By: Justin Lafleur, Lehigh Sports Communications
Lehigh women's soccer has made a name for itself at Bloomberg L.P. It began with Grace Correll '18, continued with Kat Jacobellis '20 and Maggie Wadsworth '20, and now includes current senior Ally Friedman '21.
All four went through Bloomberg's internship program and secured a full-time job, with Friedman being the latest.
"When Kat and Maggie interned last summer (2019), multiple people at Bloomberg commented that they were excited to have more Lehigh soccer players joining the Bloomberg family," said Correll. "When Ally interned this summer, her boss in sales was my boss back when I interned.
"Ally's boss said how excited he was to have another Lehigh soccer student-athlete as his intern for the summer because he knew how hard-working I was," Correll continued.
"He was confident that Ally would be another great fit."
A Virtual Internship Experience
Bloomberg is a financial, software, data and media company headquartered in Midtown Manhattan, New York. Friedman secured her Bloomberg internship last fall, originally interested in the company because of what she heard from Correll, Jacobellis and Wadsworth.
"I had heard such great things about their experiences," said Friedman. "They were finance majors as well, so Bloomberg aligned with my interests. I talked to them when I was initially starting the process of applying for internships. It was the easiest avenue to get inside feedback."
Friedman's summer experience was different than her former teammates since the COVID-19 pandemic forced the internship to go virtual.
"It was shortened from 10 weeks down to seven," she said. "It's usually split up half and half – five weeks in the analytics department and five weeks in the sales department – but because it was shortened, it all meshed together. Monday, Wednesday and Friday was analytics while Tuesday and Thursday was sales."
A lot of Friedman's time was spent in a classroom setting over Zoom.
"We had a specialist in an area explaining a certain product to us, a certain asset class, or something we would be presenting on later in the internship," she said. "One of the coolest parts was working alongside a specific sales team. I was fully immersed, and was the only intern on the team."
At the end of the internship, Friedman and her group also completed a sales pitch.
"We were able to pick the brains of our sales mentors and team leaders, learning how they would go about pitching a product to a client," she said. "Then, we stepped into those shoes and acted as if we were full-time Bloomberg employees presenting to a mock client."
Bloomberg interns are valued, and can make an impact. The program fostered growth and allowed Grace, Maggie, Kat and now Ally to take the step from interns into full-time employees.
"They often take ideas from interns and implement them into their day-to-day and sales techniques," said Friedman. "It's pretty neat to see that we can have a real impact on the company."
A Great Fit
Lehigh women's soccer student-athletes have enjoyed success at Bloomberg due in large part to its environment.
"From the first day of my internship experience, the company reminded me of the LUWS family," said Correll. "Everyone at the company is hard-working, motivated and consistently working as a team. I am constantly surrounded by people who support me and will always be there to help me succeed in my role, which is exactly how I felt with my teammates and coaches at Lehigh."
Working together and looking out for one another is exactly what LUWS does.
Correll has put it on display.
"Grace was a huge help when applying for the internship," said Friedman. "I reached out to her because I was looking on places like Linkedin and Handshake and couldn't find the job listing. She told me when it was going to be posted, so I was able to apply to it really early. It was rolling admissions, so getting on the earlier end probably helped."
Correll also sent a referral link to Friedman (along with Jacobellis and Wadsworth), which asked them to apply.
"I was happy to internally refer Ally, Kat and Maggie," said Correll. "They are all very hard-working, intelligent, motivated young women. I look forward to continuing to support them and provide guidance as they begin their careers at the company."
Adaptability From Athletics
Correll had no doubt Friedman would back up the support with her actions.
Ally did so in a big way.
"We had an end-of-internship evaluation and Bloomberg said inters stood out because they were able to act on their feet," said Friedman. "A lot of times, you're thrown into a situation and have no idea what to do because you're an intern and have never been in the industry before. You can be talking to a real-life client and be thrown a question that you don't have an answer for, and you have to face it.
