Opening doors through networking: Alexandra’s internship with Standard Chartered

The University of Minnesota’s Women’s Network champion diversity in finance through their spearheading mentorship initiative.


Standard Chartered’s Global Head of Fund Finance, Vicky Du embodies the Bank’s values of being here for good and prioritising diversity by supporting economics student Alexandra Davis through their internship journey.

Tell us about yourself.

I am a student at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and I am a double major in Applied Economics and Environmental Science, Policy, and Management. I am motivated and ambitious in my academic and professional pursuits, which has led me to enrolling and participating in various internships over the course of my studies. Most notably, I was on the founding team of a climate tech start-up where I assisted with business development and communications.

What led you to apply for the internship at Standard Chartered?

I’m a member of The Women’s Network, an organisation at my university that provides a platform for students to connect and build relationships with established professionals in their field. The organisation also facilitates mentoring relationships, which is how I was introduced to Standard Chartered’s internship programme. I wanted to work for a company with an international focus that valued diversity. My mentor drew on her experience as one of the first women in private equity and advised me to investigate the infrastructure at Standard Chartered as well as introducing me to Vicky Du, the Global Head of Fund Finance at the Bank.

I proactively arranged a call with Vicky who was happy to guide me. We discussed Standard Chartered’s philosophy and objectives, why she had stayed with the Bank for eight years, the potential growth opportunities and how it was different to other Banks. I read through hundreds of pages of impact reports that were available online and then decided to submit my application.

You went into the Bank having spoken to someone very senior, so you already had an impression of what it was like. Has it lived up to those expectations?

Vicky Du spoke highly of the culture and support offered at Standard Chartered. From my first day as an intern, the entire organisation has been super receptive and encouraging. The management made time for all the interns and were always willing to have open conversations with us.  

Tell us about your role as an intern.

I work within the Fund Finance department at Standard Chartered. Despite being an intern, the team has been sure to integrate me into the process of acquiring new clients and closing deals. I was quickly onboarded and assisted my colleagues with closing four deals in my first week! As time went on, I worked with the team through various deals which gave me a great insight into the entire process. 

I feel like a productive and contributing member of the department, which I can attribute to Standard Chartered’s intentionality when setting out the role of an intern. This is distinguishable from other banks who have over 200 interns in the organisation, thus making it harder to get such hands-on experience. 

Over the summer period, interns were tasked with introducing sustainable businesses to the bank. I have been working with two fellow interns to onboard a solar energy company as a client. We're trying to find opportunities to invest in US-based companies where we can leverage our experience in emerging markets, and that's exactly what this client is doing.

What inspires you about the Bank’s mission and its work?

Standard Chartered are dedicated to being here for good, a value that can be seen through the micro-interactions between colleagues to significant projects that are executed at a global level. The Bank’s commitment to transparency is at the forefront of an often-discreet industry. Their acknowledgement that “We know what we are doing. We know we need to do it ten times better, so that’s what we’re striving for” resonated with me and inspires me to always challenge myself.

Does the internship at the Bank influence how you think about your future career?

My internship at Standard Chartered has exposed me to a variety of markets and aspects of the business. Industry leaders have instilled me with skills that are paramount for being successful in finance and economics. Their support has given me the opportunity to shine and to foresee my future career in banking. 

Standard Chartered are dedicated to retaining new talent which is why they aim to progress 70% of their interns onto the International Graduate (IG) programme, which I am very interested in. It is an excellent opportunity to further our learning and develop on the skills learned during our internship. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I get the invitation and opportunity to progress as an International Graduate.

What would you advise someone thinking about joining the internship programme at Standard Chartered?

Leveraging your network is a crucial aspect of applying to internships. Utilise the support services offered by your university to ensure you are well informed about the application process and to connect you with a mentor. Be proactive in the lead up to your application by reaching out to individuals within the Bank, their knowledge could be pivotal in getting you ahead of other candidates. Never be afraid to ask questions, as the worst somebody can say is “no”.