In September 2016, First County Bank opened a limited-access bank branch at The Academy of Information Technology and Engineering (AITE) high school in Stamford, CT. With the first school year coming to a close, we took some time to talk to one of our AITE Branch student-employees to hear about his experience working at the AITE Branch.
Justin Blum is a graduating senior at AITE and in the fall will continue his education at the University of Massachusetts (UMASS), Amherst. Here are some highlights from the interview:
What were your initial thoughts about being a student-employee of First County Bank at AITE?
Well, at first I thought it was an interesting concept – opening a branch in a high school. I then realized it would be a great opportunity for me as a student. I want to study business in college, so I knew this would be a great opportunity for me to get real experience in the “business world”.
What surprised you the most about your experience in the financial industry?
The amount of different regulations was surprising. I had never really considered the amount of regulations in place to protect not only the Bank but the customers as well. One thing I did learn was that banking is much more personable than I previously thought. I expected to crunch numbers most of the day in a stricter, more formal environment. This was not the case, much of my job centered on the customer experience and building relationships!
What’s a key educational takeaway from your experience?
I accomplished my main goal of learning about the business world – it’s a complex place. It was interesting to understand how transactions are handled between deposits and withdrawals, especially how things done today can affect something further down the road.
How will you use the skills you’ve learned in college?
I’ve learned how to think more critically. I believe I can use the complexity of the behind-the-scenes work that I’ve learned and apply it when learning new materials in college courses and better connect the dots. It’ll give me an advantage in class and the ability to help my future classmates.
What financial tip or lesson would you share with a friend or family member based on your experience?
The most important tip I would share is to save. Building a savings is something my family has always instilled in me, it was only further reinforced by working in the branch. Today many of my friends are getting their license and starting to drive – it is now much easier for us to go a spend money on things we don’t necessarily need. I’d encourage everyone to carefully track their spending and begin to set money aside in case of an emergency.
At UMASS, Amherst Justin will pursue a double major in Business and Psychology. He hopes to one day become a Human Resources Psychologist or Business Consultant. We wish Justin and all graduating seniors of AITE the best of luck in all their future endeavors!