Through an exciting partnership with Duke University that promotes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), DTCC recently hosted 21 summer interns from Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering. Students had the opportunity to work with DTCC’s Internal Technology Research and Innovation team, whose mission is to research and experiment with new and novel ideas.
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Kunyu Liu and Weichong Zhang were among the interns who worked to solve real-life data questions proposed by internal business partners using technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing and more.
DTCC Connection caught up with Kunyu and Weichong to get their thoughts and takeaways from their experience.
DC: Can you tell us about yourself and what you’re majoring in?
KL: I am currently pursuing a Master’s of FinTech at Duke. Today’s financial industry has been transformed by the recent introduction of both big data and new technologies such as cloud computing, blockchain and artificial intelligence, and Duke FinTech allows me to apply theoretical knowledge into practice and use real-world data. I want to be a part of the development of new technologies in this constantly expanding field of computational analysis. Moreover, I am not limited to traditional financial theory as I am eager to keep up with the latest financial approaches.
WZ: I am currently a graduate student in FinTech at Duke University. My undergraduate degrees are in mathematics and computer science, but I became interested in financial technology because we use these products almost every day. For example, mobile payment and financial management platforms all make people’s lives more convenient. That’s why I chose Duke’s FinTech program -- it allows me to fill in the gaps in financial knowledge and combine it with computer science to solve real-world financial problems.
DC: You interned on DTCC’s IT Internal Innovation team. What kind of projects did you work on and what were you able to deliver for clients?
KL: Working on the IT Internal Innovation team at DTCC was fantastic! We created a new application programming interface (API) implementation, using the GraphQL query method. We compared different API methods to find out the best one with a high-quality speed-to-retrieval experience. With this API access, internal clients will be able to request data based on their need at a high speed, and we allow the API to return specific attributes clients request. It will give our clients a better experience in viewing and controlling data.
WZ: Interning at DTCC was definitely an invaluable opportunity. My team and I were responsible for encrypting sensitive financial data using different privacy enhancing cryptography techniques and analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of different methods. Finally, we presented a product that can guarantee the accuracy of sensitive data without compromising the accuracy of the data for clients.
DC: How has your experience with Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering positioned you for success in this internship opportunity?
KL: My study experience with Duke Engineering greatly helped my internship. Duke provides us with both technical knowledge and insights for becoming a leader and driver of innovation, which aligned with this internship opportunity. Duke also prepared me with technical, financial and management skills, which proved extremely important in the success of this project. We gained sufficient knowledge and experience about programming and software engineering in previous semesters, along with financial knowledge. Through this internship we had the opportunity to put them together in practice.
WZ: Duke Engineering brought me more than just finance and coding knowledge. It taught me how to learn a new field quickly, how to work efficiently on a team, and develop problem solving skills. Because most of the project’s content was unfamiliar to us, we needed to learn quickly and apply it. Planned teamwork allowed us to complete each task efficiently and with high quality. I think these factors are key to success.
DC: What about the company culture at DTCC made your internship memorable?
KL: My experience at DTCC was memorable because of the supportive atmosphere and encouraging mentors. The project is brand new in the field and has not been studied deeply before. Throughout the process, my curiosity drove me to keep exploring, and the expectation and guidance from DTCC also kept me motivated. Whenever we encountered difficulties or technical issues, my mentor always gave supportive advice, discussed with us and helped solve the problem together. The highly collaborative team culture at DTCC helped me feel strongly engaged.
WZ: I was impressed by DTCC’s innovative company culture and how everyone is treated with respect. We were encouraged to use a variety of methods to solve problems and summarize our own ideas. Our supervisors were very attentive to our suggestions, and they were very patient in teaching us how to solve the problems we encountered on the project. They were always able to suggest how to make us better. Our supervisors didn’t hesitate to give us compliments after we had achieved results. This enabled us to be enthusiastic and confident in our work.
DC: What did you learn at DTCC that will help you in the future?
KL: It was the greatest learning experience of my life. I learned that asking questions is quite important when we are exploring a new field. Our mentor has much more experience and technical knowledge than us, and the fastest way to grasp a basic understanding is by discussing topics with the professionals and practitioners. I also gained a deeper understanding of the emerging financial technologies and how they create value in this industry. It is the first time for me to employ new technologies in financial services, which is quite exciting. I feel clearer about my professional interests and future career!
WZ: In addition to the various methods of data processing, I also learned how to create a report specifically for presenting to clients. It was different from any of the reports I had developed previously. I realized we should first think about the ultimate goal of our clients as that’s what is the most effective way to accomplish a goal with the highest quality. Understanding this approach will help me a lot in my future career.
Learn more about DTCC’s Summer Internship Program here.