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Almost every weekday this summer, Alexis Anastos ’05 (Franklin Lakes, N.J.) commuted from her home to Manhattan’s financial district. There she worked with the investment strategy team at Merrill Lynch, participating in meetings, helping with research, and learning the ropes of the financial services industry.

“It was a really great experience,” says Anastos, an economics and business major. “Having an internship gives you an edge over students who haven’t done one.”

Dara Brown ’97, private wealth adviser at Merrill Lynch and Anastos’ internship supervisor, says Anastos arrived in May armed with a number of technical and interpersonal skills.

“She’s definitely very personable,” Brown says. “To fit in and get along with everyone right off the bat in a high-stress professional environment is pretty impressive. She’s also extremely knowledgeable about computers. A lot of what she did was database-oriented and involved lots of math. I rarely had to double-check her work.”

Brown, who interned at Merrill Lynch herself under the guidance of Lafayette graduate Bob Waldele’79, landed her current position based on her internship performance and has mentored interns regularly since then. This summer, she worked with five others, including mathematics-economics major Martin Lawlor ’05 (Morristown, N.J.).

“He’s extremely inquisitive,” she says. “He asked a lot of good questions.”

In addition to their on-site work at Merrill Lynch, Brown and Lawlor visited Merrill Lynch’s offices in Princeton, N.J., and Anastos visited the company’s equities trading floor and fixed income trading floors.

For Brown, the mentoring experience has become familiar, and she’s always prepared for her interns, issuing each a copy of The Wall Street Journal Guide to Personal Investments and giving them reading assignments.

Anastos, who hopes to work in financial services following graduation, learned about product research from Chris Allora ’97, who, like Brown, is a member of the investment strategy team. She says the internship, plus another last summer at First Investors Corp., also in New York City, helped her identify her area of interest.

A graduate of Indian Hills High School in Oakland, N.J., she spent the spring semester studying in Florence, Italy, and is a member and social director of the Delta Gamma sorority.

Categorized in: Academic News