Nicole Bake (Class of 2022) is a Second Year student in Darden’s Full-Time MBA. She was an integral part of the planning committee for Darden’s 2021 Diversity Conference. Bake is an active member of the community, also serving as VP of Diversity and Inclusion for the Finance Club, VP of Education for the Hispanic American Network at Darden and VP of Communications & Admissions for the Latin American Student Association.

Bake has familial ties to Venezuela, Germany, Spain, Italy and the United States. She was featured on the Global Voices blog, where she shared more about her Darden experience (so far!). Read more about her background and MBA journey.

She recently shared reflections on her summer internship experience at Credit Suisse.

By Nicole Bake

My investment banking journey essentially began when I got to be on the client side for the first time. I’d always been interested in or working in finance, but it wasn’t until the role I had in the Treasury department of United Airlines, helping raise debt on aircraft, that I realized investment banking could be a career path worth pursuing.

During the summer before the MBA program started, I attended a handful of diversity recruiting events as a Latina woman. In my search, I was accepted into Credit Suisse’s pre-MBA diversity mentorship program, and I found that the people at the bank were down to earth, excited to help each other succeed, and intentional about establishing a collaborative culture.

Almost a full year later, I got to start my summer at Credit Suisse. Leading up to the start date, I’d heard all about things to expect, from second years, current bankers, colleagues who were ex-bankers, family… everyone who thought they had some wisdom to impart. I knew it would be hard work, but that was why I chose a bank with a culture and people that seemed to be a good fit for me.

The first week was orientation and training over zoom. It was tiring to sit on zoom all day, but those were my earliest evenings over the course of the internship. I was also lucky to have a good group of friends from Darden interning with me. This made a huge impact on my confidence because I knew we would support each other through it. Credit Suisse provided great support as well, by pairing the interns with mentors. I got both a junior and senior mentor, and my junior mentor was Darden Class of 2020, making me feel right at home.

Nicole Bake (Class of 2022)

Once I finally “hit the desk,” I was staffed on three projects. This grew to nine by the end of the summer, spread out across the various verticals within the Global Industrials Group and getting exposure to various products. How comfortable I became with the teams I worked with, how much my confidence grew to proactively take on tasks, how quickly I started being able to turn comments… everything improved so much by the end of the summer. I still have so, so much to learn, and that’s what makes me excited about going back full-time. I wouldn’t have been able to progress so much over the summer had it not been for the people at Credit Suisse, who were always available to answer questions and work together.

One team I worked with that really stood out was in the Paper and Packaging vertical. In the first meeting we had together, the full-time associate told the summer analyst and me about how he wanted to use what he liked and didn’t like about his summer internship to give us the best experience possible. In doing that, they gave us the opportunity to own slides completely, take initiative to update other slides, and speak up with thoughts or input on the project. As we turned comments over comments, the full-time analyst, summer analyst, and I worked really well as a team, communicating when we did or didn’t have bandwidth.

It was also fun to work on these slides because it was the most colorful deck I’d ever seen, literally using all colors of the rainbow. By the last day of the internship, when everyone was finishing up any final ask or logging-off and turning in their laptops, I chose to do one last task for the team that they hadn’t even asked for. This was to show them just how thankful I was for being a highlight of my summer. The team embodied the culture I expected and hope to continue myself later when I return.

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