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How to land an internship that doesn’t exist yet

A man smokes at the entrance of a Bradesco bank branch in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2006. Brazil's benchmark Bovespa index is up 220 percent since President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took office, shooting past 40,000 points earlier this year before profit-taking sent it down to about 36,000. Banks have been among the biggest gainers, recording record profits. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

Banco Bradesco was looking for ways to attract millennials. Matheus Dos Santos, who is studying finance at Northeastern, gave them an idea the bank liked: Hire him.

“When I was talking to them about a summer job, they didn’t have any process in place,” Dos Santos said by phone from Osasco, Brazil. “They weren’t sure at first how to hire me formally, and since I’ve started, all sorts of people have come up to me to say that I’m the first one the bank has hired for this kind of position.”

Dos Santos is helping the banking giant develop an online trading platform to reach millennials, he said. By spending the summer conducting market research, he’ll be able to offer Bradesco a proposal for how best to “go digital,” he said.

“Matheus is currently doing valuable work in researching a comprehensive analysis of how to best launch our trading platform in a way that will support the digital bank’s product offering,” Edilson Fontenele, head of customer experience at Bradesco and Dos Santos’ supervisor, said by email.

Dos Santos said he saw a “huge opportunity to open up a whole new market of people who do banking” by pushing Bradesco to innovate digitally.

Students interested in creating their own internships might want to know how Dos Santos carried it off. He identified the multinational bank where he wanted to work and stuck his foot in the front door.

That meant following up with a representative from Bradesco who presented at a financial markets workshop in December. He wrote to the banker to say he’d love to work with Bradesco while he was home in Brazil over the summer.

“I passed the email to other managers in my department,” Fontenele said, “and after looking at his resume and previous experiences we saw that he would be a great fit in providing us with valuable insights from his perspective: a millennial who knows the Brazilian environment and also had exposure to international markets.”

“We started to figure out how this could work,” Dos Santos said.

It’s work that fits squarely at the intersection of Dos Santos’ interests—innovation and finance.

Last year, Dos Santos completed a co-op at a company that provided software to hedge fund managers.

“That was my first exposure to working in a tech company and in finance at the same time, and I loved it,” he said.

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