Hello CSS Community: My name is Nicholas Stewart and I am a sophomore majoring in Economics. During the summer of 2017, I had the honor of working in the International Finance Division of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Working within the International Financial Stability (IFS) section of the division, I assisted economists and research assistants with various long-term projects related to banking, international relations, and financial law. Because of the exposure to research, data analysis, and finance in general, it was an incredibly fulfilling experience.
Lasting ten weeks, the internship involved work on three major projects as well as several minor ones. The summer began with assisting a research assistant with the development of an algorithm intended to match loan-level data between Thomas Reuters DealScan and the Shared National Credit Program. Beginning with a large Excel spreadsheet containing over 67,000 loans, I utilized conditional statements, EDGAR company filings, and Bloomberg company profiles to recommend changes to existing code. In addition, I, along with another intern, updated an Excel database tracking implementation of various macro prudential tools — policies meant to address systemic risk and brace the financial sector potential crises. Reading through a variety of documents including press releases from the Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP), Article IV consultations, and central bank laws, I personally filled the database with relevant information regarding loan-to-value ratios, debt-to-income ratios, countercyclical capital buffers, consumer loan limits, and ceilings on credit growth from 64 countries. Finally, I extracted data from over 3,000 bank examinations to be used for sentiment analysis of core banking operations. From the information, a research assistant produced word clouds visualizing the points of emphasis for certain financial institutions.
In addition to working on economic projects, I attended a two-day workshop covering topics related to data carpentry. During the workshop, I gained exposure to R, GitBash, and Git Bash. Having taken a programming course during the semester before the summer, I luckily was able to recognize familiar terminology and concepts. Another plus of the experience was seeing Chair Janet Yellen nearly everyday in the cafeteria, being in the same elevator as Vice-Chair Stanley Fischer, and meeting Governor Lael Brainard.
This experience was instrumental to my professional development and my desire to explore the financial services industry. From the first day, I was challenged to elevate my thinking and consider problems in manners completely new to me. During my sophomore year, I plan to return to the Federal Reserve Board on Mondays and Fridays to continue my work and build upon the knowledge gained from my summer experience.