UAB student’s networking, student involvement pays off with coveted internship

More than 600 students from across the country applied for the position. Only three, including Massie, received offers.
Written by: Mia Watkins
Media Contact: Adam Pope

University of Alabama at Birminghamimage Collat School of Business student Daniel Massie will be starting a highly competitive internship next summer at Stifel Investments, but he says he would not have gotten there without his network.

“Finance is one of the industries within business that is the most heavily reliant on networking,” Massie said. “You have to know people. That’s how you prove to new business that you have what it takes before you even walk through the door.”

Massie, president of the Finance Management Association and a member of the Green & Gold Fund, was searching for an internship when one of his former classmates, now working in Stifel’s Birmingham office, texted unexpectedly. The friend asked if he could give Massie an internal referral to his firm’s investment banking recruitment team.

Massie, a junior, said yes and began a whirlwind recruitment process, which included screenings, pre-interviews and an intense “superday” with back-to-back-to-back interviews. More than 600 students from across the country applied for the position. Only three, including Massie, received offers. The entire process was humbling, Massie says, and he learned a lot about himself and the importance of networking.

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“Ultimately, you never know where one of your fellow students or friends might end up,” Massie said. “Being able to stay in contact and work with them to grow both of your careers simultaneously is an important piece. I would not have been able to join Stifel if I had not gotten an internal referral from [my former classmate].”

Next summer, Massie will intern with the investment bank’s mergers and acquisitions energy group in Houston, building out financial models and pitch decks for potential clients. He will spend the preceding semesters preparing for the internship by strengthening his network, learning about banking culture and working on technical skills. He is training for a substantial increase in workload.

“Going from college life where you may be putting in 30 or 40 hours a week with a full-time course load to a summer internship where you’re expected to work a minimum of 80 hours a week will be an adjustment,” he said. “Trying to shift your mind and get your body used to that number of hours working on high-level financial modeling and data analysis is definitely an adjustment.”

Before landing at Stifel, Massie applied for numerous other internships without much luck. His advice for students who are searching for an internship and receiving denials is to find an outlet to better themselves while they search and to keep pushing.

Massie encourages students to reach out to professionals already in the industry and ask questions.

“Nothing’s stopping you from going on LinkedIn and cold messaging people from an industry or a firm that you find interesting and setting up a coffee meeting with them just to talk,” he said. “That’s how I started out when I was a freshman — asking questions.”

On campus, he suggests joining organizations with like-minded students.

“First and foremost, I say my most important advice is to come to FMA,” Massie said. “FMA is where you meet finance professionals, and you meet the students who are going to be successful in their careers. About 70 percent of FMA members have internships by their junior year.”