Throughout the fall semester, Spencer Gravenkamp ’20 (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) participated in Centre College’s Centre-in-China program and interned with Austen Morris Associates, a wealth management firm.
During the course of his internship, Gravenkamp found himself reviewing client portfolios, conducting analyses and proposing plans of action. He would also generate reports for the senior partners in the firm. In addition, he responded to several of the senior partners’ client emails regarding portfolio planning, given the current state of the market and global economy.
“I saw China as the biggest challenge of all the semester-long options, and I knew if I chose the program that challenged me the most, I would get the most out of my experience abroad,” he said. “Having the opportunity to intern in a country so focused on business was also a draw. I knew getting an internship in China would give me invaluable experience, while also making me a stronger candidate for future employers.”
Before starting his international internship, Gravenkamp worked at a financial wellness company, where he was a data analyst.
“While the program here offers a plethora of internship opportunities, I knew I wanted to pursue an internship that gave me financial advising experience that is similar to what I would be experiencing in the U.S., while also getting to learn the dynamics of Chinese business culture,” he explained.
As an economics and finance major, Gravenkamp said being involved in Centre’s Investment Society has been beneficial for him. He went into his internship already knowing some investment strategies.
“Outside of finance, Centre has prepared me to be confident when presenting my ideas to the senior partners, something that my supervisor said is extremely important in any job,” he added. “Centre creates an environment where students can feel confident in presenting their ideas to their professors and also creates a ‘family-like’ atmosphere.”
Gravenkamp said he learned quite a bit about Chinese business culture, but, most importantly, he learned more about himself through this experience.
“I now know the career path that I want to take, and I know to always challenge myself into taking the more uncomfortable routes in life, for they lead to the most growth,” he said. “This experience has helped me grow in so many ways. I’m more confident in my ability to thrive no matter what situation I am thrown in.
“Before this trip, I didn’t know any Mandarin, I had little idea of what I wanted to do career-wise and slightly feared living in a big city,” he continued. “After this trip, I can now say that I can hold a conversation in Mandarin, that my internship has given me incredible work experience which has led to a better understanding of what I would like to do post Centre, and that I have loved living in such a booming city.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
December 5, 2018