Notes from the Field: Yifan He '20

Yifan He '20 interned at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the Winter 2018 term. The following is an excerpt from her internship report.

During the winter of 2018, I interned at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) through the Student Honors Program in Washington, DC. I was part of the Division of Economic and Risk Analysis, which aims to incorporate economics and data to both inform policy-making and facilitate investigations that lead to enforcement actions. More specifically, I worked with two offices: the Office of Markets, a rulemaking office that provides economic analyses on proposed market rules, and the Office of Structural Disclosure, an office that makes data more transparent and accessible to the public. 

As an intern, I worked on projects that have two main focuses: data analytics and market research. Evaluating big datasets and examining the fixed-income markets, I gained valuable critical thinking and technical skills. For the data projects, I utilized SAS programming to aggregate daily circuit breaker data from NYSE and NASDAQ. These data are collected in compliance with SEC’s SHO Regulation, which places a price restriction to prevent securities being sold short.

In addition, I also learned Python PANDAS to perform text analytics, analyzing questions asked by the public. For the research project, I examined the execution quality of fixed-income trades. I engaged in all aspects of the research project with two financial economists. First, I used STATA (a general-purpose statistical software package) to merge and clean market datasets that have over 140 million observations. Second, I conducted literature review of fixed-income market structure, impact of regulatory changes on transaction costs, and determinants of liquidity.

From this challenging yet incredibly rewarding internship experience, I was able to gain a top-down overview of the industry. Now with a greater understanding of the importance of data, I am excited to take classes that focus on quantitative analyses. With the goal of contributing to economic analyses of governmental rule-making, I aim to eventually utilize the benefits of being informed to yield a greater societal impact.