I was an RIA summer intern: Here’s my advice to advisors


August 31, 2020

By Hailey Leister, RIA Summer Intern

As a senior at the University of Arizona studying economics, political science, and entrepreneurship, I am now on the search for my next step. Upon graduation, I am looking to potentially start a career in the independent advisor industry. Over this past summer, as an intern with Schwab Advisor Services, I enjoyed learning about the industry and how firms serve their clients. Before discovering this internship program, I was unaware of the many opportunities in the industryspecifically for young professionals like me. Clearly, I am not alone.

The main reason I believe students are unfamiliar with this profession is that the opportunity is not on the radar of many college campuses. When students are seeking guidance at career centers, or looking for employment at career fairs, the opportunities in this industry are often not mentioned.

Hailey quote

"Spreading awareness and educating students on the benefits and opportunities in this industry will help empower the next generation of advisors. If students are introduced to the industry during their college careers, it can set them up for success at your firm upon their graduation."

Hailey Leister, 2020 RIA Summer intern


It would greatly benefit students like me, who are eager to jumpstart their career in financial services, to hear from you and your firm. By forming a relationship between your firm and the students and faculty at your local university or your alma mater, you can shape a bright future for the next-generation talent and your firm.

Here are some of my recommendations to help advisors get started:

Foster connections: Introducing your firm is the first step

  • Get in touch with faculty and academic advisors at universities. Students frequently seek career advice from their faculty and academic advisors on campus. More often, academic advisors send out routine email communications to inform students of internship and full-time opportunities. If your firm is looking for next-generation talent, then get connected with the academic advisors for business students. Connecting with faculty is a great way to directly market your firm’s opportunities for employment to the students. To introduce your firm to faculty and academic advisors, first find their information on the university’s academic department website.

  • Affiliate with student-run organizations on campus. Some of the most hardworking and passionate students are involved in student-run organizations at their universities. To help spread awareness of your firm on campus, find a campus organization that aligns with your passions or interests, and then reach out to them. These organizations are often looking for guest speakers to join their meetings. Offering your time as a guest speaker would be highly welcomed and is an organic way to connect with students. Below are a few collegiate business organizations that may be of interest:
    • Financial Management Association
    • Investments Club
    • Professional Women in Business Association
    • Women in Economics Club
    • Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPHA)

    Typically, universities display a clubs and organizations directory on their websites. Type “student organizations” in the university’s website search feature to navigate to their clubs and organizations directory.

  • Connect with students at Schwab IMPACT®. Schwab typically hosts a student program at the annual IMPACT conference. The students who attend IMPACT (whether it’s virtual or in-person) are often knowledgeable about the RIA industry and are often searching for employment opportunities. Take advantage of this year’s virtual networking opportunities at IMPACT. Access the Student Resume Book and reach out to students on the IMPACT platform. 

  • Attend career fairs. Attending a career fair is one way to spread awareness of your firm at a university. Most universities hold annual or semiannual career fairs for their students. It is important to keep in mind that due to recent events, many universities are planning to hold their career fairs virtually.

Attract young talent: Encourage young people to apply

  • Market your firm on social media. Marketing your firm job openings on social media can be a great way to attract next-generation talent to your firm. Help others understand the culture at your firm by featuring employees, events, or philanthropy that your firm is involved in on social media1.

  • List internship and full-time opportunities on platforms commonly used by students, such as LinkedIn or Handshake. Students and young professionals often use online networking platforms when searching for internships or full-time employment. If your firm is looking to hire next-generation talent, consider listing available job opportunities on an online job board or networking platform.

  • Create inclusive job descriptions. When expanding your search for talent, it’s important to appeal to all individuals by using inclusive language in job listings. Effective job descriptions will welcome all qualified candidates to apply. Visit Schwab’s Talent Resource Center for sample job descriptions and resources for creating effective, inclusive job listings.

  • Offer team-based training programs at your firm. Training programs can create a solid structural expectation and culture at your firm. By implementing a team-based training approach, where new hires have the opportunity to learn from your firm’s experienced professionals, it can help create a foundation for the future of your firm. Also, training programs are often perceived as a perk to next-generation talent. Upon establishing a career in financial services, most young professionals are looking to work for a firm that challenges them and offers a training structure for their professional development.

Don’t know where to begin? 

Take the first step by reaching out to your alma mater or local university to find out the best way to highlight the industry and your firm on their campus. Schwab offers several tools and resources that can help you get started and introduce your firm. 



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Independent investment advisors are not owned by, affiliated with, or supervised by Schwab. For informational purposes only.

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