Brighton Jones Interns Learn and Grow on the Job
The Brighton Jones internship program is a reflection of our broader organizational structure and how we collaborate across teams. Those who go through the program have an opportunity to work within each of the firm’s department and functional areas, contribute in meaningful ways to projects and initiatives of strategic importance, and join in the regular moments of community and connection.
We were lucky to welcome Ajay Bhat, Finlay Bruce, and Jewels Oliquiano as interns this past summer. Before heading back to campus for senior year, they sat down to answer a few questions on their work, share insights they gained about the wealth management industry, and offer advice to future interns.
Walk us through a typical day in the life of a Brighton Jones intern.
Ajay: We were exposed to many facets of the business, so our assignments always changed. On any given day, there would be a variety of meetings we could sit in on or people we could meet with to discuss their careers.
Finlay: One of my favorite things about my internship was the variety of projects. There was never a day that I found myself sitting at my desk with nothing to do. Throughout the summer, I had the opportunity to sit in on meetings with the operations, client service, and people teams. It’s hard to describe a day in the life of a Brighton Jones intern because they all looked so different!
Jewels: Every day as a Brighton Jones intern offered valuable learning opportunities. Depending on which rotation we were in, there was always something to look forward to and important projects or tasks to work on. Some days were spent working with my colleagues, other days were with advisors sitting in client meetings, and there were also days where I worked independently on assigned projects. The exposure to the variety of work I was given kept me busy and eager to learn more. My time here has been like a preview to a good movie; I caught a glimpse of what it would be like working here in the future.
What project(s) did you enjoy most during your internship?
Ajay: I enjoyed working with Jedidiah Collins on his financial literacy program, Teach Me Money! We helped him edit his book and further develop his presentations he gave to high school and college students. It was great getting to teach young adults about personal finance as they head off to college or the workforce.
Finlay: We were given thousands of points of data from our client survey and tasked with finding trends that might assist the client service and operations teams. The analysis certainly tested my Microsoft Excel skills, but in the end it was one of the most impactful and fun projects of the summer. We provided valuable data on customer responses and offered recommendations on how the survey could improve in the future.
What surprised you most about the Brighton Jones work environment and culture?
Ajay: When I joined Brighton Jones, I was consistently told how strong the culture was and how well people get along. But when I started, I was blown away by how openly we were welcomed. There wasn’t a single person I couldn’t go to with questions. No matter who it was, at all levels of the company, I was treated the same and I appreciated that.
Jewels: The unique company culture at Brighton Jones has encouraged me to reach out and be social with my co-workers. I have been able to learn from more experienced individuals, while fostering professional connections that may aid me in the future. People around the office are very kind and insightful towards the interns. I appreciate the countless employees who took time out of their day to sit down and chat. From day one, I observed how open and welcoming everyone was. This made me feel comfortable and confident as I interacted with others around me.
Did you come away with any insights about the wealth management industry that defy conventional wisdom?
Ajay: I came in thinking that the primary thing wealth managers did was give investment advice. It was amazing to see the breadth of services Brighton Jones provides for its clients. There is a lot of thought and care that goes into each and every client, and the team takes great pride in that. They are willing to consistently go above and beyond to make sure that their clients are happiest in all aspects of their life.
Finlay: Absolutely. First and foremost, I was blown away with the meticulous attention to detail each team had for every client we serve. I also think there’s great value in having a robust business development team that allows advisors to focus on their existing clients rather than worry about where new business will come from.
Jewels: The past decade has been a turbulent era for the financial industry. Market crashes, corruption, and policy changes are but a few of the many contributing factors to unrest in the industry. As a result, public trust in the financial system has fallen at an overwhelming rate. Brighton Jones’ unique approach has been able to attract clients to their firm by providing white-glove service to every client. Advisors gain clients’ trust by genuinely caring about their wellbeing beyond their balance sheet.
What’s your favorite lunch spot within walking distance of the office?
Ajay: Rocco’s Pizza. Don’t get the lunch special with a salad—get two slices of the daily meat along with a side of ranch, and you’re golden.
Finlay: Marination, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
Jewels: FOB Poke. Join MealPal and skip the line.
What’s your advice for next summer’s interns?
Ajay: I would tell them not to be shy. I felt that I made the most of my time here by talking to people and making connections. Whether it’s asking people what they did over the weekend or asking about their career progression, they will be more than happy to talk. The more social you are, the more you will learn and have fun working.
Finlay: I would advise a future intern to dive in headfirst. Take advantage of the incredibly skilled and knowledgeable employees who sit just a couple of desks away. You just can’t find so many experts in such diverse fields in the same building. They want to help you—all it takes is the courage to ask.
Jewels: Be curious! It’s one of Brighton Jones’ core pillars, but also a piece of advice that I found valuable. Everyone in the office is willing to take time out of their day to give insight and guidance on anything you are curious about. Take advantage of that and create relationships with those people. You never know what else you may learn from someone if you ask a question that may spark a conversation.
What’s next for you in terms of school or your career?
Ajay: I’ll be graduating from the University of Washington next June with a degree in finance. I feel like this internship has done a great job of preparing me to join the workforce.
Finlay: I look forward to graduating next spring from the University of Washington with a degree in accounting. I will continue to explore the opportunity of working in wealth management and am thankful for the opportunities Brighton Jones has provided.
Jewels: This December, I will be graduating from Western Washington University with a degree in finance and minor in economics. Since I will be graduating early, I plan to volunteer and work abroad for a few months. When I come back, I would like to work in wealth management, get my certifications, and pursue my goal of becoming a financial advisor.
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