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SMC student receives Fannie Mae externship

| Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Over spring break, Saint Mary’s junior Margaret Cox participated in an externship with Fannie Mae, which was established and rewarded by College alumna and senior executive with Fannie Mae Renee Schultz.

Although Cox began her first year at Saint Mary’s solely as a marketing major, she said she soon discovered an interest in finance.

“I was a marketing major when I came to Saint Mary’s, and marketing students have to take a finance course,” she said. “I took it and I started really enjoying the topic and doing well in the class. So, I decided to major in finance as well.”

The externship consisted of a four day trip to Washington, D.C. over spring break, Cox said, where she was able to shadow some of the female executives working at Fannie Mae.

“They scheduled me to meet with different women in the company and see the different positions,” she said. “The women I met taught me a lot about the industry itself because I didn’t know much about it. It was nice to learn about something not taught in school. The externship was more about getting to know women and asking them how they got to their position.”

Cox said a valuable piece of information she gained from participating in the externship was the importance of pursuing her passions.

“One of the women told me you have to be really passionate about what you’re doing,” she said. “I feel you need to passionate about a job to enjoy it so it doesn’t just become work.”

Cox said she hopes to continue working with Fannie Mae in the future.

“They have a two year rotational program within the company so I’m going to look into applying for that next fall,” she said.

Cox said her favorite part about the externship was actually seeing what happens in the private world of finance and understanding that world better.

“I have interned with marketing companies before, and now with the finance externship I see how different the two worlds really are,” she said. “The finance world is so fast-paced. I enjoy doing these internships and externships because otherwise I wouldn’t know what to expect. That’s the best part about these opportunities — I’m learning what’s going on. I think if I didn’t have this opportunity I might not have thought about having a career in finance.”

Young women should always be open to pushing themselves to take on new opportunities, Cox said.

“I didn’t think I’d be interested in finance until I started to take the classes, so I’d tell [young women] to always give it a shot and take that class or take that opportunity to learn about something different,” she said.

Cox said Fannie Mae is a progressive company when it comes to employing women in positions of power, but she still feels the industry can do more when it comes to hiring women.

“Fannie Mae was a good company to shadow because they do have a lot of women in their industry, and they are a progressive company that’s trying to get more women in senior positions,” she said. “We need to expand that further in the industry.”

Cox said it is important for women in the finance industry, and any industry, to build each other up and not put each other down — this way, every woman can succeed and open the doors for future women CEOs, entrepreneurs and financial executives.

“A point they made throughout the externship was that in work environments and school environments, women can sometimes cut each other down because they want to be the best or grow fastest,” she said. “Fannie Mae was really focused on helping women grow and the importance of women building up other women. I feel that’s really important. At Fannie Mae nobody wants to cut anyone down, they want to help women succeed.”

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About Gina Twardosz

Gina Twardosz is a senior English Writing and Communication Studies double major at Saint Mary's College. She's the co-editor of the Investigative Unit, a Saint Mary's social media liaison, and she occasionally writes for SMC News and Scene. Gina is a tried and true Midwesterner and yes, she does say "ope" often.

Contact Gina