"That may mean saying 'I don't know' rather than giving an answer that's completely wrong and leading them down the wrong path."
Being able to think on the fly and being adaptable is important, especially today more than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Every day, week and month is unpredictable.
"Being adaptable completely correlates with athletics," said Friedman. "It's also the idea of being okay with failure and being able to grow from it rather than putting your head down and quitting. There are times in a season when you lose three games in a row or you're down 2-0 in a game. You have to come back from that because the game's not over and you can't just quit there.
"In my internship, there were a lot of times when I would have a call with a client and completely drop the ball," she continued. "They would hang up angry and I would've gotten nothing out of the call. Then, two minutes later, you had to make another call, be back on your feet, react from your previous failure and make it better."
Responding better also takes coaching, which is another skill learned from athletics.
"My evaluation also said I was very coachable," said Friedman. "We had weekly check-ins with my team leader and mentors, reflecting how I performed that week. They gave me pointers on how to improve or what they would have done differently. They said I was very able to adapt and perform better the next week."
It's just like soccer.
"In practice, you're going to get yelled at in one drill, but then you have to go again, do another rep and make it better," said Friedman. "We're used to that as athletes. You're more determined to fix it for the next time, which is a huge benefit for athletes and a lot of employers are looking for that."
Friedman is following in the footsteps of Grace, Kat and Maggie in joining Bloomberg full-time.
"The internship tries to mock the process of the full-time role," said Friedman.
Bloomberg's full-time position is a program that allows for learning and growing through training. Year one includes working on the help desk, which helps the new employee gain broad skills and knowledge about the company.
"I started full-time in the analytics department and was on the customer service help desk specializing in fixed income electronic trading for a year," said Correll. "I then transitioned into sales and have been in my current role for one year. I am an account manager covering Chicago, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. I travel roughly two to three weeks out of the month to meet with clients."
After one year on the help desk, employees can chose different routes – specifically analytics or sales. At this point, Friedman has her eyes on sales (like Correll), but is open to what makes sense for her at the time. She will begin working full-time on the help desk in September, 2021 and won't need to officially choose a path for another year after that.
"I really want to get into sales because it's a very client-facing role," said Friedman. "I find it gratifying to make a sale. You can put in the work and see the direct correlation to either the revenue-generating opportunity that you had, gaining a new client or building up that relationship."
Sales is a lot about building relationships, which gives Lehigh women's soccer student-athletes another advantage from their time on a team, especially a team as close-knit as LUWS.
"Sales is about getting to know clients and the best way to go about gaining their business," said Friemdan. "Athletics is all about working with teammates, it's all about collaboration, and that's a huge aspect of sales. You're always in a team setting trying to best figure out how you can work with one another."
Close-Knit and Competitive Environment
The close-knit and competitive environment at Lehigh has led four women's soccer student-athletes to the same place.
"Similar to being on a team fighting for a starting position, within sales at Bloomberg you are constantly pushing yourself to have as many sales possible," said Correll. "At Lehigh, if one of my teammates was going early to practice to get in some extra touches, it would push me to go join them. At Bloomberg, if my colleague is picking up the phone to cold call prospective clients, I am even more motivated to increase my outreach.
"What Ally, Kat, Maggie and I have in common is that we are driven to work that much harder when placed in a naturally competitive environment," Correll continued. "The culture at Bloomberg is definitely what encouraged me to come back as a full-time hire, and I am very happy with that decision."
Correll believes the culture is an important aspect that drew Jacobellis, Wadsworth and now Friedman back as full-time hires as well.
"Transitioning from having teammates who encourage you to do your best and support you every step of the way, to having colleagues do the exact same, is very comforting," said Correll.
Correll has helped not only her former teammates secure an internship (and job), but also helped her company gain strong employees.
"I think Lehigh women's soccer has a very strong reputation at the company in terms of the types of people we are and the work ethic we bring," said Correll.
It has been a great fit.