Intern Blog

Projects, Project, Projects...

Jul 12, 2021

As I wrap up on my first month with Cohen and Company – I thought that a quick reflection on what my projects and day-to-day have looked like would be beneficial for those who follow in my footsteps as interns with the Data Intelligence team. Although my internship has been uniquely my own, filled with personal programming projects and attempting to navigate the corporate world, I can say without hesitation that the foundation/core of this internship has been nothing but a wonderful experience and will continue to be for every incoming class in the future…

NAV Conversions Updates
The first project that I was given the opportunity to work on as part of the data intelligence team was updating and partially re-writing the NAV Combination / Excel Output Python Script. For some background, the intern who proceeded me wrote a short (approx. 1000 line) python script to read in excel data (produced by one of the Data Intelligence Team’s PDF Conversion tools) and automatically turn this data into usable, validated excel workbooks for the registered fund's department. While the code functioned well enough this past year, naturally some minor glitches needed to be resolved in addition to some updates that needed to be applied. The first steps in updating the script was getting acquainted with the dozen libraries that we’re used, understanding the individual functions, and finally attempting to follow the information flow through the program. As the commenting within the code was minimal and the defined variable names vague at best, this process ate up time quickly and it took several days before I had a handle on the program enough to make meaningful changes. However, before too long the script was practically updating itself, and aside from a few minor hiccups, the process was straightforward! After adding a few hundred more lines of code and throwing in scores of comments, the script was ready to go and I had finished up my first project.

SEC Regulatory Filings Web Scraping
The second (and current) project that I’ve been working on is based in Python and is attempting to accomplish several goals by the code is finished. The first and objectively most important goal of the program is to scrape the Securities Exchange Commissions' website to obtain information on regulatory filings. CIK Numbers, Series IDs, Filing Types, Filings Dates, and Fiscal Year Ends only begin to scratch the surface of the information that we are hoping to pull and store. Once we have accomplished high-quality, repeatable, and rapid data pulls, then we can focus on the next goals of the project. Currently, we are hoping to create quick and accurate excel workbooks to report on the filing compliance of thousands of our funds. Additionally, we are looking to query and visualize the data that we are pulling so that any department within Cohen can access this filing/fund data without having to repeatedly search through the SEC Edgar Database. After that, what we may end up doing with the data is yet to be determined. However, as is the case with data, the sky is the limit.

PET Updates
The last project that I’m hoping to take on during my internship with the DIS team is to update the PET (Python Extraction Tool) software. Although it has served us very for the past several years, with new reports coming out, the PET requires some routine maintenance to keep it running as efficiently as years past. Needless to say, this will be an interesting project and one that has the potential to have a lasting, meaningful impact on the DIS team.

Final Thoughts
So far, this internship has been everything that I hoped it would be and more. I’ve gotten the chance to dive into data work, programming, and automation in a meaningful and impactful way, in which the programs that I develop, and update will stay with the firm's processes long after my internship ends. Beyond just work, the office has been fantastic, and it has been incredibly refreshing to see new faces every day, especially after having my last internship be completely remote. I think that I’ve also managed to get the best desk in the office with a great view of the lake and playhouse square. Overall, I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities provided to me this summer and look forward to finishing the last several weeks with Cohen and Company strong.

Matt Dierker - University of Vermont