For my Princeternship, I shadowed a Manhattan-based financial technology company called SmartAsset with three other Princeton students. They create personal web-based financial education products for consumers, as well as various calculators and website widgets for outside clients like Yahoo Finance and CNN Money.
Our host was AJ Smith ’03, although there were a few other Princeton graduates in other SmartAsset departments that we interacted with during the two days we were there. With my major being Computer Science, and being interested in both software development and product design Smart Assest was a great fit for me – and it really helped me understand more about how these two fields in the technology industry connect and overlap. One of my main goals during my Princeternship was to see if I was drawn more to product management or technical development. I soon discovered that it’s possible to find the perfect combination of both at a company like SmartAsset.
We met and talked with many teams within the company over the course of the first day, including data management, marketing, content, software engineering, product design and upper management. This gave us plenty of opportunities to learn from the passionate people about their careers, while also discovering the day-to-day operations of each team in the company. Then, on the second day, the VP of Engineering allowed us to pick from five different projects that addressed real-world problems SmartAsset was working to solve. Another intern and I successfully collaborated on one of these projects utilizing our computer science experience, and we were able to consult with different people in the company about obstacles we encountered along the way.
Overall, SmartAsset provided a great opportunity to see what it’s like to work on the software engineering side of FinTech products, while also learning about the paths of many other essential teams in the company. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I’ll never forget, and I’d recommend the Princeternship program to anyone interested in seeing how their interests and studies can be applied in the real world.