Summer Centered: Silvia Lang '21 Gets Business Savvy
The math major is helping early-stage businesses manage their finances at WEST.
This summer, Silvia Lang ’21 has found herself thrust into the heart of the corporate world of startups and mergers. The math major, who minors in statistics and political science, is interning at WEST, an early-stage-business-focused division of accounting firm WISS & Company.
Lang’s background in math and statistics informs the accounting and financial modelling aspects of the job, which is supported by the Center for Career and Professional Advising’s Whitehead Internship Program. The focus of her work is assisting in the release of WEST’s dashboard software for financial management.
“Most of the work I do is to facilitate the release of the dashboard and to make sure all clients transition smoothly to the dashboard,” she said. “Specifically, I am in charge of creating financial reporting visualizations for all clients, testing the dashboard, and coordinating between the WEST team and the development team.”
Time spent performing client outreach has put Lang in contact with an assortment of business figures, but she’s made just as many informative connections at WEST itself. The company’s CEO, a Haverford alum, has played a guiding role for the rising junior.
“I report directly to the CEO, Mark Brenner ’86, so that we can stay on track of onboarding 75 clients by the end of my internship,” she said. “Mark also wants me to be involved in as many aspects of the company as possible, so I also had the opportunity to work directly with a client on his financial model.”
Support from around the workplace has been valuable to Lang, as she’s adjusted to the fast-paced routine of the business world.
“At first, I was very frustrated about not knowing my work well enough,” she said. “However, once I had the basic financial vocabulary, I was able to create meaningful work and really take ownership in my project. I gradually became the point person for everything related to the proprietary technology in the firm.”
The prospect of a challenge—and the opportunity to apply what she’s learned in her Haverford classes to help solve real-world problems—is what drew Lang to her position at WEST, where the independence she’s been given has proved highly educational.
“In the long-term, I still want to work closely with clients and help them solve big picture problems, but ideally in a more quantitative way,” she said. “I hope to bring the power of data science to solving business problems.”
“Summer Centered” is a series exploring our students’ Center-funded summer work.