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Five Tips from a Futures and Options Alum


Greetings! I’m Dashawn Walker, a Futures and Options alum, originally from Bronx, NY.  I currently attend Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME, where I study mathematics.  


As a Futures and Options alum, I wanted to give back to the organization that helped me score my second-ever finance-related internship with Jefferies.  This summer I’m working at Futures and Options as the Office Assistant. I've been enjoying making life easier for the staff so they can allot more time to strengthening Futures and Options and assisting the eager youth in exploring careers.


As a rising junior in college and a current intern at Futures and Options, here are my tips for F&O students and alumni:


Never Give Up This may sound cliché but it is the truth.  Transitioning from high school to college was a huge challenge for me.  During the first semester of my freshman year I was constantly homesick and struggled with academics and fitting in at my school.  However, my second semester is when things started to turn around.  I made more friends, adjusted to my school, and got a better sense of how to tackle academics.  The key is to keep going.  Like the common quote goes, “It may be stormy now but it can’t rain forever.” 


Be proactive about your future It’s very important that you spend your summers in college being productive, whether through internships, volunteer work or staying on campus to engage in a research project with a professor.  Your summer experience is what will open doors for opportunities later in life. 


Network, network, network! Networking is one of the most useful tactics that one can engage in.  Always keep ties to your past employers, mentors, etc.  You never know what opportunities they may have for you when you’re struggling to find opportunities yourself.  Furthermore, not only is it good to ‘take’ from networking, but ‘give’ as well.  When you find yourself with the power to afford an opportunity to someone who is struggling to find one, do it!  Keep the network strong and alive!


Do your BEST in college Having decent grades is important for a lot of fields.  For instance, a lot of the banking/finance internships require a 3.0+ GPA to apply for their programs.  To get into a top law school, medical school, or business school, you generally need to have a very competitive GPA (3.5+) to even be considered for their programs.  Your GPA is not the end-all be-all of your future, but having a competitive GPA sure does help afford you a lot of opportunities that could change your life and enhance your career. 


Explore! Explore, explore, explore.  The average person who graduates college is 21.  There is no reason at the young age of 21 for you to know what your permanent career is.  Explore careers.  See what works for you and what doesn’t.  You don't want to end up later in life questioning and regretting things you didn’t do while you were younger. 


If you are an alum of our program and would like to reconnect with us please fill out our alumni contact form, email us at info@futuresandoptions.org or call 212-601-0002.

Muni Day in D.C.


On Monday, July 16th, Futures and Options’ Urban Leadership Fellows Program interns went on an exciting “Muni Day” field trip to Washington, D.C.


The interns met with representatives from the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over lunch, and discussed the importance of regulation in public finance.



ULF interns Mohammed Shaifuddin, Nelson Ma, and Mohammed Sujon in front of the Supreme Court.


After lunch came tours of important national institutions. Expertly guided by Frank Shafroth, the interns visited the Supreme Court and the U.S. Capitol Building. Highlights included meeting with representatives from the White House and Senator Chuck Schumer’s Office and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go out on the Capitol balcony.



ULF interns with Mallory Bucher and Frank Shafroth of the MSRB, on the Capitol balcony.


The interns returned to New York better friends than when they left and with a new appreciation for the connections between policy and finance. In their own words:


 “I liked that fact I got the chance to know my fellow interns better than before. I also liked our visit to the Supreme Court and to the Capitol. I learned more about the Supreme Court and the way it works than I ever knew before. What I found perhaps most exciting was getting the opportunity to speak to a person who works very closely with President Obama on a daily basis.”


“[My favorite part was] visiting places considered very significant and realizing that getting there and being one of those significant people is not impossible. Going around with the group and being a tourist and taking pictures was fun also.”


“We were able to meet charismatic, intelligent people who helped us realize that things in life are not planned and anything is possible. They also gave us a really good insight on how the government really works.”


Muni Day in DC was a huge success! We are very grateful to Lynnette Kelly and her team at the MSRB for arranging this special day and to Loews for sponsoring the bus to make it all possible.


For more information about our Urban Leadership Fellows Internship Program please contact Joanna Munoz or Rebecca Dougherty or call 212-601-0002.

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