Performing a Hat-Trick

Hat-trick (n) definition - three successes of the same kind, especially consecutive ones within a limited period.

Meet Nicholas Pezza a Finance major with a minor in Economics who has completed two internships while being co-captain of the JWU men’s ice hockey team.

We recently sat down with Nick to ask him how his time on the ice contributed to him obtaining two internships. Here’s his story:

Implementing Hockey Team Leadership Into the Interviewing Process

When you interviewed for your internship, did you find opportunities to bring in examples of leadership or teamwork from your hockey team involvement?

Absolutely. In my interview for Ticketmaster, I spent about 50% of the interview answering questions and speaking about my experience as an athlete over the years.

My interviewer was so curious about the life of a college athlete, the sacrifices I made to get here, and the lessons hockey has taught me over the years. One specific example was about maintaining a balance between athletic and academic commitments, and the constant struggle to give 100% to both.

Another large portion of my interview centered around my involvement with the Finance & Investment Academy which was impressive to the interviewer and I believe these two things ultimately led to me being accepted as an intern with Ticketmaster.

How has your involvement in athletics prepared you for your internship or career?

Being an athlete prepared me for my career in many ways. The concept that sacrificing time and putting in the work in the short term can help achieve a long term goal is something that athletics instilled in me at a young age. That understanding drove me to search for an internship in the first place, and allowed me to take advantage of this amazing opportunity. Had I not learned that lesson, I may have been more concerned with enjoying my summer off rather than my personal and professional development.

Also, taking four classes, working an internship, and showing up to games, practices, and team workouts has forced me to handle my time as responsibly as possible. Additionally, having to push through when I am tired to get things done has improved my ability to get things done in the face of adversity.


What did you do at your internship?

Nicholas Pezza

At Ticketmaster, I was an Analytics Intern where I gained exposure to key aspects of Ticketmaster’s business model as part of the Strategy & Analytics team. My most exciting projects surrounded analyzing the impact of company initiatives such as the Verified Fan program and initial pricing on high profile tours.

At the JWU Wildcat Investment Value Fund (WIVF) internship, I was the Portfolio Manager. We are tasked with managing a portion of the University Endowment Fund through a portfolio of U.S. based equities. The purchase and sale of these securities is intended to provide capital appreciation for the funds that the University has allocated to us through the Investment Committee.

The most exciting project that I was tasked with in my time on the fund would include determining the optimum allocation strategy for the portfolio relative to our established benchmark, and directing the team in that direction, as well as the revision of our Investment Policy Statement. I believe that both projects will have a very positive impact on future teams that work for the fund.


A Day In The Life Of An Intern

At Ticketmaster- A typical day would start with a short walk down Hollywood Boulevard over the Walk of Fame to the office—where I would settle in at my desk. I would either get to work on any projects I was contributing to at the time, head to an event for all interns, or sit in on meetings. I was lucky enough to be on a team that afforded me the opportunity to sit in on meetings with senior leadership within the company. This was my favorite part of the internship since I had the opportunity to learn about the company from leadership perspectives. The leadership at Ticketmaster is truly unlike anything I have seen before, and I am beyond thankful to have had the opportunity to rub shoulders with such incredible talent.

At the JWU Wildcat Investment Value Fund (WIVF)- A typical day would involve heading to the Finance Lab where I would start by reading the news in order to stay up to date with global events. This is important since all events have an impact on financial markets which is then reflected against our portfolio. Next, I would make sure that our portfolio allocation was accurate by updating the cash balance, and adjusting the portfolio for any trades that have occurred. Finally, if there was any concerning news regarding any of our holdings within the portfolio, I would try to do a deeper dive on the story and understand what was going on. After that, it would involve working with team members to answer questions and offer assistance.

Tips For Internship Success

At Ticketmaster- First, I would say that you need to be willing to go out of your way to introduce yourself to people. That simple act can have several benefits, but one that I think is often overlooked is the fact that it contributes to your overall comfort level at work. This is important because you need to have confidence in your abilities and in your ability to learn how to do something if you don’t understand it right away. Introducing yourself to others will give you a sense of belonging in the office, and that sense of belonging can positively influence your overall confidence and comfort level which will translate into your work.

