from my intern role to my part time position in the next month. My role and responsibilities are expected to increase and I hope to rise above it and prove myself valuable to First Class Wealth, whilst also completing my final year of Uni. We're also expected to change offices and gain a larger space, perhaps a tangible metaphor for all the growth that's about to happen, and I can't wait to be a part of it all!