Sept. 8, 2023
Culver Military Academy first classman Dionte Obertein got a taste of what life in the financial world is like while working this summer as an “apprentice” at 1st Source Bank in South Bend.
“Working at 1st Source helped me get a better understanding of the financial industry, especially the investment side, and what they do on a daily basis,” he said.
Obertein, who is from LaPorte, worked six weeks at 1st Source, the largest locally controlled financial institution headquartered in the northern Indiana-southwestern Michigan area.
Obertein said he learned about the bank and its culture during orientation.
“They’re very similar to Culver. They care a lot about diversity and being kind to people,” Obertein said.
He said prior to orientation he had no idea of all the services 1st Source Bank provides or that it has 79 branches but was surprised and excited by all the ways they are able to assist their clients.
After the orientation, Obertein began working for pay alongside 1st Source Bank’s portfolio managers, who are responsible for the day-to-day investment management of the bank’s clients’ wealth. That includes doing research on the economy, stocks, bonds and interest rates. It also involves determining which stocks, bonds, mutual funds and exchange traded funds to invest in.
Obertein worked on reviewing investment policy statements, which stipulate how much risk each client is willing to take and set guidelines for portfolio managers to follow.
He also took online courses through Bloomberg Professional Services to learn about equities, economic indicators, fixed-income, currencies and stock options. He also learned how to use a Bloomberg terminal.
“Going into the internship, I had little knowledge of what goes on at a bank. Taking those courses helped me understand what the portfolio managers were talking about,” he said.
Obertein did well enough that he earned a Bloomberg certification.
“He has a better understanding of the investment markets and having that certification will help him if he applies for future internships or, if he chooses to pursue a professional career in investments, he will have a leg up because most students wouldn’t have that exposure,” said Paul Gifford, chief investment officer within 1st Source Bank Wealth Advisory Services. “It’s also nice to have on his resume when he applies to college.”
Obertein said the thing he enjoyed most about working at 1st Source Bank was sitting in on meetings with clients.
“It was impressive to hear the portfolio managers converse with the clients and talk with clients,” he said.
Gifford said Obertein told him when he got the job that he would be the first one in and one of the last people out the door every day.
“He did that the entire six weeks,” Gifford said. “He came in with the right mindset to learn and absorbed what we shared with him. He got a really neat inside look at the investment world that very few 17- (or) 18-year-olds will get.”
The summer program was started this year after Ron Rubin ’68, founder of The Ron Rubin School for the Entrepreneur, had dinner with Christopher J. Murphy III, chairman of 1st Source Bank, and talked about setting up a program for Culver students. Murphy then met with J.D. Uebler, director of the Rubin School.
The Ron Rubin School for the Entrepreneur, founded in 2006, educates Culver students for leadership and responsible citizenship by challenging them to develop a deeper understanding of entrepreneurism through rigorous curricula and experiential learning.
“He liked what we were doing at Culver related to innovation and he was interested in our talent pool and how 1st Source could keep that talent in the region,” Uebler said.
Matthew Cook, 1st Source Bank’s senior manager for talent & organization development, said 1st Source focuses on early career programming and high school programming, including the program Obertein was in.
“We think it is valuable to develop talent pipelines earlier than what you would typically see, like college-level internships, so we’ve focused on the high school space for a while,” Cook said.
Cook said the program also is a way to make students more aware of a potential career in banking “so they can understand there are very rewarding careers that are available here.”
“There’s so much more to our bank in addition to the brick-and-mortar retail banking experience, and we serve our clients in so many ways that people may not be aware of, so we always jump at the opportunity to showcase how our service model is practiced throughout the organization,” Cook said.
The bank had 13 college interns, four high school apprentices and 22 students working as tellers this summer. The opportunity for a high school student to work with the 1st Source Bank investment team was only available to students from Culver Academies.
Gifford said the bank also sees bringing in high school and college students for the summer as a way to invest in the community.
Cook said 1st Source Bank focuses on keeping its clients’ best interest in mind for the long-term and that meshes nicely with Culver’s values of responsible citizenship in society.
“We think it’s a strong partnership,” Cook said.
Obertein wasn’t sure he should apply when he first heard of the program because he was primarily interested in a career in business. But he decided to give it a shot.
The first step in applying is creating a resume and cover letter. Those selected then interview with leaders at The Rubin School. Three students were selected to interview with 1st Source. Obertein said he was surprised that the interview at 1st Source was more casual than the interviews he had rehearsed at Culver.
“The interview was more of a conversation,” he said.
He said the practice interviews at Culver helped him be better prepared.
He said he would recommend any Culver junior interested in working in business, finance or banking apply for the internship.
“My advice would be: Be open to new things,” he said. “I’d suggest they take a step outside your comfort zone and apply.”
Obertein said he’s still strongly interested in a career in business or entrepreneurship, but after working at 1st Source, he’s considering a career in the financial industry.
“It opened my eyes and maybe I will want to do it in the future,” he said.