My second tip is not to be afraid to ask questions if you don’t know how to do something. As an intern no one is expecting you to understand how to do everything, you are there to learn—remember that. I probably asked thousands of questions over the course of my internship, but I did so because I wanted to learn, and I wanted to produce top notch work—my main goal going into the role was to add value to the company. I wouldn’t have been as capable to add value had I not asked the questions that I did, but remember, introducing yourself to people will also make you more comfortable to ask questions.

At JWU Wildcat Investment Value Fund (WIVF)- The best tip for success I can offer in a role like this is staying up to date on what’s happening in the world. One of the hardest skills to develop, but one of the most useful tools you can have in this role, is understanding how global events are going to affect the market and specific industries within the market. This can help you to recognize trends and make better decisions along the way. Also, developing an understanding of economic indicators and what they historically have meant in the context of equity markets will allow someone as a portfolio manager to make responsible, informed decisions.

Nicholas Pezza

 Industry Skills & Experience Gained

At Ticketmaster- The most important lessons I learned came from observation, and are more general in nature rather than industry specific. Also, I found that when preparing any type of presentation or report—try to anticipate the questions that will arise from what is being shared and either answer those questions, or determine the resources you will require to answer them in advance. This allows for increased efficiency and will prevent you from wasting the time of the executives showing that you value their time.

At the JWU Wildcat Investment Value Fund (WIVF) - Some industry skills that I learned along the way include financial modeling, allocation strategy, and certainly time management. Between my commitments to my athletic team, all of my courses, and then the commitment to the WIVF, time is absolutely an invaluable resource that needs to be used wisely to be successful at all of them.

"Nick has been an exemplary student-athlete during his four years at JWU. He excels in the classroom, is a leader and a role model for his peers both on and off the ice." - Mel Graf, Associate Dean of Student Life/Executive Director of Athletics

How Will This Experience Help Your Career?

At Ticketmaster- This experience helped me prepare for my career in many ways, but most importantly, it has allowed me to greatly develop a set of soft skills needed for any business setting.

At JWU Wildcat Investment Value Fund (WIVF)- This experience has helped me through the improvement of my leadership and management skills, the development of my understanding of financial markets, and the demanding schedule that I had to learn to maintain in my time on the fund that will help prepare me for my future career.

Advice for Others? Apply to internships and dive right into them with the confidence that you are going to succeed. Even if you are not totally sure you are qualified, or you’re not sure that you are prepared for what is going to be required of you, don’t let it stop you. As an intern people are not expecting you to know remotely close to everything. The entire point of an internship is to learn.

Make It Work

Nicholas Pezza

When you compare the two internships what is the one unique thing you learned at each that helps to define your experience and how that might influence selling yourself to employers?
The ability and confidence to pick skills up along the way on the job is something that I certainly learned at Ticketmaster that I believe is a strong selling point for me in the future.
During the JWU Wildcat Investment Fund internship, I needed to combine technical analysis with economic theory which taught me how to pull from several different skill sets to answer a single question.
What other things about your JWU education have prepared you for your career? You must be totally self-reliant and hold yourself accountable to get assignments and studying done. In the real world no one is going to be there to hold your hand and walk you through the process, you are going to need the accountability to do it on your own and this university has certainly prepared me for that.
As you prepare for graduation, what are some tips you would give to other students at JWU?Do an internship. Make it work. There isn’t much risk for an employer to hire an intern so you might just find that you have the opportunity to work for a company that you never thought you could. Once you have that company and the internship experience on your resume, it automatically puts you into a higher bracket when interviewing for a full-time job down the road.
Congratulations to Nick as he nears the goal line of his degree and prepares to launch his career!

Want more? Visit Experiential Education & Career Services to prepare for the most competitive opportunities available through career advising, internship, and on-campus recruitment.

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