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Advice / Career Paths / Career Stories

At This Finance Firm, Interns Can Gain Real Experience—and Launch a Career

Andrew N., a senior account executive at Fisher Investments
Andrew N., a Senior Account Executive at Fisher Investments.
| Courtesy of Fisher Investments

Having access to development opportunities at work is crucial for career progression—and companies that don’t offer these are more likely to have employees leave their jobs according to a recent survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management. As an employer, Fisher Investments understands this well—which is why it offers the training and advancement people need to build lifelong careers. In this three-part article series, we spoke to employees about their growth at Fisher and how the company helped them get to where they are today. Below, you can read part one of the series, click here for parts two and three.

Andrew N. calls himself a “natural introvert,” an unusual descriptor for someone in sales, where much of the job is focused on building relationships by talking to people. But thanks to a summer internship at Fisher Investments, Andrew was able to develop the skills necessary for a career in sales—discovering along the way he was good at it.

After graduation, Andrew went on to land an Account Executive position and a promotion shortly after that. He credits Fisher for his career growth, specifically the way mentorship and training are built into the company culture—even for interns. This approach to development was a main reason he wanted to join the firm full time.

“People really care about you and want to see you learn and grow,” he says. “They would take the time to listen and help me get better on the phone, even when they didn’t know if I was going to transition into a full-time role. That showed me a lot about the kind of people that work here.”

Here, Andrew talks about the skills he learned as an intern, how mentorship has shaped his experience at Fisher, and his future goals at the company.

How did you learn about the internship at Fisher, and why were you excited about the opportunity?

Fisher was a familiar name because the firm does a lot of recruiting at my alma mater, the University of Portland. My neighbor was an employee at Fisher, which is how I got plugged in to the internship opportunity. I was lucky to have people I knew tell me how great Fisher was as a company, so I had a good feeling going into my internship.

What was your internship experience like?

The internship was sales-related. I said, “I’ll try it out and see how it goes,” and sure enough, I fell in love with it. 

The interns had a ton of classes to learn about the firm and the training helped me understand how to handle different situations in my job. I got to participate in shadowing mock calls to understand what it would be like to be an Account Executive. I was given meaningful work that made me feel like I was doing something that mattered.

What about your experience as an intern made you want to pursue a full-time role at Fisher afterward?

What really sold me on Fisher was the people. The people I worked with were nothing but encouraging during the internship, which made me believe that this was how it would be as an employee at Fisher. And that’s absolutely been the case. I also looked up to all the Account Executives on the team—their social and communication skills were impressive. I figured as long as I worked hard, the rest of it would come.

What were the most important skills you developed as an intern that helped you land a full-time role?

The company did a good job of teaching us about the intangible details of work life, like why we need to show up on time, and how to communicate with other employees and carry ourselves around the office. I think they wanted to make sure interns understood, whether or not we ended up working at Fisher, the importance of doing the little things correctly. 

From the job itself, I learned a lot about how to treat other people and empathize with them. I was able to apply these communication skills when I started full-time. Becoming a better communicator has also helped in my social life.

What are you responsible for in your current role as a Senior Account Executive?

My job is to talk to potential clients about how Fisher Investments can help them reach their financial goals, and help set up meetings between them and our Vice Presidents. I get to speak with people from all across the country. It takes a lot of hard work, but it’s rewarding to lead someone through the process and help them become a client at Fisher.

Once you became a full-time employee, what kinds of development opportunities did you have access to at Fisher?

When you’re a new Account Executive, you are matched with a mentor who guides you for the first few weeks. I already had some experience from my internship, but I still needed help with some of the process-oriented details, like handling Fisher’s technology and systems. 

During my first three to six months, I also received consistent trainings from more tenured Account Executives. They are able to provide perspective about what potential clients are asking about and how we can best help them in their financial journey. They also taught me how to handle different situations and how to better structure a conversation.

How did you earn your promotion to Senior Account Executive so quickly?

Fisher Investments believes in promoting people based on their performance. My promotion to Senior Account Executive was a result of my effort, attitude, and success in the role. It’s exciting that I’m three years out of college and have gotten to this point. 

Another aspect I love is what we call the Fisher “will-do.” How often are you helping new hires or people who may need help? How often are you giving feedback to others? How are you giving back to the firm? All of those questions are what ultimately determines if you’re ready to be a senior member on the team.

What are your long-term goals at Fisher?

Right now, my job is primarily focused on setting up meetings for our Vice Presidents, who then continue to help potential clients learn about Fisher Investments. I would love to eventually be in a position where I’m not only having those initial conversations and setting up meetings, but I’m also helping them throughout their Fisher journey.

In the short term, I’m trying to refine my own process when speaking to potential clients. For example, I want to make sure that I’m asking good, open-ended questions so they can better understand whether or not Fisher is a good fit for them.

You recently became a mentor to new team members. What has been your experience paying it forward and why is it important to you?

When I first started out, having someone who was patient with me and gave me feedback was huge for my own growth. Knowing that, how can I not want to help new hires? And I’m learning a lot from them, too. Ultimately, being a mentor has made me a better employee because I’m learning how to train and coach others. It’s also a nice opportunity to get to know new team members and help them out on their journeys. I was in their same shoes only a few years ago and I remember how scary it can feel when you’re first starting out.