Summer Centered: Sarah Sujin Kay ’19 and Ben Field ’18 Intern at Cantor Fitzgerald
The two Fords are spending their summer with the Manhattan financial services firm headed by Howard Lutnick ’83.
In midtown Manhattan offices just east of Park Avenue, Cantor Fitzgerald operates a global financial services enterprise. The firm’s CEO, Howard Lutnick ’83, has maintained a close relationship with his alma mater, and this summer, Sarah Sujin Kay ’19 and Ben Field ’18 are profiting from the longstanding connection. Thanks to funding from the Center for Career and Professional Development’s Whitehead Internship Program (which supports summer work related to entrepreneurship, small-business enterprise, venture capital, or investment finance activities), they are both interning at Lutnick’s firm.
Kay, a computer science and economics double major, is working on their trading floor with the Options and Market Strategy desk alongside Peter Cecchini ’90, head of equity derivatives and chief market strategist. Field, an economics major and psychology minor, is joining Cantor Fitzgerald’s sales and trading summer internship rotational program, where he’s moving between the firm’s broker dealer, compliance, and high-yield bond desks. Both of the students are keeping a close eye on the ever-changing financial news landscape that determines the firm’s strategies.
“Every day provides a unique and different challenge, as the jobs of stock traders are largely dictated by different market news,” said Field. Kay, whose team develops strategies based on broad market outlooks, said that everyone “has five or six computer monitors so they can be looking at their email, Bloomberg, The [Wall Street Journal], and more all at the same time.”
The fast-paced and ever-changing work environment requires Kay and Field to arrive early, leave late, and stay alert. Field, currently with the firm’s broker dealer desk, starts his day by researching foreign stocks in the news that he expects to be active during the day once U.S. markets open at 9:30 in the morning. Once he presents them, he works on other assigned projects and shadows different traders to learn their craft. Kay will remain at her current desk for the entirety of the summer, where she conducts data analytics and checks stock metrics, and also researches topics such as the relationship between OPEC deals and oil prices.
“It’s great because I get to have two sides to my internship,” said Kay. “On the Options side, I’m gaining a more quantitative skillset through analyzing volatility characteristics and different options strategies…On the Market Strategy side, I get to develop my understanding of the markets from a macroeconomic perspective.”
Field is thrilled to learn about the industry firsthand and watch the trading floor in action. “Just being able to learn more about the financial system as a whole has been super exciting—it’s something that is pretty hard to understand until you are actually working in it yourself,” he said. “Even with all the reading I did to prepare for the job, the vast majority of the learning you are going to do when you are actually there.”
Kay and Field will return to their economics coursework with deeper understandings of the financial industry. Kay is a member of the BiCo Finance Club and hopes to eventually join the finance team for a tech company. As Field prepares to write his senior thesis, he hopes to use some of his internship’s research projects as inspirations for his upcoming work.
Despite their busy days, both students still have time for fun and relaxation. Cantor Fitzerald’s interns were recently treated to a Yankees game, and got to meet Howard Lutnick at an intern-welcome event. But on the job, where millions of dollars of assets fly around the world and countless computer screens relay breaking news, Kay and Field multitask their way through the workday.
-Michael Weber ’19
“Summer Centered” is a series exploring our students’ Center-funded summer work