abrdn recently welcomed 10 ambitious college students to its Philadelphia office for a 4-day micro-internship programme. The Future Talent Programme, now in its third year, is designed to introduce students from backgrounds historically underrepresented in financial services to different career paths and roles within the industry.

During the four-day internship, students gained valuable insights into abrdn and careers in investment management. The programme included a mix of classroom-style sessions, interactive workshops, on-desk shadowing, and networking opportunities with colleagues. With over 50 colleagues contributing to its success, the students received a warm welcome and participated in a variety of activities.

Networking with abrdn’s senior leaders

abrdn’s Rene Buehlmann, CEO of Investments, and Jim O’Connor, Head of Americas, hosted the Future Talent group for a discussion about their own career journeys that led them to abrdn. They shared valuable lessons they’ve learned along the way and answered questions from students. 

Two particular pieces of advice for students emerged: “be a bridge” (connecting people, teams, and cultures) and recognise that “attitude trumps accolades.” Rene emphasised the importance of taking risks, nurturing curiosity, and maintaining a commitment to continuous learning throughout one’s career. Jim highlighted the importance of humility and having enough confidence in yourself to acknowledge what you don’t know yet to maximise your ability to learn from and connect with others. 

Hannah Grove, abrdn Non-Executive Director, talks to the students

In addition to the session led by Rene and Jim, Hannah Grove, abrdn’s Non-Executive Director, met with the students during lunch. She shared her extensive career experience, insights into the roles and responsibilities of a Board member, strategies for securing a Board appointment, and the essential skills for success in such positions. Hannah’s positive impression of the group was evident when she quipped that their meeting was her most intimidating of the day—a testament to the students’ ambitious and inquisitive nature.

Work and some play

The abrdn team also infused some fun into the week, incorporating daily ping pong breaks in the office and organising an evening at Escape the Room with Rene and several of abrdn’s senior leaders in the Americas region. Students and colleagues were divided into three teams, collaborating to uncover clues and solve puzzles, all with the goal of escaping their respective rooms within 60 minutes.

The final presentation

The programme reached its pinnacle with group presentations by students who assumed the role of assistant portfolio managers for our Global Equity Impact Strategy. Their task involved researching three companies and conducting an impact assessment for each. During these presentations, each group shared their research findings, highlighting how the companies’ missions and activities align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The students adeptly fielded questions from the audience and gained valuable insights into sustainable investing.

"Participating in abrdn's Future Talent Programme was an invaluable experience, offering insightful and exceptional opportunities to delve deeper into the global investment management space." 

Simone Marant, Temple University 

Staying in touch

Now that this cohort has joined abrdn’s Future Talent Programme alumni group, the abrdn team will maintain regular communication with them. The group will be kept informed about abrdn-related activities, provided opportunities for ongoing industry learning, and receive updates on upcoming internships and entry-level job openings. Just this week, abrdn welcomed a student from its inaugural Future Talent cohort as a Summer Intern in Philadelphia—a clear vote of confidence in the programme’s mission to enhance diversity within the industry and at abrdn!