Bradley student takes initiative at internship

March 6, 2012

By Tim Belter ’13

When Aviva Investors hired senior Kyle Jones for an internship last summer, they were happy to be getting a well-qualified quantitative finance student. The deal only got sweeter when he also proved to be an accomplished programmer.

This past summer and fall semester, Jones was a derivatives intern for Aviva Investors in Des Moines, Iowa, the investment arm of Aviva, a London-based insurance company that is one of the largest in the world. Des Moines is also home to the company’s U.S. headquarters.

“Big shots from London would come down all the time,” he said.

While doing his usual calculations and other responsibilities, he noticed how many hours per week were spent on routine, repetitive tasks instead of more productive work. He wondered if some of these processes could be automated and asked the IT department.

“They said that they’d looked into it before, and it would take multiple workers over a year to create a program for that,” he said.

Undaunted, Jones decided to try it himself. In about four months, he had a working prototype. The project so impressed his bosses that they hired a computer science major to assist him in developing the program.

He’s even made a splash across the pond. When some IT programmers visited from the company’s London headquarters, they had heard of Jones and the program he was working on.

The project helped influence the direction he wants to take after Bradley. By expanding his horizons, he’s narrowed down what he wants to do in the future.

“This experience made me interested in getting into the program development aspect of finance,” he said.

Coming back to school after more than a semester of full-time work has been an adjustment, but Jones is quickly getting back into his academics. The internship has solidified his educational plans and helped him realize how to use his classes in the working world.

“Going into the internship, I had a lot of doubts about where I would use some of the things I was studying, but I learned the practical applications of a lot of my courses,” he said. “I know what I want to learn now.”