Henry Thomas (Finance ’19) Interns at UBS, charity: Water
Henry Thomas (Finance ’19) discusses crossovers between internships at UBS and charity: water and his studies at The King’s College.
This summer, Henry Thomas (Finance ’19) is interning at both charity: water and UBS. charity: water is a nonprofit that brings clean, safe drinking water to developing countries. He interned with charity: water this spring and was invited to stay on for the summer as an associate accountant. At UBS, the Swiss multinational investment bank and financial services company, Henry does client relations and acquisition in the wealth management branch. We recently talked with Henry about crossovers between these internships and his studies at King’s.
This summer, what does a typical week look like for you?
I intern at UBS Tuesday and Thursday, and I’m at charity: water Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. At UBS, I’m working in their wealth management branch doing client relations and acquisition, finding new niches for the financial advisor I work under. At charity: water, I’m doing accounting. When I started, I was mainly managing donations, making sure they were entered correctly, and reaching out to donors. Halfway through the spring semester, I started getting bigger projects that directly connected to what I was learning in my classes. I reconciled balance sheets and wrote journal entries, which, when you’re working with an organization that deals in upwards of $50 million a year, takes more time than I expected!
Can you tell me more about how the curriculum at King’s prepared you for these new opportunities?
I was involved in debate a little bit in high school, and coming to King’s has built on those debate skills, helping me learn how to research and how to build out my keywords. Dawn Fotopulos’s marketing courses and Principles of Management and Organization then trained me how to find niche consumer segments and tap into them. Overall, the King’s politics, philosophy, and economics core has taught me to ask for the how and the why. This helps with my market research at UBS.
Several of my King’s classes have been helpful in my accounting role at charity: water, like Financial Accounting with Frank Torino, Managerial Accounting with Jennifer Hiett, and Financial Modeling and Intermediate Accounting with Dami Kabiawu. I was taking Financial Modeling at the same time I started this internship at charity: water, and I would go back to Professor Kabiawu and say, “We just used this formula at charity: water that we learned in class the other day.”
The required college writing classes at King’s have been useful as well. At UBS, we write reports when we bring in new clients, and at charity: water, when I’ve written memos for the Board or for the CEO, I’ve had to know how to be concise and effective. My managers are especially happy when they can give me a project and know that they won’t have to revise my work.
How have these internships helped you evaluate where you might want to work in the future?
Both of these places are at the top of their game. UBS’s revenue is in the billions, they have offices everywhere, and they’re the largest international wealth management firm. On the other hand, there are 1.5 million nonprofits in the U.S., and charity: water is ranked in the top 200 in terms of revenue. But the cultures are so different. charity: water has more of a startup culture, whereas UBS has a corporate, financial culture. At UBS, everyone wears a suit, even the janitors. It’s very formal; instead of common spaces where you hang out and work, everyone has a specified desk.
charity: water is on Inc. Magazine’s 2018 Best Workplaces list, and I can feel how we hold ourselves to a standard at the office. Integrity is a big thing. No white lies. We’re honest and transparent. That goes hand in hand with the Honor Code at King’s. It wasn’t anything new to me: it just felt real.
How does your faith play out in these internships?
Both of these are secular work environments—which is not a bad thing. In fact, I strongly believe that it’s important for Christians to be at the center of secular industries. That being said, I’m blessed to be working in spaces that still value Christian morals, such as transparent communication and integrity. My faith comes through in the little, everyday actions, and it’s because of these things that my supervisors trust me.