Alexandrina Nikolova’s ’16 career goal is to work in the financial field for a big brand, fast-paced and highly energetic global leader. Over the summer of 2015, she received a trial run at NASDAQ, the second-largest stock exchange in the world by market capitalization.
“Most people see NASDAQ and think, ‘oh, the stock exchange,’ but the core line of NASDAQ’s work is innovating financial technology solutions that anticipate and meet demands around the globe,” says Nikolova, who held a seat in the Global Human Resources Department at NASDAQ in New York City. “The experience was an eye-opener.”
While Nikolova primarily worked with the employee benefits team in the Global Human Resources Department, she also supported the human resources business partners, analytics, and informational systems teams to maximize her work experience. She was assigned multiple projects including creating ad-hoc reports, auditing and validating the internal data integrity, and composing company-wide communications that have been published in NASDAQ’s employee newsletters.
“The projects I worked on will continue to be used and deliver results beyond my summer at NASDAQ,” Nikolova says.
Her main responsibility was evaluating the current state of NASDAQ’s outplacement services. In this project, she wrote an RFP to vendors, evaluated competition in the market, and ultimately proposed recommendations to the Global Head of Human Resources, the Global Head of Total Rewards, and Project Management Office.
“It is exciting to know that I prepared a compelling proposal to our executive team that will drive bottom-line results and increase the level of service when it is implemented,” she says.
In addition, Nikolova made an effort to meet with different people on various teams and gain an all-encompassing sense of what the company does outside of her department.
“The experience was very beneficial,” she says. “I found my role fulfilling and challenging, and being exposed to different types of work levels in the business was very rewarding.”
She credits her academic experiences at HWS with preparing her to work in a professional environment and helping her to excel throughout her internhip. Nikolova says she used the skills she developed at HWS every day during her internship, “whether it was in completing a project with a tight deadline, or proposing and defending my recommendations to senior management.” She also says her professors were instrumental in boosting her confidence.
“Every professor I’ve had across different departments has always urged me to challenge myself, to speak my opinions and be prepared to defend them,” she says. “They have instilled in me an ever present urge to grow both personally and in my knowledge and skillset.”
An economics major, Nikolova has focused her coursework around finance and international relations. She attended the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education’s Wall Street Experience program during winter break and presented her work in the Senior Symposium titled, “Community Development Financial Institutions: The Cure for Small Businesses and the U.S. Economy,” under the guidance of Assistant Professor of Economics Felipe Rezende.