Zach Appel Shares Meaningful Insight as a Spring 2021 Northeastern Co-op

As we say goodbye to our Spring 2021 Northeastern University co-ops, Zach Appel shares his experience and insight with Stax Boston. Zach reflects upon his experience, how the GameStop stock saga made for a rather unique and interesting project, and what prospective co-ops might expect and consider to make for a more impactful experience. We thank Zach for his time, energy, and valuable contributions to our team.

What is your major/background/hobbies/interests at Northeastern?
I am a fourth-year finance major at Northeastern. Outside of work and school, I am an avid golfer and like to explore our National Parks. On campus, I am on the club golf team and an Investment Analyst in NUImpact, the University’s impact investment fund.

At Stax, what were your co-op responsibilities, and what have you learned over the last six months?
My main co-op responsibilities have revolved around leading the primary research campaigns for the projects I am staffed on. This included researching, contacting, and interviewing key industry experts to help develop insights to address our clients’ objectives. Another key part of my position has been leveraging secondary sources to better understand the competitive landscape of different industries. Additionally, I have been involved in creating slides for client presentations and testing web surveys.

What has been your most memorable experience at Stax? your favorite industry, product, or service to evaluate?
My most memorable experiences at Stax have been the virtual social events during the current WFH environment. It was a great way to meet my colleagues and have some fun. I would say my favorite industry to research was online investment platforms. We were looking at the sector just after the GameStop saga, so it was a pivotal period in the space and a lot of people had some strong opinions on its future.

How has this experience compared with other co-op opportunities you have had?
This co-op was very different from my previous ones. I think the biggest difference to me is that I was working with a completely new team every 3-4 weeks, so I learned different methodologies, strategies, and best practices from each one. In the same light, I was constantly researching different companies and industries instead of regularly focusing on the same tasks.

What advice would you give to an incoming co-op/intern?
I would advise prospective co-ops/interns to really dive into the position and understand the context of their work. It is impossible to be involved in every aspect of the project at once but understanding the context where your job fits, makes it more interesting to you and valuable to the team. I would also say to look at each task through the lens that it will be critical to the project. The deals you work on will be too hectic to waste time on something that is not important, so understand that everything being asked of you is serving a purpose.

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