Horror and Glory Stories: The Life of an Intern

Editor’s note – Bennett Wakenight is a summer intern at the Chicago Board Options Exchange – given the opportunity he has decided to contribute to the CBOE Options Hub this summer and relay his experiences at CBOE.

Many people are aware of the fact that interns are treated poorly at times, or are given meaningless tasks to complete contributing nothing towards forwarding ones professional experience. However, this is not the case whatsoever at Chicago Board Option Exchange’s internship program. Let me give you a brief rundown of how the first week has wrapped up so far: On our first day, 15 interns were shown the ropes of what CBOE is all about and how we were going to be tied into the industry leading company in the heart of Chicago. All of us interns are to attend classes on a bi-weekly basis taught by instructors from the Options Institute, which is CBOE’s own online and in person resource to teach beginners, novices, and experts about the various strategies involved in the options market.

In additions to the classes we will attend and access to special events like speakers and tours of essential financial companies in the industry, we have the opportunity to try our hands at real world experiences in particular divisions of the CBOE. I am working in the Business Development division under the Statistical Analysis team composed of an intimate group of five other members. Some of the other interns are active in areas like Futures Regulations, Investor Relations, Regulatory Services through OPRA along with numerous other concentrations.

Clearly I just threw a bunch of official names and titles just now to make myself and the other interns sound almost as important as the CEO himself, but I’m going to be real with you; that is not the point of this program. The point of this internship program, and what CBOE does a good job at emphasizing, is truly all about teaching us about options and everything that makes up the commonly confused parts of the market and strategies.

Don’t get me wrong, there is still down time in between assigned projects or after daily work is completed. Brushing up on the market news or cranking out an online course are two of the common activities when we find out afternoons stagnant. The important skill that many of the interns have learned quickly within the first week is to stay productive in the work day in order to grow as professional individuals. I personally have very little experience in business or finance being a communication major, yet I still feel very comfortable.  I was told in one of the first presentations we attended from two individuals from the Driehaus Investments Group – be passionate and open about new topics we are handed to learn.

The first week is already over and it has gotten off to a great start. Thankfully I have experienced only one side of the spectrum of the mythical internship hearsay horror and glory stories. I have had full afternoons bulging with work to get completed before the days end and some of downtime to further my education of the CBOE and everything that goes with it. Needless to say, I am very grateful for the opportunity to be working here for the next 10 weeks.