Boston Fed flips the script as interns mentor employees
Interns school bank staff on social media, mobile payments, student life
Internships provide great opportunities for college students to apply their studies in the “real world,” but the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston is also interested in what people in the real world can learn from interns.
That’s why last week the Boston Fed held a reciprocal mentoring event, where the college interns flipped the script and took on the role of mentors to provide insight and advice to employees in a roundtable format.
The event on Friday was hosted by the Boston Fed employee group Eminence, which is geared toward employees over 40 years old. Interns schooled staffers on topics like the ins-and-outs of social media, mobile payments, and the new realities of student life – subjects in which generational perspectives can vary significantly.
“We as more tenured staff have perspectives, but interns have important perspectives too,” said Susan Pires, manager in the Bank’s Corporate Strategy and Risk department and a member of Eminence. “We need to collaborate and grow from each other regardless of tenure and regardless of age.”
One intern shared about the typical uses for common social media platforms, and what an average day of social media use looks like for her as a member of a generation that’s grown up with easy access to it. The latest social media fact sheet from the Pew Research Center shows that while social media use is heavy among Americans aged 50 to 64, with 69 percent using at least one site, it is close to universal (90 percent) for the 18 to 29 age group.
Another intern from the Payment Strategies department spoke about the benefits of adopting mobile payments – from the convenience and ease of use, to security benefits. Again, this was a topic where generational approaches can be different. For instance, a 2016 Fed report found that of those consumers with cell phones in 2015, 30 percent of 18- to 29-year olds used their phones to make mobile payments. But just 13 percent of those older than 60 reported making mobile payments.
Additionally, another intern discussed the anxiety of starting school and trying to balance an online presence and a social life while adjusting to student life. These are worries that older generations didn’t face.
“Through this experience, I learned that regardless of whatever age you are, you can always learn something from someone,” said Marlon Allen, an intern in the Human Resources department and rising junior at Bentley University.
“College students have an impression that staff members know everything, but this was an opportunity for us to realize that we’re all in the same boat,” said Nicole Somerstein, an intern with the Bank’s Supervision, Regulation, and Credit department and a rising junior at Boston University.
The reciprocal mentoring event was the second of a two-part mentoring session. In the first session, Bank staff led the discussion in areas such as resume writing, professional development, networking, and how to run an effective meeting.
“No matter what generation you’re in, you can contribute positively,” said Julie George, assistant vice president in the Secure Payments group. “I’m very impressed by the perspectives and knowledge that these interns shared. It’s great to see the talent of our future workforce.”
This summer, the Boston Fed welcomed college interns from more than 25 schools nationwide. Learn more about the Bank’s high school and college internship programs here.