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Winter 2019 Checking in with Madeline Finnegan, ‘18

Checking in with Madeline Finnegan, ‘18

Madeline Finnegan ‘18 was a stellar NC State Poole College of Management student by any measure. An NC State Park Scholar with a bachelor’s degree in economics, Finnegan made her mark inside and outside of the classroom.

Poole College first wrote about Finnegan as she was about to graduate and begin her full-time career as a research analyst with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. We have re-printed the original March 2018 story below.

We were able to catch up with Finnegan to find out the highlights of her first six months on the job. She emphasizes that her views are her own and not necessarily those of the New York Fed or the Federal Reserve System.

Now that you’re six months into your job, what are a couple things you’ve learned?

Since starting my full-time position at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, I have learned so much –– about economic research and about myself. I spent the first months of my time at the Bank involved in a number of research projects covering topics that include entrepreneurship, bank reserves, and women in finance. Through these projects, I have gained a greater understanding of the research process –– data collection and cleaning, analysis, and paper writing –– and the time and effort it takes to produce quality research.

Beyond that, I have learned about the different career paths available to me after my two-year position with the New York Fed concludes. The New York Fed economists and my fellow research analysts have provided invaluable guidance about my options to pursue a doctorate degree in economics, other graduate programs, and even other careers within the public and private sectors.

On a more personal note, I have learned a lot about living in a large city. I am from North Carolina, so leaving NC State to start work in New York City was a big transition. I’m now competent on the subway and know a couple of great places to get a dollar slice of pizza.

You were an economics major at Poole College. What advice would you give current students who may be interested in a similar career?

Throughout most of my time at NC State, I thought that I would apply to graduate school immediately after graduation. Now that I’m in a full-time job in economics, using the skills I learned at NC State and developing new ones, I am so thankful that I decided to take time to gain industry experience before pursuing postgraduate studies.

I would recommend to current students interested in research to take time to be a full-time research assistant –– to ensure graduate school is the right path. There are great one- and two-year programs for research assistants, as well as a number of internships in economics that can be helpful. My internship with the New York Fed led me to a full-time position and presented me with more postgraduate options than I had previously thought available to me.

Madeline Finnegan (’18) lands job with the Federal Reserve

This original story was written by Cambray Smith, Park Scholars; lightly edited for style.

Madeline Finnegan, an NC State Park Scholar and undergraduate economics student, will be continuing with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York full-time after she graduates.

In the summer of 2017, Finnegan worked as a summer research analyst in an internship with the Federal Reserve, where she was part of the financial intermediation team. She interned with economist Anna Kovner on a research project about housing mobility surrounding the 2008 financial crisis. On a typical day, she would meet with Kovner to give updates on her work and then would be given topics to investigate. She would then spend most of the day finding answers to project questions using statistical programming software. Finnegan was also connected with other interns, full-time research analysts, and other visiting scholars as part of her internship.

How did Finnegan find her job? “Through a LinkedIn advertisement, funny enough,” she said. “As an economics major, I have been interested in the Federal Reserve and its career opportunities throughout college, but I didn’t take the plunge until I saw the ad.” With the support of an NC State professor who had worked at a branch of the Federal Reserve, she applied in anticipation of an internship that could lead her to a full-time offer.

Finnegan said she had an exciting summer in New York City, where she was able to explore and experience the energy of the city. One of her fondest memories was touring the New York Fed’s gold vault, which stores a quarter of the world’s known gold supply. “The Fed keeps gold here on behalf of other countries for free, and the vault is kept air and water sealed far below the ground. When I was in the vault I was able to hear the New York City Subway, and I felt like I was in Die Hard 2 (where they break into the Fed).”

I couldn’t ask for a better first step after college than this.

Just as she had hoped, she has been offered a two-year, full-time research analyst position on the same team that she worked with last summer. “I couldn’t ask for a better first step after college than this,” she said. Specifically, she is looking forward to the opportunity to determine whether research in economics is something that she wants to pursue long-term. She said she is excited to work with a number of economists every day, be supported as she considers applying for doctoral programs in economics, and be surrounded by like-minded individuals in the field of economics.

Finnegan is not certain what she would like to do right after her time at the New York Fed, but she hopes that in 10 years, she will have pursued a graduate degree either in economics or law and be settled into a job that combines economics with public policy.

“I’m interested in working for the U.S. government in a number of fields. Being able to contribute to U.S. economics policy domestically or internationally is something I think I’d truly enjoy,” she said.

Finnegan said that being a Park Scholar has given her the confidence to take a leap of faith toward the experiences that she has wanted to try but has but wasn’t sure about attempting. “I have my fair share of imposter syndrome, but my peers challenge me to see myself the way they see me. I am thankful for a community of Park Scholars that motivates me to reach farther and do more,” she said.

I owe the highlights of my undergraduate career to the friends I made and support I received through Park Scholars.

She also credits the Park program with helping her develop the pillars of scholarship, leadership, service and character for life after college. “The emphasis of Park Scholarships on intellectual curiosity and public service have shaped my career decisions as well. While my position at the Federal Reserve will be intellectually challenging, I know that this kind of challenge brings growth, and my work will be in the service of others. I owe the highlights of my undergraduate career to the friends I made and support I received through Park Scholars.”

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